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by Jay Traugott
The E34 M5 Wagon was not only built in very limited numbers, but was the last hand-constructed M5.
Before you skip over yet another BMW-related article, we would encourage you to continue reading. This one is worth it. Wagons have been considered uncool by many in the US for some time now mainly due to their family car image. But in Europe, wagons and hatchbacks alike have always been much more appreciated. With that in mind, automakers like BMW were willing to build high-performance wagons, such as the E34 M5 Touring.
Most are familiar enough with the history of BMW’s M5, so we won’t go into that here. When the E34 M5 was launched back in 1989, not only was it the last M5 to be hand-built but it was also the first time a wagon variant was offered by the M Division. The E34 M5 Touring was launched in 1992 and was powered by a 3.8-liter straight-six – the largest displacement six-cylinder in modern BMW history. It was paired with a five-speed manual gearbox which sent 340 horsepower to the rear wheels. Now, it’s a commonly known fact that automotive journalists are usually station wagons' biggest fans, especially very powerful ones.
The E34 M5 Wagon was a particularly special wagon, so it’s a shame M fans in the US couldn’t get one. However given just 891 units were built, even in Europe it was hard to find. The E34’s immediate successor, the E39, widely thought of as the most-loved M5, didn’t spawn a wagon variant due to financial matters. It wasn’t until the E60 premiered in 2007 that an M5 wagon returned. A very small number of E34 M5 Wagons made it stateside, such as this particular 1993 example that’s up for sale for $26,000. It was imported to the US several years ago and federalized in 2001, meaning it now passes emissions standards in all 50 states.
To make that happen, the original Euro-spec catalytic converter was swapped out in place of a US-spec E34 M5 Ceramic unit. It’s also received a number of updates, some of which include a new stage 2 paint job, Bilstein sport shocks, Alcantara headliner and a performance chip which boosts power by 15-20 hp. Nearly everything else on this thing is original and it still drives extremely well, considering it has 157,000 miles on the clock. But still, it’s a classic M5 and a wagon on top of that – a truly a wonderful combination.