SOTW: BMW 525iX
Shed goes all-wheel drive this week in a quest for a lesser-spotted BMW
Take Jaguar's recent announcement that it is launching AWD versions of its three-litre petrol XF and XJ. When we got Jaguar to admit they wouldn't be sold in the UK, Shed immediately rummaged around in the classifieds to find an all-wheel-drive saloon that COULD be bought in the UK, and for under £1,000 too.
HowManyLeft.com, 119 still survive.
This wasn't really the press-on machine the similarly engineered 325iX was, even with 192hp versus the 168hp in the 3 Series. The extra 90kg blunted the acceleration to 9.6 seconds 0-62mph instead of 8.6secs in the standard rear-wheel drive car, but the technology was pretty impressive.
Torque was distributed 63 per cent rear and 37 per cent to the front, a ratio arrived at by BMW based on the weight distribution under acceleration. The viscous coupling in the middle was joined by a viscous coupling at the back that was locked electronically.
Information on how this worked is hard to source, with one web expert reckoning that post-1993 cars (putting this 1993 example on the bubble) switched to a traction control system, heralding an open rear diff.
This one has 121,000 on the clock, and is about as nice as you'd expect a £400 car would look (a rather nicer estate is here). Chief among its good points is an MoT and a manual gearbox. But of far greater appeal is the six-cylinder shove, a unfamiliar surefootedness in the snow and the rarity value of all-wheel drive on a brand that, until later this year when the 3 Series is handed Xdrive capability, has mostly shunned four-wheel control for its saloons and estates. at least for the UK.
Advert is reproduced below.
1993 BMW 525 IX SE 5 SERIES SILVER
ONLY 283 RIGHT HAND DRIVE MODELS EVER MADE (AS TO MY KNOWLEDGE)
ONLY 121,000 MILES DRIVES AS NEW
MOT TILL DECEMBER 2012
OVERALL IN GOOD CONDITION
GREY TRIM ON SEATS
AIR CON, JUST A REFILL OF GAS NEEDED
CLASSIC CAR INSURANCE (VERY REASONABLE)
PLEASE VIEW BEFORE BIDDING TO APPRECIATE THIS WONDERFUL RARE CAR
INSTANT CLASSIC CAR STATUS AND INSURANCE
TIRES ARE IN EXCELLENT CONDITION, SPARE TIRE AVAILABLE, AND IS ALSO NEW AND ORIGINAL
AS SHOWN IN THE PICTURES, THERE A FEW SCRATCH MARKS ON THE PASSENGER DOOR (LEFT HAND SIDE), AND SOME RUST ON THE BOOT
THE REAR ELECTRIC WINDOW MOTORS SOMETIMES MALFUNCTION, AS IT HASN'T BEEN USED MUCH FOR THE LAST YEAR
ALL PREVIOUS MOT'S AVAILABLE FROM THE LAST 10 YEARS TO PROVE THE GENUINE MILEAGE.
SINCE IT WAS PURCHASED 7 YEARS AGO, I HAVE DROVE ONLY 12000 MILES. THIS YEAR, ONLY 50 MILES WERE DRIVEN, THIS IS WHY I AM SELLING THE CAR, AS I HAVE 2 OTHER CARS AT HOME.
OVERALL, IT IS A VERY LOVELY, AND POWERFUL, CAR,
In any event it'd make a nice ride for somewhere between Ã‚Â£4-800, leaving enough in the budget for a PH sticker to counter the paint job.
I bought that for £400, also...
Check *everything* is in good, working condition...especially the 4wd parts as they are extortionately expensive if anything is required...
The whole front subframe, suspension, steering (it has a rack as opposed to the box of every other E34), wheels, diffs, sump are all different to standard E34 bits...
The good news is the engine (other than the sump) and gearbox are standard M50 parts.
The transfer box only takes 0.5lt of oil and can easily run dry if there is even a tiny leak...worth a regular change and top-up as the transfer box is hard to find s/h and costs over £1500 new! Front diff is also expensive, but fortunately takes a bigger quantity of oil...
CV joints and gaitors often need replacement.
Rear diff is a viscous job with the accumulator being driven off the back of the power steering pump...
If it has SLS rear suspension (all the Tourings had this) it is the same as on the M5 saloons, make sure the accumulator spheres, struts and fluid lines are not leaking or corroded...Also driven off the power steering pump.
They are a bit slow compared to a standard E34 525i as the 4wd system robs the power and the car is a fair bit heavier than the equivalent 2wd version...Autos are even worse!
Fuel economy also suffers...you would be lucky to see more than 26-27mpg even if driven carefully.
An interesting car that is ideal for slippery snow-covered roads and handles very well, in general...but expensive to run...Think BMW 'M' car expensive...
Great cars. I've been thinking about these all week as there are two on eBay.
Thinking mans Subaru Legacy or an alternative Audi Quatro if you want a four wheel drive saloon or estate without looking like a pillock.