Let’s talk V8 power: E34 540i

After just a few E30 related posts, it’s time for a new member to the Wheelmen family. And it’s E34 time again! And not just another one, but the V8 powered 540i. While we all love the E34 as one of the best dailies from all the “old” BMW’s, no matter the engine, this is probably on top of the list besides the expensive to run M5. Fact is that these 15 odd year cars are already becoming “young-timers”, but actually still feel modern and are probably better than many new cars on the market.

After so many E34’s in 6 cylinder disguise, from 2.5 to 3.5 liter, this is the first M60B40 to join our stable. This car is equipped with the 5speed ZF automatic gearbox, not the much sought after 6speed manual (that will maybe come one day). This slushbox is smooth and precise, shifting back direct and without heavy shocks under kickdown. A great combination with the lazy and powerful V8 powerplant.

Performance is high, but without any drama or noise; a real sleeper. The sprint to 100kph is just behind the 3.6L M5, but after that the high revving Motorsport 5-series will really shine and just walk away. Power figures are 286hp and 400Nm at 4,500rpm. Once again, nice and relaxing power, always available without the need to be in the right rev-range. For Americans this is probably quite normal, but in Europe a V8 powered BMW was far from common in the nineties.

The interior features manual sport seats, our favorites (cloth). These are in great condition, still feeling as new and gripping your body firmly but comfortably. Furthermore this car has all options that make life easy; cruise control, BC, ASC, rear sunblind and air conditioning. This low milage example still feels rock-solid, no squeaks or rattles, no vibrations, just wonderful. The color is calypso red (252) and might not be everybody’s taste, but it is in such stunning condition that it simply works!

Wheels come from the E31 8-series, a normal Wheelmen upgrade for the E34. Maybe later there will come a new, little bit lower suspension (possibly from the Alpina B10 3.5), but actually the car is so good there is no need to change anything. Just enjoy the quality, the comfort, the power and the looks of this car. Because let’s not forget, the E34 is a timeless beauty, that has stand the test of time very well and will certainly become a classic like the E28 already is.

-Hendrik

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