Okay, yes, that’s a weird headline and it does feel a little like BMW M5 day here at The Redline given this morning’s M5 drifting-related news. But I quite liked this story for two reasons.
- I like BMW M5s
- I like Heritage Fleets
Heritage fleets aren’t anything new. I was lucky enough to visit the Ford Heritage Collection in January 2017 and oh my giddy aunt, I thought I was going to pass out I had so much fun. The Ford fleet is packed full of goodies, right from the Model T through to present day shenanigans such as the Focus RS. I even got to drive an Escort Cosworth for CarsGuide.
Heritage fleets in Australia are new, though, and BMW is slowly building its own collection right here in the middle of nowhere. Today the company announced its most recent addition, an E34 M5.
BMW E34 M5
This isn’t just any old E34 M5. One of 14 Australian-delivered Alpine White M5s (out of a global total of 90 cars), the old girl is a piece of history. The E34 was the first M5 officially sold by BMW Australia and was the last car hand-built by BMW M’s division.
It was also the last car to carry the the 3.5-litre straight six that could trace it roots back to the iconic M1 supercar and was the last M5 to roll out with that many cylinders in that arrangement. The E39 went to V8 and the E60 to that glorious dubstep V10 before the F10 switched back to a V8 with a couple of turbos bolted to it.
In the E34, the 3.5-litre engine produced 232kW (318bhp) at 6900rpm and 360Nm at 4750rpm. Drive was, naturally, to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual. The 0-100km/h is a still-quick 6.3 seconds, had a top-speed limited to 250km/h (155mph) and it has a limited slip diff (25 percent locking for the LSD fiends).
What’s the point?
Heritage fleets are great because it means the car’s original manufacturer owns the cars and looks after them in a way most of us can’t. Ford’s fleet is amazing and contains oddities such as an egg-yolk yellow Escort Cosworth that was used to test the paint process. While Australian heritage fleets can’t get their hands on that kind of fun (except maybe Holden and Ford), it does mean that fans of the brand and the cars themselves can get a look at them.
BMW Australia’s fleet is pretty tasty, including a 1938 BMW 327 Cabriolet, a 1989 BMW Z1,
1999 BMW Z8, a 1999 Mini Cooper S, a 2003 BMW E46 M3 CSL and the 2016 BMW M4 GTS.
We’ll beg to see which ones we can get a go in for your enjoyment.
Like the BMW M5? Want to see one drifting for eight hours? Click here.
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.