SOTW: BMW 520i Touring

Shed is occasionally accused of being a bit too prone to picking out German barges - particularly BMWs - as Shed of the Week.

But while it is true that Shed does harbour a fondness for Teutonic luxury, he has been trying to sow the SOTW seed a little further afield in recent weeks and months.

Today, though, Shed has fallen off the wagon, having spotted a big ol' BMW that's just far too good to miss.

Hence the return of the blue-and-white roundel to the pages of SOTW.

This time it's on the bonnet of an E34 520i Touring. Now, If you need a cavernous load capacity - whether it's to cart around antique wardrobes or a car-load of kids - but you still want to have a bit of fun when the chance arises, there can be few better load luggers than a 5-series estate.

And when the chance comes along of grabbing one in fairly reasonable nick for just £725, you can probably see why Shed has got its underwear in a twist over it.

This particular E34 isn’t the perfect performance spec, however: its 2.0-litre straight six pumps out a relatively lowly 150bhp, and that’s mated to a less-than-ideal automatic gearbox.

You’ll also have to put up with a cloth interior, although from the front-seat pictures the upholstery does look to be in fine fettle and, for 725 quid it seems almost churlish to moan about the absence of a bit of cow skin.

There are other niggles, too. The lacquer is peeling on the bonnet and one of the front wings (bearing in mind that this is finished in the rare but wonderfully named Hell Red it might be difficult to find a replacement bonnet to solve that problem), while the car has covered a not insignificant 175,000 miles.

Most worryingly, it has no history, but for under three quarters of a ‘bag of sand’ we might be willing to take a punt. At this age, condition is often more important than history, and the fact that the seller’s advert is so comprehensive does put our minds at ease somewhat.

In fact, if I didn’t already have a 15-year-old BMW estate lurking in the office car park this would be a very tempting addition to the Riggers fleet…

Advert is reproduced below.

BMW 520i 24v Touring - Long MOT & Tax, Rare Colour, Facelift (1994)

1994 'M' Registration
Facelift Model with Wider Grill
MOT until end April 2011
Taxed end March 2011
Hell Red - Rare Colour in a Touring
Anthracite Cloth Interior
Genuine 15" BMW BBS Cross Spoke Alloys

Electric Windows x 4
Electric Heated Door Mirrors
Twin Electric Sunroof Model
Opening Rear Glass Window (on Tail Gate)
Walnut Burr Trim
Switchable Sports Auto
Power Steering

The straight six, 24 valve Vanos unit is one of the best engines that BMW have made. These engines are bullet-proof, and if maintained correctly (like this one has been) they will go on forever.

1991 cc
6 Cylinder
24 Valve
150 BHP
M50 engine
32+ mpg

The mileage is 175k, which is average for the year of manufacture. The car is mechanically sound.

The car pulls very strong in all gears, and gets an extra 'kick' in acceleration after 4000 RPM (when the Vanos kicks in).

Starts on the button, with no knocks, bangs, leaks or untoward noises. Never overheats, and revs freely though the rev range. Gearbox is good, and gear changes are smooth and effortless.

Just been on a 250 mile round-trip, with no issue whatsoever. When driving sensibly, the car still returns a genuine 32+ MPG.

The exterior of this car is finished in the rare BMW Hell Red. For those of you that are well-acquainted with your 'E' numbers, this was a limited colour, which appeared briefly on the E34 saloons. Not many E34 Tourers were made in this colour.

Gives the Tourer a nice edge, and is different to the usual Fjord Grey, Oxford Green, Silver, etc, examples that they often appear in.

There are no major bumps or scuffs, no rust or rot. A couple of areas where the paint has gone a little flat (it is red and 16 years old!), and the usual stone ships / blemishes consistent with age and mileage. Lacquer has peeled on the bonnet, and on the OSF wing. Nothing major, however.

The car cleans up well, and is very presentable, as can be seen in the photos. The wider grill of the facelift model gives it a more menacing stance.

The exterior is perfectly complemented by the grey cloth interior. This is in excellent order for year and mileage. No rips or tears, and the back seats look like they have never been sat in!

Typically with an E34, everything feels tight and solid. All instruments, including windows, mirrors, lights, etc all operate they way they should. The heater blows out nice, hot air. Rear Wash / Wiper works, and the rear glass window opens up from the tail gate. This is a rarity, as most of these have stopped working by now. Twin sunroof can be temperamental. Also, new tailgatge struts are needed (cheap on eBay).

The cabin of an E34 is a nice place to be - you can happily do a 3 hour journey, and get to the other end feeling fresh and relaxed. I have had several E34 Tourers, and this one feels as good as the better examples I have had.There is no history on the car, and we are still awaiting delivery of the Logbook from the DVLA. A full receipt will be given in the interim.

A reliable, safe, solid, smooth, clean and very spacious German estate car.
Looks better than most other estate cars of it's era. In fact, looks better than a lot of modern-day estates!

Good performance - and surprisingly good on fuel. Will happily cruise at 70mph on a motorway, do 30 mph around town doing the shopping, but can entertain if needed, on the B-roads!

An excellent Load Lugger - boot space is huge, and the car is extrememly practical.

Selling on behalf of a friend. He has not had the car long, however, he has to sell as he has been offered a VW Camper at a price too good to refuse.

Priced very reasonably for a quick sale - so no timewasters, scammers or dreamers. It is cheap as it is, so I will not give it away - you all know how much these are worth, and this one, in a rare colour with lower-than-average miles, represents a true bargain. Car is located in Northamptonshire.


P.H. O'meter

Join the PH rating wars with your marks out of 10 for the article (Your ratings will be shown in your profile if you have one!)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Rate this article

Comments (119) Join the discussion on the forum

  • DarkBlakk 10 Dec 2010

    Nice wink

    Always thought that the e34 estates looked great! And that colour somehow works. It's a pity that you don't seem to see many bold colours on new cars.

    Edited by DarkBlakk on Saturday 11th December 04:30

  • mibman2003 10 Dec 2010


  • Frimley111R 10 Dec 2010

    Hell red????

    Amazing amount of car fo £725!

    Edited by Frimley111R on Friday 10th December 10:06

  • V8 TEJ 10 Dec 2010

    Not much to get excited about though....

    Does what it says on the tin I suppose so a good workhorse for someone needing the space it offers.

    And it only does 30 MPH round town, speed limiter fitted that works with GPS?tongue out

  • ninos 10 Dec 2010

    Nice shed, good for the money. Stick on a nice set of Alpina rims and it's not a bad looking barge.

View all comments in the forums Make a comment