Sports Wagon: 1992 BMW M5 Touring

For fans of BMW wagons (of which I count myself one), this is pretty close to a holy grail car: an E34 M5 Touring, one of only two generations of M-badged BMW wagons ever built—neither of which was ever sold in the U.S. market. This one made its way to Tallahassee, Florida by way of the United Kingdom, presumably where these wintry photos were taken, and now finds itself listed here on eBay with bidding up to $20,100 as of this writing. Let’s see what we can glimpse of this unicorn.

Only 891 E34 M5 Tourings were built between 1992 and 1995; the badge skipped the wagon bodystyle for my preferred E39 generation, then reappeared as a V10-powered E60 M5 Touring from 2007 to 2010. That beast won’t be legal for importation to the U.S. for another decade and a half; in any case, the E34 is a much more analog kind of car, not to mention one that’s about 500 pounds lighter.

While they come decked out with many special features and unique styling, the beating heart of any M car is its engine, and the E34 M5’s S38B38 inline six is a beauty. This engine, which never came stateside due to emissions regulations, pumped out 335 horses from the factory. A few of those ponies may have retired over the course of this car’s 26 years and 254,345 kilometers (about 157,000 miles) on the roads, but upgrades to the fuel injectors and camshaft may help make up for it. Another advantage of the E34 over its automatic-only E60 descendant: a five-speed manual was the only way to send this engine’s power to the rear wheels.

So this handsome wagon can haul heinie in addition to the usual kinds of hauling wagons are called upon to do; how does the rest of it hold up? Seemingly not bad; the factory “Throwing Star” wheels hide upgraded brakes front and rear—the rears having been cobbled together from Porsche 944S calipers and 928S4 discs—while inside all gauges are reported to work as expected.

’90s-tastic M Technic cloth upholstery with grippy bolsters add to the Euro vibe of this not-for-U.S.-eyes wagon, as do the manual seat adjusters. The fabric seems to have held up very well front and rear, and overall the interior looks the business, aside from one rear door panel that doesn’t look quite right. The spare tire well is shown to be rust-free, which I guess is meant to lead us to assume the rest of the car is, too.

It’s worth looking at this shifter again. If I had to quibble, I’d like to know more about this car’s journey to the U.S. and its maintenance history; the biggest red flag is that the seller notes that no service records come with the car. Still, this is a special car, rare to begin with and even rarer stateside, and I have no doubt it will soon be the prize centerpiece of somebody’s BMW collection. If you’d like that to be you, you’d better haul on over to eBay—the auction ends soon!

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Comments

  1. Mountainwoodie

    So as a longtime BMW wagon freak I spent forever looking for an E 46 5 speed wagon that wasnt throttled…….automatics are everywhere….well almost everyhere. Nothing like driving a fast dadmobile with a 5 speed…..but an E 34 M Wagon……5 speed…….look out!. Of course being the cheapest human on the planet this baby is about 17 K outside my personal ‘waste money on a car” budget..But hey I can dream!

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  2. Dolphin Dolphin Member

    Already bid close to $25K on Ebay, and if it sells near that number it will be a steal for someone.

    Agree with Nathan that this is a very rare, very special wagon. The BMW M division was still young when these wagons were built, and this was one of the best early M cars, along with the 1st gen M3. It was so good that the BMW racing team used one of these to fetch parts for their race cars during race weekends at distant tracks because they were so fast, making use of the fantastic unlimited-speed Autobahn system of German highways.

    One source says the M5 sedan could accelerate from 0 to 100 MPH in 11.9 sec, then go on to 150 MPH, taking 36 Sec in all. This wagon would have the same drive train, making it some haulin’ wagon.

    As Nathan said, it made use of the S38 (for 3.8 liters) racing engine that has individual throttle bodies for each 4-valve cylinder. And with well over 300 HP it’s no surprise that these wagons can really haul.

    For comparison, I had a similar bodied E39 BMW wagon with the small 2.5 liter ‘cooking’ engine as a rental on a trip to Germany and it made 219 KPH (136 MPH) on the Autobahn, so the wagon in this auction should be good for much more.

    I think this is one of the best looking wagons ever made, and with the BMW Motorsport upholstery in this car, and the great condition it’s in, it’s just about perfect.

    But I wouldn’t waste time on Ebay. There’s already been one deadbeat winning bidder for this car. I would enter it in one of the major collector car auctions, maybe Bonhams or RMSothebys. It deserves to be offered to the best collectors out there. I wish I could be one of them

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  3. UK Paul

    This is just sexy as they come.
    I love these .. even have a few parts in my garage to touch now and again.
    Is the steering wheel correct though? Should be larger airbag wheel I thought.
    One of 3 BMW in personal top 10 cars of all time.

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  4. Frank Sumatra

    Very nice indeed, but…

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    • Kevin Harper

      I own a V caddy wagon like this but in silver. It is a good car but in truth a bit more fragile than the BMW. Do burn outs like this and drive it hard and you will soon be replacing axle shafts, diffs and wheel bearings. I can do a front wheel bearing in under an hour and the rears in less than two.
      The BMW’s seem to take this kind of driving more in stride, but on the flip side when they do break the cost of repair is a lot higher than the caddy

      4
    • Dolphin Dolphin Member

      With all due respect to Bob Lutz, who championed the Caddy V wagons like the white one in the photo above, I’m going out on a limb and say that same Bob Lutz, who instigated BMW’s M division, might actually be more attracted to the BMW M wagon…maybe by just a hair.

      The best of both worlds would of course be the BMW M wagon in the garage right beside the Caddy V wagon. I wonder whether Bob might actually own such a pair.Talk about a real fast pair of grocery getters.

      Paging Bob L.
      ….you out there, Bob?

      3
    • ShoelessTrucker

      Smoke ’em if you got ’em!

  5. Jeff

    I love wagons anyway, and while the E28 body style was my favorite BMW, a E34 wagon with the M5 engine and a stick would certainly top it.

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  6. Doyler

    Unicorn.

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  7. Russell Casey

    I have a 1995 525i e34 sedan and occasionally think I want an e34 V8 wagon. Not many good ones available anymore. However, mine is in excellent condition, and I am not inclined to restore another one. :)

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  8. Peter R

    I had a 1991 BMW M5 sedan – it made me smile every time I drove it. I was sorry to need to sell it for medical reasons – someone is getting a just terrifc wagon here.

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  9. tony k Member

    Anyone else find it interesting that on a car of this value and quality, all of the photos were taken BEFORE it was imported to the U.S.? The description sure sounds like the seller was the importer — but the last time it snowed in Tallahassee was in 1989.

  10. Fogline

    Wow – Wish I had seen this earlier, though would want to do an inspection.

    Kind of wondering about the pics on this, since there is obviously no snow in Florida. …

  11. David Miraglia

    Hell I could drive stick shift and even though this car is overpriced. I still desire
    Volvo,Saab, Mercedes and BMW wagons and their American counterparts over minivans. It is still a great daily driver.

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  12. Neil Nagle

    Wow, sold at 38 K. Lotta cake.

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  13. GearHead Engineering

    I had an e34 wagon with the 3.0 liter V8. I loved that car and really, really miss it. Unfortunately I lost control of it on a wet bridge and shortened it by about two feet on each end. It was a great car – handled great and was pretty quick. I occasionally look for a replacement but as Russell Casey notes there aren’t many good ones left. If I do find one, I think I would swap in the 4.0 liter engine.

    This M version is absolutely awesome. I would love to drive it but it went for way out of my price range.

    – John

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    • UK Paul

      They did do an E34 540i?

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      • GearHead Engineer

        Paul,

        In the US the e34 Touring didn’t come with the 4.0. The only US V-8 version was the 530iT. All with automatic. Not sure about the rest of the world.

        – John

  14. RITON

    There is a 6 speed version of these E34 Wagons, the engine is more powerfull and you could get the Nuburgring kit with it : better handling.
    Almost bought one in dark green and beige leather inside. Beautiful. But it was in Switzerland and adding taxes to bring it in EU market made it too expensive.
    Bought a Jag V12 and now a W140 V12. Nice cars too, and better for speed limits!

  15. UK Paul

    There was an Orininoco special?

  16. Peter k

    I have two bmw wagons . One has a 5 speed manual trans while the other has a 6 speed manual trans in it. The 5 speed is a great cruiser for the highways while the 6 speed has proven to be a charger killer. Best of all they are both quite unassuming when out and about.

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