A superlative sportscar, packed in a sporty, but never showy bodywork – that’s how BMW M described the first BMW M5 Touring in 1992. And despite the apposite, almost modest description, the high-performance vehicle was in many ways remarkable. The BMW M5 Touring E34 had not only the role of the Touring pioneer, it was also the first BMW M automobile ever to have a practical hatchback. With the inline-6-cylinder engine, originally developed for the BMW M1 super sportscar, the M suspension and an enhanced braking system, it offered power and driving pleasure beyond anything else in its class.
5 POWERFUL FACTS:
DRIVING AND LEISURE PLEASURE.
WITH THE LICENCE TO THRILL.
The engine came from the BMW M1: At the centre of the concept for the second BMW M5 in the mid-1980s stood the further development of the legendary four-valve six-cylinder engine from the BMW M1. This originally 3.5-litre engine with two overhead camshafts and intake-manifold fuel injection supplied the 1978 sports car with 204 kW (277 hp), before achieving 210 kW (286 hp) in the BMW M635 CSi and BMW M5 of the first generation. To further boost performance, the BMW M5 E34 Touring piston stroke and bore were increased, which in turn increased combustion chamber capacity to 3,795 cc. The S38B38 engine was born. With this and other technical details – for example the resonance plenum – from 1992, the engine offered a proud 340 hp at 6,900 rpm and 400 Nm torque at as low as 4,750 rpm. Even today, this is excellent for a six-cylinder engine of this class. With this version, which was used in the facelift of the BMW M5 Sedan too, the S38 also reached the end of its development.
TANGIBLE MOTORSPORT DNA.
Compound braking system and 6-speed transmission from 1994: The final stage of the BMW M5 Touring E34 as an overall vehicle wasn’t achieved until mid-1994. The last model contained several technical innovations which in particular favoured the M automobile’s performance. As the engine had been, now the braking system too was heavily influenced by motorsport: The compound braking system with radial plain bearings for the brake disc friction ring was at that point unique in series car production. Thanks to the thermal benefits, the system offered better brake performance, less weight and a longer life – even under heavy pressure.
Another innovation was the 6-speed transmission, with the new extra gear serving as an additional driving gear. In addition, the especially altered adaptive suspension was also standard. The top model in the final configuration could be recognized on account of its new 18-inch light-alloy rims with open five-spoke design and the wider front apron with redesigned kidneys.
The Touring’s noble interior: Superb leather upholstery, an M sports steering wheel and a driver-oriented central console characterized the interior of the BMW M5 Touring. The on-board computer and clearly designed instruments in the speedometer panel were top-notch for the time.