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BMW E34 History

About the E in E34
BMW uses an E code to designate each particular body style/platform. E stands for Entwicklung which is German for development or evolution.

The E34
In North America the E34 was introduced for 1989 to replace its predecessor, the E28. Only two models were available, the 525i and the 535i. Both equipped with inline 6 cylinder engines. A new M50 engine equipped 525i was introduced in 1991 to replace the current 525i that was powered by the M20 engine.

The legendary 535i, by many considered one of the greatest 5ers ever, was discontinued in 1993. Planet earth slipped into a depression from which it recovered a few months later when the M60 V8 engine equipped 530i and 540i were introduced. The 94-95 E34 lineup consisted of the 525i, 530i and 540i. A touring version of the 525i was introduced in 1992, a touring version was also available for the 530i, quite rare though. 1995 would be the last model year for the E34 even though E34s were still produced well into 1995. The E34 needed few styling updates since it was such a good looking car to start with. Updated mirrors were introduced in 1993, the 94 530i and 540i received a wide grill, the 525i received the wider grill as well in 1995 and also for 95 the lower bumper trim was painted in body color. A total of roughly 1,200,000 E34s were produced, this includes Euro spec and North American spec models.

89/90 E34 525i
The car was simply to heavy for its M20 engine. The M20 engine used in this 525i is a 6 cylinder inline 2.5L, single overhead cam, 12 valve making 168hp. The M20 is also called the “Baby Six”.
0 to 60: eventually…

91-95 E34 525i
Engine was upgraded to the inline 6, double overhead cam, 24 valve M50 engine which makes 189hp. The M50 received some technical updates in 93, including vanos (automotive variable valve time technology developed by BMW). Automatic transmissions for this particular car were build by GM.
0 to 60: 8.6 seconds.

89-93 E34 535i
Featuring the bulletproof, 3.5L single overhead cam M30 engine which made 208hp. The M30 engine also called the “Big Six”, which obviously refers to it’s 6 cylinders (inline) and quite large displacement.
0 to 60: 7.7 seconds.

94-95 E34 530i
Powered by the 3.0L, DOHC 32 valve V8 M60 engine, making 218hp. This car replaced the 535i.
0 to 60: 7.7 seconds.

94-95 E34 540i
Powered by the 4.0L, DOHC 32 valve V8 M60 engine, making 282hp. A 6 speed manual transmission was available on 95 models, which has become a very desirable and quite rare car. An M-Sport version was available for the US market only, only 200 were build. Canada received an M540i of which only 32 were build.
0 to 60: 6.8 seconds.

90-91 E34 M5
The ultimate E34! Powered by the S38, 3.6L 6 cylinder engine making 311hp. The later 3.8L powered E34 M5 was never shipped to North America.
0 to 60: 6.3 seconds

92-95 E34 Touring
Available in North America with either the 2.5 M50 or 3.0 M60 and only an
automatic transmission BMW’s 5 series wagon added utility to an already
excellent platform. Offered with LAD self leveling suspension, a dual panel
sunroof, and an innovative hatch BMW showed the world how a wagon was
supposed to be designed and built.
0-60 525iT: 10.0 seconds
0-60 530iT: 8.9 seconds

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