(first posted 12/16/2013) Ever since childhood, owning a red Bimmer has been a dream of mine. Even today, as I’m in my 20s, this dream is still very much alive. Back to the nineties, and there were two BMWs that would have fulfilled this desire. The first was a E36 3 Series convertible. Nothing really says “90s Bimmer” like the E36, and of all body styles I preferred the convertible’s sleek looks best. The second car aforementioned, would be an E34 5 Series sedan, like our featured car, in red of course!
The E34 was one of the best BMWs of all time, combining advanced technology and safety features with excellent road dynamics and timeless styling in one of the most reliable BMWs ever. From a styling standpoint, the E34 was a culmination of BMW’s design evolution, characterized by crisp edges, quad round headlights, and thin kidney grilles that started in the ’60s. The E34 Touring (a.k.a. wagon) was especially sexy. BMWs after this point would tend to be rounder, softer, and frankly a bit pudgier.
Among the E34’s numerous advancements included increased structural rigidity, lower drag coefficient, dual front airbags, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, automatic stability/traction control, and an interactive on-board computer. The E34 was also the first passenger car equipped with a 5-speed automatic transmission. In typical BMW fashion, numerous engine choices were offered, ranging from a 1.8L I4 all the way to a 4.0L V8. Interestingly, the M5 was propelled by an inline 6, although it made more power than the larger V8.
Interiors were tasteful with most models featuring a swathe of walnut trim, leather seats and door inserts, and on automatic-equipped cars, a rather classy looking shift lever that looked like the top of an elegant walking cane. Interior layout was very driver-centric, with the instrument panel angled toward the driver and all controls within his or her reach. While simple by today’s standards, the lack of technology overload is comforting, letting the driver focus on the joy of driving.
My favorite interior feature is the individual front seat armrests. I know it’s a totally boring aspect, but being only 5’7″, the center armrests in most cars are usually located too far back to use once I’ve adjusted the driver’s seat. I think they give the front seats a clubby armchair feel too.
But let’s get back to my original point – this car looked great in red! Sporty cars generally do look good in red, and it makes me really disappointed that clear-coat flame red has gone out of taste with most automakers in favor of 17 shades of silver. The same can be said for green, which looks equally fine on this car. If you can even get red on a new car, it’s usually a darker, less exciting shade of red. BMW does currently offer “Melbourne Red metallic”, a brighter shade available on its 3- and 4-Series. Could a Melbourne Red 435i be in my future? Maybe, but I’d go with a ’92 525i any day.