The BMW M5 is a high-performance version of the popular BMW 5-series executive car and is manufactured by the Motorsport division of the German automaker, BMW. Production of this vehicle started in 1986 and it was first made available consisted of a hand-built 535i chassis as well as a modified BMW M1 engine, which was the fastest production sedan in the entire world at the time it was launched onto the market. There have been subsequent iterations of the M5 which have used every generation of the 5-Series platform, such as the E35, E39, and E60 as well as the more recent F10.
Although it did not carry the M5 name, the E12 M535i, which was built in 1980, is viewed as this vehicle’s predecessor. This was the third road-going automobile to come from the BMW Motorsport division. The very first BMW M5 had a design that was based on the E28 5 Series and was introduced to the public at the Amsterdam Motor Show in February of 1984. This vehicle was the result of demand from the public for a vehicle that had the carrying capacity of a saloon with the refined and elegant appearance of a sports car. This vehicle used the 535i chassis, which is an improved version of the bodykit used with the M535i.
The first generation of this vehicle was hand-built in Munich before 1986 but was eventually moved to Daimlerstrabe in Garching where the rest of the vehicles were put together by hand. Production of the M5 kept on until November of 1988, which was long after production of the E28 chassis ended in Germany in December of 1987. A class action law suit came about from the production of this vehicle and it was settled by vouchers being given to various car owners.
The M5 was produced in four different versions, depending on the location it was being imported to, and included left-hand drive, Euro spec, right-hand drive UK spec, LHD North American for the United States and Canada, and the Middle Seat Drive for the South African market. There was also the Back Seat Drive which was sold on the Russian market. Both the European and South African versions of the M5 had an M88/3 engine in them which was capable of producing up to 286 PS or 282 horsepower. The North American models of this vehicle featured the S38B35 engine which was designed with a catalytic converted and could produce up to 256 horsepower.
The E34 generation of the M5 started production in September of 1988 and ended in 1995. This vehicle was also hand-built at BMW M GmbH in Garching, Germany, and a chassis that was heavily based on the E34 configuration and produced at BMW’s Dingolfing plant. Assembly of the E34 vehicles was typically performed by just one M employee, though sometimes entire teams would work on these vehicles for up to two weeks at a time.
When the E34 was released to the public for purchase, it came with an S38B36 engine which was capable of producing up to 232 Kw or 311 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque at 4,750 rpm. The models that were sold in both North America as well as Switzerland were capable of producing up to 229 kW or 307 horsepower. This version of the M5 came with a unique wheel design and featured the M-System, which used directional bolted-on wheel covers and a black 5-spoke alloy wheel under the cover. The purpose of the M-System cover was to move heat away from the brake assembly to prevent overheating and promote cooling. This vehicle is definitely highly regarded around the world and has experienced impressive sale stats in a variety of markets.