The BMW E34 is third generation of the BMW 5 Series, which was sold from 1988 to 1996. The E34 was the first 5 Series to be available with the wagon body style, the 525iX was the first 5 Series with all-wheel drive and V8 engines were also first available in a 5 Series during the E34 generation. It also saw the introduction of stability control (ASC), traction control (ASC+T) a 6-speed manual transmission and adjustable damping (EDC) to the 5 Series range.
There was an unusually large range of engines fitted over its lifetime, as nine different engine families were used. These consisted of 4-cylinder,straight-six and V8 engines.
The E34 M5 is powered by the S38 straight-six engine and was produced in sedan and wagon body styles.
The E34 generation of the M5 was produced from September 1988 to 1995. It was hand-built at BMW M GmbH in Garching, Germany. It was based on the E34 chassis which was produced at BMW’s Dingolfing plant. Assembly was done either by a single M employee or a team of M employees and generally took about two weeks.
The E34 M5 released with the S38B36 engine which produced 232 kW (311 hp) and 360 N·m (266 lb·ft) at 4,750 rpm. Cars sold in North America andSwitzerland, due to a different catalytic converter, produced 229 kW (311 PS; 307 bhp).
In second half of 1991, the engine displacement was increased to 3.8 litres with the S38B38 (except in North America and South Africa, which continued with the 3.6 litre engine due to emission laws). Power was now increased to 250 kW (335 hp). A 6-speed manual transmission was made standard on the last model year (1995). The E34 M5 was the last M5 to feature an engine with a historical link to a BMW Motorsport racing engine.
In 1992, a five-door Touring version (estate/wagon) was introduced in LHD form, with 891 cars made. The E34 M5 Touring was BMW M Division’s first wagon, as well as the last hand built M car made.
The M5 came with an unusual wheel design. From 1988–1992 the M5 featured the “M-System”, which used directional bolted-on wheel covers. Under the cover was a black 5-spoke alloy wheel. The intent of the M-System cover was to divert heat from the brake assembly to increase cooling. The cover actually integrated a fin assembly behind the cover. In 1992 BMW changed the design to the “M-System II” (nicknamed “throwing stars”) which actually had even better capabilities to remove heat from the brakes. In May 1994, the M5 switched to “M Parallel” wheels that did away with the cover.