Classic: BMW M5 of the E34 generation: The black Mauritius

Sports sedans were more exciting than ever for many car fans in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Classic: BMW M5 of the E34 generation: The black Mauritius

Sports sedans were more exciting than ever for many car fans in the 1980s and early 1990s. The vehicle type made it absurd that a four-door car had to be tired and boring. Things looked a little different with the station wagon models, because even if the turbodiesels were slowly putting a stop to the popular family cars, which were as economical as they were high in torque, the real sportiness was mostly not far off. Even station wagon models with a lot of performance, such as a BMW 5 Series Touring, a Mercedes E-Class T or an Audi A6 Avant in the top version, were perhaps fast, but anything but sporty.

That probably only changed with the premiere of the BMW M5 Touring of the E34 generation in 1992. Like the sedan version, the station wagon was also reserved in terms of external appearance. Over the years, the M5 engine had increased from 232 kW / 315 hp to 250 kW / 340 hp, not least due to the displacement expansion to 3.8 liters. The search for real competition was largely in vain, as it was not the performance of the high-revving in-line six-cylinder engine alone that attracted a lot of attention. The combination of a variable family station wagon and the genes of a real sports car was largely unique on the admittedly very small market. The technology of the M5 sedan, which was derived from motorsport, was transplanted with small changes into the more than pleasing station wagon body of the 5-series generation of the E34. A bigger problem than the implantation of technology into the touring guise was the production of the entire vehicle itself. Since BMW did not have its own production line for the high-performance station wagon at the time, the backpack athlete was largely handcrafted at M GmbH in Garching.

Bodywork and sporty chassis - in the BMW M5, even in the touring model, most of it revolved around the engine. The in-line six-cylinder was a further development of the legendary four-valve six-cylinder engine from the BMW M1. This originally 3.5 liter engine with two overhead camshafts and intake manifold injection delivered 204 kW / 277 hp in the 1978 sports car flounder before reaching 210 kW / 286 hp in the BMW M635 CSi and the first generation BMW M5. In order to further increase performance, the piston stroke and bore were increased in the BMW M5 from the 1992 model year and in the M5 E34 Touring, which was later introduced, which increased the combustion chamber volume to 3,795 cubic centimeters. The new engine was designated S38B38. The increase in bore and stroke, together with details such as the resonance air collector, resulted in an increase in performance to 250 kW / 340 HP and a maximum torque of 400 Nm at 4,750 rpm.

The engine itself and the power delivery itself are still a real show today, because the M5 Touring hangs snappy and directly on the gas, just as a sporty driver would like. This is ensured not only by the engine with appropriate fine adjustment, but also by the combination with the manual five-speed gearbox, which delivers the power to the rear axle precisely and extremely well. An impressive torque of 300 Nm is already available at 1,800 rpm - anything but a given in 1992. From a standstill it goes to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds with lively manual work and the top speed is a brisk 250 km/h . However, the high-performance station wagon doesn't just offer its big show in the left lane of the motorway, but also on shallow country roads with inclined curves, because here the sports station wagon can show off its dynamism impressively in third gear or, if things get too curvy, in second gear. If the family on board is good at cornering, all the better. Otherwise it's better to do these trips alone.

The perfect overall impression is not only ensured by the sporty, tight chassis, the manageable vehicle weight of around 1.8 tons and the stylish 17-inch turbine design. Only when it comes to the braking system does the sportiest of all 90s station wagons fall short of today's reality. In 1994 there was a small model update that brought amenities such as a compound brake system, 18-inch wheels and a manual six-speed gearbox. The interior is just as discreet as it is spectacular, because the mass-produced technology of the E34 generation is omnipresent, but the numerous electric motors and the delicate leather finishes make the exclusive BMW M5 Touring shine in a completely different light. The beige leather chairs - excellently contoured and delicately adjustable - are a real stunner even by today's standards. In addition, there was the everyday use that was unique at the time and that the sports suit offered not only in the second row, but also in the luggage compartment.

Anyone looking for a BMW M5 Touring in the appropriately excellent condition today has to put in a lot of effort and be lucky, as just 891 vehicles of the sports station wagon were produced between 1992 and 1995. The last models in particular with a slightly modified front, 18-inch wheels, sports brake system and six-speed manual transmission are hardly to be found on the European market. Therefore, few people care about the price itself, but about finding such a vehicle at all. Ideally one that is still in its original condition.

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