15UsedBMWm m
aka BMW 5 Series
Production 1988 - 1995
Class Midsize (E) luxury Sport Sedan
Body Style 4-door, 5-seat Sedan
Length length - type here
Width Width - type here
Height Height - type here
Wheelbase wheelbase - type here
Weight 1600 kg
Transmission 4 Speed Auto, RWD
5 Speed Manual, RWD
Engine engine
Power N/A hp @ N/A rpm
N/A lb-ft of torque @ N/A rpm
Similar Mercedes-Benz W124
Designer Designer (lead designer if it was a team effort)

The BMW E34 is the version of the BMW 5 Series automobile built from February 1988 to 1995. It replaced the BMW E28 in 1988 and was replaced by the E39 in 1996, although E34s were still being sold in 1996.

The E34 succeeded the BMW E28 in 1989 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. The E34 also had a much stiffer body and was streamlined than its predecessor, looking very much like the BMW E32 7-series.

The E34 was among the most reliable luxury cars on the market, earning the best-in-class reliability rating from Intellichoice in 1991. It is still considered one of the most reliable BMWs 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. The E34's 60-0 mph (97 to 0 km/h) stopping distance of 130 feet (40 m) was the best of any production sedan in 1990.

See Autopedia's comprehensive BMW E34 Review.

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Trim1 Trim2 Trim3 Trim4
$Price1 $Price2 $Price3 $Price4
$Price1 $Price2 $Price3 $Price4

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c/h c/h c/h c/h


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E34 ModelsEdit

  • 518i (1989–1993) M40B18 Engine
  • 518i (1993–1996) M43B20
  • 520i (1988–1990) M20B20
  • 520i ECE (1988–1990) M20B20 (higher compression than 520i non ECE)
  • 520i (1990–1995) M50B20
  • 525i (1988–1991) M20B25
  • 525i (1990–1995) M50B25
  • 525iX (1992–1995) M50B25 (four-wheel drive version)
  • 530i (1994–1995) M60B30
  • 535i (1988–1992) M30B35
  • 540i (1993–1995) M60B40

While Europe was given a large selection of engine choices and combinations, the North American market was more limited. While North America received only the 525i, 525i Touring, 535i, 530i, 530i Touring, 540i, and the M5, the European market also got the E34 518i, 520i, 6-cylinder 530i, and diesel 525td/s. The cars were also available earlier in Europe than in America.

525i Edit

The 525i was built throughout the E34 production, and in 1992 was offered as a wagon (touring version) in the USA. In 1991, the engine was switched from the single overhead cam M20 engine to the double overhead cam M50 engine, raising power to 189 horsepower (141 kW), while a change from a timing belt to a timing chain improved reliability. A further revision of the 525i engine took place in 1993, when VANOS was added to the M50 engine which was designated the M50TU.

525iX Edit

The 525iX was the only four-wheel drive version in the E34 series. It was available both as a sedan and a wagon (touring version). It features a computer-controlled rear and middle differentials. The middle differential normally would divide 36% torque to the front axle and 64% to the rear axle, but could alter the ratio according to driving conditions (in case one of the axles started to slip).

535i Edit

The E34 535i was introduced in Europe as a 1988 model but was not available in North America until 1989. Production of the E34 535i ended in 1993, replaced by the V8 530i and 540i models. Despite the 535i designation, the M30 engine found in the E34 535i was actually 3430cc. Only 5% of total production 535i's were 5-speeds. The car can get 14–17 miles per U.S. gallon (17 to 14 L/100 km) city and 23-29 mpg (U.S.) (10 to 8 L/100 km) highway.

530i Edit

The 530i replaced the 535i model in 1994, switching from an inline-6 to the new BMW M60, a DOHC 3.0 liter V8 engine producing 218 hp (160 kW). It was also offered in a touring version. Although it came to replace the M30 3,430cc engine it was afterwards proven the engine was not so reliable as the M30

540i Edit

In 1993 BMW added a 4.0 liter V8 to the 5 Series lineup. It was available in both sedan and touring models. Its large, torquey engine, upgraded brakes, and optional 6-speed transmission (offered in 1995) made it very competitive in the sports sedan market.

Both the E34 BMW 530i and 540i shared the M60 engine, which used Nikasil bore linings. In America, this made both susceptible to premature engine wear, as high sulfur content in some fuels resulted in deterioration of the linings. BMW then introduced Alusil linings for this engine, which solved the problem.

A rare 540i Sport model was built in 1995. This package included not just a firmer suspension and sport seats, but used many parts from the M5, save for the engine and transmission. 200 "Sport" models were built, 135 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 wheels, and various trim pieces. Only 32 of these cars were built, all with a manual transmission.

All versions of the 540i had the same 0-60 mph time of 6.4 seconds, and could get 14–17 miles per U.S. gallon (17 to 14 L/100 km) city and 23-29 mpg (U.S.) (10 to 8 L/100 km) highway.

M5 Edit

The M5 version of the E34 was produced from 1989-1995. It featured a highly tuned straight-6 engine, originally a 3.6 L, but later increased to 3.8 L.



  • Length = 185.8 in (4.72 m)
  • Width = 68.9 in (1.75 m)
  • Wheelbase = 108.7 in (2.76 m)
  • Weight = 3,570 lb (1620 kg)
  • Weight distribution F/R = 50%/50%
  • Trunk capacity = 16.2 ft³ (0.46 m³)
  • Drag coefficient = between 0.30 and 0.32, depending on model

Performance Edit

535i with 5-speed Getrag manual transmission:

  • 0-60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 7.6 s
  • 1/4 mile (0.4 km) in 15.7 s
  • Top speed (computer-limited): 128 mph (206 km/h)
  • Top speed (without limiter-Euro models): 153 mph (246 km/h)
  • 60-0 mph (97–0 km/h) in 130 feet (40 m)


  • Standard Equipment: Air Conditioning; AM/FM Cassette with 10 speakers; Rear Defroster; Leather Interior; Driver's side airbag (after 1990); 4-wheel anti-lock brakes.
  • Standard Power Accessories: steering; mirrors; 10-way adjustable front seats; windows with all auto-down and driver's auto-up; central locking system, including trunk and gas filler door locks;:one-touch sunroof.
  • Options: On-Board Computer; Trunk-mounted 6-disc changer; Cold Weather Package, with heated front seats, door lock cylinders, rearview mirrors and windshield washers; Automatic Stability Control (ASC) (added in mid 1990).


If the vehicle is sold in other markets worldwide, then this is the section to mention that information. Also, mention if the <MODEL> goes by another name in these other markets.

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See alsoEdit


The BMW Group

BMW | Rolls-Royce | MINI

Current: 1 Series · 3 Series · 5 Series · 6 Series · 7 Series · Hydrogen 7 · Z4 · X1 · X3 · X5 · X6 · 5 Series GT · Megacity EV

Bmw M logoM Cars: M1 · M3 · M5 · M6 · M Coupe · M Roadster · M535i · X5M · X6M

Bmw i logo BMW i: i3 · i5 · i8

Historic: 507 ·Z8 · Z3 · Z1 · 503 · 328 · Isetta · 8 Series · E3 · · · · · · · · · ·

Racing: M3 GTR · V12 LMR · V12 LM98 · 320 Turbo · 3.0 CSL · 700 RS · F1.09 · Z4 GT3 · M3 GT2

Concept: Nazca M12 · Nazca C2 · Nazca C2 Spyder · Z11 · Z13 · Z18 · Z07 Concept · Z9 Gran Turismo Concept · Z9 Convertible Concept · X Coupe · CS1 Concept · xActivity Concept · H2R · Mille Miglia · M3 Concept · CS Concept · Just 4/2 Concept · Concept Z4 Coupe · Turbo Concept · X6 Sports Activity Coupe Concept · Concept X6 Active Hybrid · Concept 1-Series tii · M1 Homage Concept · GINA Light Visionary Concept · M8 Prototype · 750i ActiveHybrid Concept · X1 Concept · Hydrogen Powered Salt Flat Racer Concept · 5 Series Gran Turismo Concept · Z Vision Concept · E1 Concept · Vision EfficientDynamics Concept · SIMPLE Concept · Concept ActiveE · ActiveHybrid5 Concept · Concept Gran Coupé · Concept 6 Series Coupé

iDrive · DesignworksUSA · ConnectedDrive · BMW Welt · Franz Josef Popp · Max Friz · BMW i · BMW M · BMW Motorrad

Karl Friedrich Rapp and Camillo Castiglioni Corporate website Independent

image (between 170-190 pixels)

The BMW Group

BMW | Rolls-Royce | MINI


E12 · E28 · E34 · E39 · E60 · E61 · F10 · F11

iDrive · DesignworksUSA · ConnectedDrive

Karl Friedrich Rapp and Camillo Castiglioni Corporate website Independent

Template:BMW cars

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