BMW M5 E34 – Probably the best video for the M5 with lots of BMW race car footage showing it’s heritage.
The BMW E34 is the version of the BMW 5 Series automobile built from February 1988 to 1995 with the Touring model ending June 1996. It replaced the BMW E28 in 1988 and was replaced by the E39 in 1996. Development ran from July 1981 to 1987, with design specifications being chosen in 1983.
In the North-American market the E34 succeeded the BMW E28 in May 1988  with two models. The 525i used the BMW M20 engine while the 535i used the larger M30. The cars were a blend of BMW tradition and modern technology. BMW’s traditional FR layout and straight-6 were used, providing the smooth engine and optimal weight distribution BMW customers had come to expect. New 5-series also had a much stiffer body and was more streamlined than its predecessor, and had design cues introduced in 1986 on the 7-series by designer Ercole Spada.
The E34 was among the most reliable luxury cars on the market, earning the best-in-class ratings from Intellichoice in 1991, and still considered one of the most reliable BMWs ever made. It was also one of the safest cars on the road during its production, providing airbags, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, and a very rigid body structure to protect occupants in the event of an accident. It was also equipped with automatic stability control (ASC) or traction control (ASC+T) in later years on higher-specification variants
The M5 version of the E34 was produced from 1988 to 1995. It featured an S38 straight-6 engine, originally a 3.6 L with an output of 232 kW (315 PS; 311 hp), later upgraded to a 3.8 L producing 250 kW (340 PS; 335 hp).
In its last year of production, it also sported the 6-speed manual gearbox that had been taken from 540i/6 E34. This gearbox then followed through to the next generation of 5 series: the E39.
As with many M-Series cars, the body’s styling was upgraded with aerodynamic and cosmetic enhancements to outline its sportier nature.
Along with a modified suspension, the M5 was outfitted with 17 and 18-inch (460 mm) alloy wheels. Interestingly, one of these wheel models was the 17-inch (430 mm) M System wheels, which had two interchangeable fascia known as Turbine and Throwing-Stars (or T-Stars). These wheels are still highly sought and praised amongst BMW enthusiasts.
540i M-sport (North America)
A rare 540i M-Sport model was built in 1995. This package included not only a firmer suspension and sport seats, but also used many parts from the M5, save for the engine and transmission. 204 “Sport” models were built, 139 of them with a 6-speed manual. Canada also got a special version — the M540i — which was similar to the American 540i Sport but had even more M5 parts, such as 345 mm floating front rotors, 18-inch M-Parallel wheels, and various trim pieces. Only 32 of these cars were built, all with a manual transmission. Australia was the final market that received one of the M-Sport 1995 540i 6 speeds. 70 “540i Manual Limited Editions” were produced, all manual and all individually numbered. They came with full M5 interior and the “throwing star” M-System II wheels, but did not have the Motorsport S38 engine nor the M-tech exterior kit fitted.
In 1979 the head BMW Motorsport, Jochen Neerpasch, devised a one-make championship using racing modified M1s. The series was created to aid BMW in building enough M1s to enter the Group 4 classification in the World Championship for Makes. The new series, known as the Procar BMW M1 Championship, served as a support series for Formula One, and included many current Formula One drivers in identical cars.
The series ran for two years, with Niki Lauda winning the 1979 season, and Nelson Piquet the 1980 season. After BMW met the standards for Group 4, the Procars were used by various teams in the World Championship as well as other national series.
The BMW M5 is a high performance version of the BMW 5-Series executive car built by the Motorsport division of BMW. First introduced at the Amsterdam Motor Show in 1984, the first incarnation of the M5 was hand-built utilizing the 535i chassis and a modified BMW M1 engine, being the fastest production sedan in the world at the time of its introduction. Subsequent iterations of the M5 have been built from each generation of the 5-Series platform, including the E34, E39 and most recently the E60/E61. The next generation of the M5 is expected in 2011 and will be based on the BMW F10.