E34 M5 values certainly haven't skyrocketed like the E30 M3.
When browsing the internet for old BMW M cars, it's not uncommon to see numbers that would make a wallet cry. Case in point: we recently spotted an E30 M3 Evo that was commanding a $140,000 price tag. There are some M cars that are surprisingly affordable right now, but most of the "truly classic" M cars are astronomically expensive. M division models like the M1, E30 M3, and E28 M5 were all hand-built, low-production models that are considered classics by today's standards. Now that M cars are built by machines, these old models are desirable.
The E30 M3 is now way beyond most people's budgets. However, there is one hand-built M Division car that hasn't reached the peak of the appreciation mountain, the E34 M5. Many people forget about the E34 generation because it was not the original M5, nor was it the legendary E39 M5 that has now become an automotive benchmark for over a decade. Still, this under-appreciated M5 has some amazing features that make it special. For starters, it was the last hand-built M car, and had the same basic engine found in the M1 supercar. The US model received a 3.6-liter S38 inline-six with 310 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque.
Don't expect one of these cars to be a maintenance-free experience, but used prices are very reasonable. We found a Brilliant Red 1991 example for sale for just $10,000. The car is located in Massachusetts, and the owner has listed the car on the M5board forum. The owner has done a valiant job of listing the many items that have been replaced on the car, which are too many to discuss here. No one would expect an old M car of this age to not have some wear-and-tear, but the car has also traveled an impressive 215,000 miles. It's amazing to think that a hand-built car has lasted for so long, but the body seems to be in good shape with original paint that's starting to fade slightly. Thankfully, there is no rust.
If there is a better value M car on the market, we haven't found it. We aren't sure why the market for the E34 M5 is still so low, but it's only a matter of time before it follows the way of other M cars. The E39 may be one of the greatest sport sedans ever built, but the E34 is even more driver-focused and may be the better value right now.