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1991 E34 M5 in Alpine S38 3.6L

We have seen this 1991 M5 for sale for the last few months, and it is in beautiful condition considering it’s high mileage. This M is one of the last of the hand built cars coming out of Germany and has seen 245,000 miles. The car has a long list of repairs, though some areas still need attention. 

E34 M5 Interior

The color combo is one of the best around: alpine white over dove grey. The E34 M5 has specific sport seats with adjustable thigh bolster and they really hold you in tight. The factory correct forged wheels with m turbine covers are present. These actually pull cool air into the brakes, something BMW brought in from their Motorsport technology. Aesthetically speaking they were mocked at the time for making the car look like it had white wall tires, not cool guys.


The E34 M5 is one of the best sleeper cars you can buy other than an E39 M5. For most people this just looks like another old BMW on the road, so it’s a great option if you like to blend into the crowd. Only those with a sharp eye will be able to see it’s much more than a standard 5 series. That’s something I enjoy a lot about driving my 530i. It blends in and draws little attention from other aggressive drivers, police running radar, or other annoyances. My E30 however draws attention wherever it goes (and it is 100% stock). Sometimes the attention is welcome, sometimes it’s not.

S38 M5

The hand built S38 engine was ahead of it’s time. It’s technology came from the M1, BMW’s original touring car. With 3.6L in this US spec and six individual throttles, this is a joy to drive. The downside of an S38 with this kind of mileage is that a rebuild can be very costly. These motors are notoriously needy with respect to maintenance requirements, and if neglected they can and will fail in a spectacular fashion. Even components such as the clutch are expensive, and commonly upgraded.


Overall a rust free California M5 like this is very appealing and getting harder to find. The asking price is currently $10,400 here on eBay. It may be a little overpriced at $10.4K, but then again it could be a good time to get into an E34 M5. They have not seen the insane spike in valuation as the E28 M5’s have in the last five years. Is it time to buy an E34 before the market changes? Let me know what you think.


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