Officially the first M5 model available for sale in Australia, the local arm’s newly acquired 1990 E34 M5 is one of 90 models built to Australian specifications and one of 14 Alpine White M5’s sold here. It's the same colour and specification M5 used by Tony Longhurt to finish second in the 1992 Bathurst 12 Hour and driven in the inaugural Targa Tasmania. Longhurst returns to the Bathurst 12 Hour this year to compete in BMW's latest M4 GT4 race car.
Despite wearing the fabled M badge and housing an engine taken from the legendary M1 supercar, the 1990-built car is understated, differentiated only by turbine fin design alloys and an M5 badge on the rear.
Equipment fitted as standard and still in original condition on BMW’s latest acquisition are 17-inch ‘M System’ alloys which allowed for improved brake cooling and were fitted with 235/45 rubber, 20mm lower and 25 per cent stiffer suspension compared to the 535i, larger twin exhaust outlets, thicker roll bars, self-levelling rear suspension and a McPherson strut front-end with power assisted recirculating ball steering.
The business class performance sedan is powered by a 3.5-litre naturally-aspirated straight-six petrol engine which produces 232kW at 6900rpm and 360Nm at 4750rpm via a five-speed manual transmission to the rear wheels. Performance figures were quick in its time, accelerating 0-100km/h in 6.3 seconds to a top speed of 250km/h.
While competitive in its era, the latest fifth-generation M5 that launches here in April brings a significant upgrade in just about every measure to the comparably svelte E34.
Powered by a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine producing 441kW and 750Nm via an eight-speed automatic, the latest M is the first time one of the tuning arm's cars will power all-four wheels for better grip – though a rear-wheel drive mode gives nod to the car’s lineage.
The E34 joins the BMW Australia Heritage fleet that now consists of seven models spanning 80 years of BMW, from its 1938 327 Cabriolet to a 1999 Z8 and last year’s M4 GTS track car.
BMW Australia CEO, Marc Werner, says the fleet is integral to sharing BMW’s history.
“BMW’s heritage is vital to the brand’s strength,” he said.
“With these vehicles we can showcase the pinnacle of engineering and innovation for that point in time, demonstrating that BMW is always at the forefront of the driving experience.
“A passionate group of BMW Australia employees has worked hard to unearth this original, Australian-delivered E34 M5. It will be a regular presence at our 2018 events for the latest M5, which will arrive in April. Both cars are game-changers, 18 years apart.”
BMW's growing collection is not available for public viewing but the German marque will show its latest acquisition at dealer, club, communications and marketing events alongside the latest-generation M5.
BMW Australia Heritage fleet
1938 BMW 327 Cabriolet
1989 BMW Z1
1990 BMW E34 M5
1999 BMW Z8
1999 Mini Cooper S
2003 BMW E46 M3 CSL
2016 BMW M4 GTS
MORE: BMW News and Reviews