The second generation BMW M5 was born in 1989, following the success of the E28. The E34 had quite large shoes to fill and was a bit more powerful, using a 311 hp S38 engine, than the E28 and it had some more modern gizmos.
Like its predecessor, the E34’s engine and chassis were put together in-house by M, and legend has it that the level of bespoke build was such that each car’s dynamic demeanor had a little characteristic that identified the technician that built it – Paul Rosche.
In the second half of 1991, the engine displacement was increased to 3.8 liters with the S38B38 (except in North America and South Africa, which continued with the 3.6 liter engine due to emission laws). Power was now increased to 335 bhp. A 6-speed manual transmission was made standard on the last model year (1995).
The M5 came with an unusual wheel design. From 1988–1992 the M5 featured the “M-System”, which used directional bolted-on wheel covers. Under the cover was a black 5-spoke alloy wheel. The intent of the M-System cover was to divert heat from the brake assembly to increase cooling. The cover actually integrated a fin assembly behind the cover.
In 1992 BMW changed the design to the “M-System II” which actually had even better capabilities to remove heat from the brakes.
In May 1994, the M5 switched to “M Parallel” wheels that did away with the cover.
We recently had the opportunity to spend some time with the E34 M5 in Portugal and we came back with a photo gallery: