Mileage: 94,600 Miles
Engine: M30B35 Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Transmission: 5-Speed Manual Transmission
Exterior color: Alpine White Exterior (218)
Interior: Natur Leather Interior (0231)
Power Seats w/ Armrests
Sport Steering Wheel
BMW Sound System
6-Disc CD Changer
On Board Computer
Power Windows, Door Looks
Rear Arm Rest
Lightly Tinted Windows
17” E34 M5 Forged M System Wheels w/ Yokohama ES100 Tires
15” Borbet Wheels w/ Fulda Carat Assuro tires
1-Owner Colorado Car
Note: Deduct $1000 if you don’t want the M System wheels
The E34 (3rd Generation) BMW 5 Series was the most advanced of the traditional BMWs, both in form and function. At its release one reviewer called it “A blend of BMW tradition with modern technology.” Its form is made up of the iconic BMW 3-box design language, square kidney grills, double circular headlights, and sleek tidy lines. It was more refined than its E28 predecessor, yet still traditional compared to its E39 successor. BMW accurately described it as “Sophisticated styling that is aerodynamic while in motion, and admired when parked.” It also said, “Two more cars the world makes, the more desirable the BMW 5 Series becomes.” Two successive decades have revealed those words to be true, as modern cars have become bloated, numb, infotainment-centric appliances. Simply put, the E34 is one of the best looking and best driving 5 Series of all time. The 1989-1992 535i was powered by the tried and true M30B35 engine—one of BMW’s most reliable power plants—producing 208 horsepower, but 225 pound-feet of torque. M30s suffered none of the mechanical issues later E34 engines did. Early E34s also featured black upper dashboards (that have aged much better than colored examples), and lacked the passenger airbag and ASC (this is a good thing). The E34 was good—very good. As a result many were driven thoroughly, making clean, originally kept examples rare—very rare.
This 1990 535i is one of those examples. It is a 1-owner car that was originally sold by Gebhardt BMW in Boulder, Colorado. It has always lived in Colorado and is rust-free as a result. It belonged to a couple that maintained a vacation home in Colorado and used it as their Colorado car (along with a Porsche 930). At present, The Carfax documents its mileage with regular registrations and several dealer services at Gebhardt BMW. It is a completely stock and in time-capsule condition, down to the KE-837BM Hi-Fi factory stereo (which sounds fantastic). Compared to most E34s, which are usually knackered by high mileage, this example is exceptionally clean inside and out. The paint presents terrifically with no glaring defects and the interior is in excellent condition. Everything works and virtually none of the common E34 maladies are present. We needed to do little to prepare it for sale other than a fresh oil change, replace a missing rear tow hook cover, re-charge the air conditioning, replace the battery, and mount up a set of recently refinished “naked” forged Style 21 M System wheels that we had in the parts room. The fifteen-inch Borbet wheels it came on are also included with the sale. It comes with two keys, a complete tool kit, the factory jack, spanner, and center cap tool.
The Alpine White paint looks fantastic and always presents well—even when it’s dirty. Overall the exterior of this E34 is excellent, but I will be critical of it since it is such a fine example. There are no major paint deficiencies, paint chips, or peeling clear coat, but close scrutiny does reveal small imperfections. The hood and front fenders have been repainted at some point, but they are very well matched. There are no glaring dings or dents, but there are some very small shallow dents (two on the roof, three on the trunk, several on the passenger door, and a faint impression in the right C-Pillar). The white finish makes them difficult to see, and they are all extremely minor. There is no rust and all VIN tags are in place except the hood and left front have been painted over, and the right front fender tag is missing. The lower leading edge of the front valance has a few scuffs, as does the rear bumper trim. All trim is in place, but slightly UV faded. The headlight, indicator, and brake light lenses are in good condition; the passenger side marker lens and driver’s side fog light are both missing. The windshield glass is original BMW glass with no cracks and only light pitting. The side window and rear glass are tinted and in excellent shape. The M System wheels have been recently finished, and are the desirable forged M Systems. They are 17” x 8” square, which is optimal to reduce understeer. They are wrapped in Yokohama ES100 tires with decent tread remaining. The fifteen-inch Borbet wheels are in excellent shape with no curb rash; they are wrapped in Fulda Carat Assuro tires with lots of tread remaining.
Interiors are a weak spot of E34s and that is where this one shines—it is pristine! Natur is darker than the Parchment of later E34’s and looks fantastic with the early black dashboard. It has never been smoked in. It does have the faint smell of a car that has been in long-term storage, but it is not offensive and I have the nose of a bloodhound. The carpets are clean and are protected by factory floor mats. The dashboard is in excellent shape, with slight lifting on the center vent being the only gripe. The fine wood trim is also in excellent shape, with only a faint crack in the forward driver’s door trim. The center console piece is excellent with no lifting or cracks—rare for any E34. The wooden shift knob has some faint spider cracks in the finish. The seat leather is in very good condition, with only minor wear on the driver’s seat bolsters. All power seat functions, including the power headrests, armrests, and seat heaters work. The steering wheel leather is excellent with no failed stitching. All instrument cluster functions work correctly; there are no warning lights. The factory sound system sounds great. The on-board computer functions correctly, but there is some backlight bleed-through on the upper left of the computer display. The heat blows warm and the air conditioning blows cold; the blower motor does not chirp. All power windows, door locks, and mirror functions work correctly except for the passenger side mirror. The tool kit is complete, along with the factory jack and spanner.
The M30 engine starts on command, idles smoothly, and pulls strong to redline. It has that wonderfully smooth and linear torque delivery, and is superior the M60 V8 that replaced it in, my opinion. It doesn’t drip or spot (I have trusted it on my pristine driveway), but it does have some typical M30 seeps; namely the oil pan gasket, rear cover of the cylinder head (not the head itself), and a power steering line. None of these warrant attention at present, I would just monitor them. The engine has a matching VIN tag on the cylinder head, which is pretty cool! The transmission shifts smoothly, the shifter bushings are tight, and the clutch take up is correct. The suspension is firm and compliant and the brakes are strong with lots of pad thickness and rotor run out remaining, the rear brakes likely have about 10K miles left before they need replacing. There are no driveline noises or vibrations. The M30 is arguably one of the most reliable BMW power plants of all time, and this example’s mechanical condition will allow it to last a very long time. We would like to find a buyer who will continue to enjoy and care for years to come.