A ton of people have asked me why I bought an E34 M5. While it’s been over five months since I’ve bought my car, it’s taken me this long to fully understand it. At the time, I knew why , but couldn’t put it into words. Now I can.
E28 M5 – The Original
I started off thinking I wanted an E28 M5. The original. I did all the research, talked to all the right people, and started looking. Eventually I ended up finding one within 40 minutes of my house. I went and test drove it. It was in acceptable condition and ran well.
The moment I started driving it I got this weird feeling in my gut that I’ve never experienced before. Something felt off. I pushed this feeling aside as best I could and continued the test drive. Now, let’s be clear, the car was very fun. It was light on its feet so to say. The straight six hummed and loved being revved. But the chassis and the powertrain didn’t seem to be a perfect match for me.
The interior didn’t feel substantial enough for what I was looking for. It was spartan. This car is going to be my “daily driver” and not a garage queen.
In the end, I just didn’t feel the E28 felt like it was going to be what I wanted. I would never kick one out of my garage, and would love to own one, someday.
E39 M5 – The Legend
I then started considering maybe I wanted the legendary E39 M5. With a high-strung V-8 engine and slick six-speed manual transmission, the only term one can use to describe this car is beast.
When I thought about the E39 I couldn’t stop thinking about the dreamy engine. But then I started thinking about traction control, stability control, side curtain airbag this and passenger side airbag that, navigation, and then I stopped. This car was filled with technology and driving aids. Was that what I wanted? Sure, you can turn that stuff off, but that’s not the point. I still decided I must drive one.
I ended up getting my hands on one and driving it. Yup, it was a beast. Amazing powertrain. Silky smooth and sounded terrific. But I decided in the end that it wasn’t time for me to own an E39 M5. That’s not to say it’s off the table for someday, just not now.
Suddenly I felt like this was like Goldilocks and the three bears, too hot, too cold, juuuuust right. I kept researching the E34 M5, and quickly thought it might be a happy medium of everything I was looking for.
The car is more modern, if just barely, than the E28. With a more substantial interior and timeless exterior, it has the looks. It has a driver side airbag but no traction control, no stability control, definitely no navigation, not even an OBD II port.
I started looking and found a few for sale that seemed to meet my requirements. Eventually, I found a black on silver 1991 E34 M5 in Seattle. I talked at length with the owner and finally determined this might be the one. Before just picking up and driving to see the car, I had a buddy who is local and knows BMWs go meet the owner. My buddy took the car for a drive. An hour later he called me and said if I didn’t come buy it tomorrow he was buying it. I believe my words were something along the lines of, “Don’t you dare. I’ll be there at 8 am tomorrow.”
I won’t go into the full story as you can read that here. But I will say upon getting into the E34 M5 it just felt right. It was exactly what I had been searching for. It was the right generation M5 for me at the right time. The chassis, interior, powertrain, looks, it all worked. Karen looked at me before we even made it down the block during the test drive, and asked if we should just turn around so I could buy it. I said heck no, we were going to hit the highway first. But she was right, I knew within minutes I was buying this E34 M5.
And the rest as they say is history. So now you know exactly why I bought an E34 M5. The E28 and E39 M5 are both fantastic vehicles, that I may own someday.