Having solely had Volvos as my cars, I am fairly used to being in a large, safe and comfortable environment. My 340, 460 and S90 were all superbly comfortable and very reliable.
Having got bored with the automatic gearbox in the S90, I wanted to change back to manual. The straight six engine in the Volvo was truly excellent, and if they had done a full-powered version in manual form then I'd have bought that. I started to look at BMWs as they are renowned for their straight sixes and handling. After hunting around a bit and checking with insurance companies, I realised that despite my age I could afford a V8, which with a manual gearbox would be excellent, and it is!
I quickly (and luckily) found an E34 540i V8 with a 6 speed manual gearbox, with all the cream leather and wood that my Volvo had. Cruise Control, Dual Climate Control (which should be good once it's working) and most other little toys. It even has a keypad immobiliser which I've always wanted for some reason?!
Having driven it for a few days now, I can happily say it's the fastest road car I've ever been in. 0-60mph comes up in 6.2s, and as it's limited to 155mph, it doesn't slow up either, even when the speed gets into triple figures. It's truly exhilarating! The handling's spot on for a car that weighs about 1.7 tons, and the grip on 225/55/16 tyres is excellent, helped by the ASC+T no doubt!
Having been used to the 21mpg average of the S90, I am pleasantly surprised to see this 4.0 V8 getting nearly 40mpg on the motorway at 50mph (1500rpm) and about 20mpg round town. Obviously that's taking it rather steadily, put your foot down and it drops somewhat!
Having a manual back is excellent, especially now having 6 gears! The torque is so immense you can happily cruise about everywhere at 1000rpm. The torque figure at 1000rpm is just over 280Nm, which more than the Volvo had at 4500rpm?! It's going to take some getting used to, but I'm certainly enjoying. And at 22 years old, I consider myself pretty lucky to own one of these monsters.
If buying one, make sure it has Full BMW Service History. I have kept some money in reserve (from haggling down the purchase price) so that I may have the funds necessary to carry on servicing it properly.
If you are looking for an absolute monster of a car, with more torque than you would ever need, then I can highly recommend an E34 540i. Although the interior is not quite as nice as the Volvo S90, it is still very luxurious and quiet, and a very nice place to be when you want to go out for a drive!