1994 BMW 5 Series SE 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland
E34 = Best looking 5 series
Sunroof won't work.
Auto-box a bit jerky as the miles rise.
Air-con is useless.
Far too many maintenance items to list; suspension, exhaust, brakes, etc etc. Most have been quite costly, but do not buy such a car and expect to run it on the cheap. That said, a lot of independent specialists can help you out for reasonable costs. Skilled servicing is a must for these cars.
Cosmetically, not much rust which is good after so many years (the car was always garaged), but the paintwork is faded in some areas.
I simply love executive cars from the 80's and early 90's, and the E34 BMW 5 series is a perfect example of one of them. Arguably the best, but I'll leave that up to you. I simply bought this car for a weekend fun as a usable classic, and it has been perfect for that very use.
I implore you to type "E34 BMW" into any image search engine if you have forgotten what this car looks like and tell me one thing - is there a more handsomely sculpted, boxy, muscular yet aerodynamic car in existence? You could name some Mercedes cars from the same time period and I would agree with you, but I think the 1988 - 1995 5 series clinched the looks title. People always comment on what a nice looking car it is, to ride in and look at.
520i SE in dark metallic green, the one to have (avoid the lethargic 518i). There are of course faster models, and the impressive M5, but if you want an entry level classic 5 series this is the one to go for. Slightly updated 1994 model with the smaller wing mirrors. Not a fast car by any means, especially with the auto box, but the car has more than enough power to keep up with everyday driving. Very smooth power delivery. Fuel consumption is anything between 25 - 30 MPG at best. Drive fast and you can expect a lot less. Typical for a petrol six cylinder older car. I believe this is the updated 2.0 six cylinder engine, earlier ones had less horse power, this has about 145 - 150 BHP.
The car handles great. Some say it feels too heavy but I have no idea why. The car is no heavier than today's executive cars, and the power steering feels perfectly weighted to me. I actually find older cars easier to drive due to better all round vision (no stupid big pillars) and the fact you can see the end of the bonnet and rear boot for judging parking spots. Quiet and smooth on faster roads.
Original multi spoke alloy wheels look amazing, but are a pain to clean. Inside the interior is beige leather that has held up well over the years, but the previous owner who I knew really looked after it, and was a non smoker, no kids or pets. Honestly looks like new and I love being in this car. SE model has all the electrics you would expect.
If you are looking for a usable classic, you could do a lot worse than one of these. Expensive when it does go wrong, and I do not think this car is as reliable as people made it out to be, but it is very, very good. My jerky auto-box will need attention soon; not looking forward to that bill, but it has generally treated me well and I like this car so much it will be worth it and cannot wait for the rest of this and next summer for cruising in style. One of BMW's best cars ever. Their value is only rising for looked after cars. I'll probably sell it in a few years for more than what I paid for it about 6 or 7 years ago.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th June, 2021