Login | Register
SearchMy Stuff
My ProfileMy PreferencesMy Mates RSS Feed
Friday 24th August 2012

SOTW: BMW 525iX

Shed goes all-wheel drive this week in a quest for a lesser-spotted BMW



You might think Shed is stuck in the past, but you'd be wrong. Shed is borderline obsessive when it comes to keeping up with the latest automotive developments, if purely to prove that for every fancy newcomer, there's an equivalent banger bargain.

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.

4WD Beemer saloon a rare sight
4WD Beemer saloon a rare sight
And here it is, on eBay in the end: the BMW E34 525iX. Yours for just £400, including MoT running to December. At least, that's £400 at the moment; Shed doesn't normally include auction cars, but we thought for this week we'd make an exception and, frankly, if it goes for much more than a grand you'd be surprised. At some point between its 1991 and 1996 lifespan, a paltry 283 (so our seller informs us) of these arrived in the UK in right-hand-drive form, offering executive buyers extra confidence in the form of a second set of drive shafts. According to 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.

Bodywork looks tidy in this shot...
Bodywork looks tidy in this shot...
Another says that rear LSD was an option. You might want to put the car on rollers to ensure any of this still worked as it should, but the Ferguson system is meant to be reliable. What is sure is that while it's very similar to the 325iX, enough of it is bespoke to ensure it's very hard to get parts for. The wheels are unique to the X, and would clash with the suspension struts on a regular car.

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

GOOD POINTS

ONLY 283 RIGHT HAND DRIVE MODELS EVER MADE (AS TO MY KNOWLEDGE)
ONLY 121,000 MILES DRIVES AS NEW
MOT TILL DECEMBER 2012
TAX EXPIRED
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

NEGATIVE

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

GENERAL

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,

NickGibbs
2 3 4 5
Reply to Topic
Author Discussion

Johnboy Mac

Original Poster:

2,666 posts

62 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
I like but I'm biased. Great shed.

Luca Brasi

837 posts

58 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
Ha E34s, my first love.

Eddh

4,314 posts

76 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
Proper shed! Top work!

Butter Face

8,407 posts

44 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
Adverts in CAPS REALLY PUT YOU OFF LOOKING ANY FURTHER AT THE CAR.

George7

957 posts

34 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
Good shed for our obligatory week of snow. I do like E34s though.
Advertisement

Shaw Tarse

22,439 posts

87 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
I do like that, would be tempted if I had the money spare.

wildatheart

100 posts

63 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
I'd go for the estate. Even if it does only have 141hp..?

hothatches

29 posts

31 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
Intriguing isn't it? A worthy SoW that fulfils all the requirements....and yet I feel strangely uninspired by it for some reason. Probably just need to get past the sea of boring silvery-ness.

In any event it'd make a nice ride for somewhere between £4-800, leaving enough in the budget for a PH sticker to counter the paint job.

RobCrezz

7,853 posts

92 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
Thats pretty cool. Would be a brilliant winter shed.

billywhizzzzzz

603 posts

27 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
wildatheart said:
I'd go for the estate. Even if it does only have 141hp..?
and no mot in the estate on the link

excel monkey

2,822 posts

111 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
Nice shed. How durable is the 4WD system on these cars?

Aircon "just needs a regas" - that old chestnut!

Stewart-83

250 posts

107 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
I remember back in the day my Dad looking to buy at a dark metallic red 525ix tourer. It was a lovely car!

doogz

22,960 posts

71 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
What's it like getting parts for these?

Is the suspension similar to the 2WD models, or are there bespoke bits here and there? What about front driveshafts? Hard to come by?

fushion julz

375 posts

57 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
I used to have a manual 525iX Touring (estate) version...

I bought that for £400, also...

My comments:
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...


E38Ross

14,643 posts

96 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
wildatheart said:
I'd go for the estate. Even if it does only have 141hp..?
141? The 525i has 192bhp.

cptsideways

10,638 posts

136 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
I was sure these were available in RHD, now confirmed & argument settled biggrin


Awesome winter shed, perfect winter hoon mobile

Liquid Knight

12,029 posts

67 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
excel monkey said:
Aircon "just needs a regas" - that old chestnut!
Aircon pump needs replacing with an Eaton M60 would be more like it. wink

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. thumbup

richb77

835 posts

45 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
Mmmmm.

I think i'll pass on this one. Not my cup of tea.

Small Car

687 posts

83 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
Still has what appears to be the supplying dealer sticker in the rear window, Lloyds Motors! I think in north Lancs? Sign it's been with the same owner for a while? That has to be positive?

monthefish

17,759 posts

115 months

[news] 
Friday 24th August 2012 quote quote all
"Let's offroad"


2 3 4 5
Reply to Topic