• Classic BMW styling
    • Smooth V8 power delivery
    • Quality leather upholstery
    • Cost of some spare parts
    • Standard audio
    • Brake dust

    About the BMW 5 Series

    Thomas purchased this BMW 5 Series used for $9,000 (including all on-road costs) in 2022. Thomas would buy this car again because: “I would definitely buy my 540i again. Firstly, because I paid a reasonable price for the car. Secondly it is a fine example of an E34 5 Series, a testament to the previous owner. It has two previous owners, the second owning it since 1997. Therefore, the car was cherished and meticulously maintained.”

    How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

    The car has performed faultlessly for the 18 months and 7000 kilometres I have driven it. Although when purchasing the vehicle, I spent a considerable amount of time and money replacing worn components and completed preventative maintenance to ensure reliable motoring.

    What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

    I cannot fault the ownership experience with my beloved Beemer. I love every aspect of it. It is a pleasure to drive, in all conditions. It is especially at home on the freeway, sitting at a lazy 1900RPM at 100km/h.

    I often get positive comments and thumbs up when filling up for fuel and attending classic car events. I get so much joy out of Sunday morning drives and road trips.

    Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

    I happy with a price I paid, as the car has been kept in such great condition, a testament to its previous two owners. Although it needed quite a bit of maintenance to get it roadworthy and running reliably.

    As it is over 25 years old it qualifies for club permit registration. This means that registration is $160 per year and insurance half the price than if it was on full registrations.

    What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

    The performance of the 540i is impressive for a 29-year-old luxury sedan. It has 210kW and 400Nm from a 4.0-litre V8 codenamed ‘M60’. The power delivery is linear, although it will freely rev to 6000rpm without fuss, while providing a smooth V8 music.

    It was quite advanced at the time featuring double overhead cams and all alloy construction. The V8 is mated to a ZF 5 speed automatic, featuring ‘sport’ and ‘adaptive’ modes, which shifts smoothly, and suits the demeanour of the V8.

    The claimed 0-100km/h figure is 7.0 seconds and fuel economy 13.9L/100 km/h city and 8.5 highway. I average 14.5L/100 km/h with a mix of city, highway and spirited driving, which is acceptable considering the age and weight of the 540i.

    What do you think of the technology in your car?

    The technology of the almost 30-year-old BMW is impressive. As the 540i was the top of the 5 Series range, it came fully loaded.

    It features fully electric leather seats with three position memory, electric sunroof, ABS brakes, drivers airbag, traction control, cruise control, trip computer, eight-speaker stereo with six-stacker CD and cassette. All of these features still function as they did in ’94, although speakers are weak and rattle at high volume.

    What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

    The standard ride of the 540i is great, comfortable in all conditions. This is attributed to the huge 60 profile tyres tiny (by modern standards) 15-inch wheels.

    The suspension is catered more for comfort than spirited driving. During fast cornering the big Beemer has considerable body roll and tyre flex. To improve this, I installed a set of Eibach Sportline springs.

    This lowered the car considerably and improved its handling. Although, the low-speed ride is much firmer and sometimes jarring.

    Do you have any additional comments about your car?

    I love this car and would recommend it to many classic car enthusiasts. Although as it is 29 years old it will require constant maintenance and tinkering, which will be costly unless you can perform the work yourself.

    Overall Rating

    Ride & Handling9
    Price & Features7
    Performance & Economy8.5
    Ownership Experience10