The Perfect Sedan: 1995 BMW 540i 6-Speed Manual

*UPDATE: The seller lowered the price to $7,295 then listed the vehicle as sold*

I want this car.

The E34 chassis BMW 5-series from 1988-1995 is one of my favorite BMW cars of all time.

They are the ultimate expression of BMW and represent everything the brand was going for in the late 20th century period before the new millennium.

The tekno-mekanical styling is still something to behold, classy but rugged, sophisticated yet old world. You can thank little-known Italian Ercole Spada for that. Why he never became a household name like Brunco Sacco or Giugiaro escapes me. His designs for the E32 and E34 were iconic to say the least.

Not only are these things great looking, they were always blessed with strong engines, coupled with rear-wheel drive.

Whereas Mercedes boasted they were "Engineered Like No Other Car", BMW claimed their cars as "The Ultimate Driving Machines". The E34 only enhanced their argument.

This is a 540i, which has the huge, torquey 4.0-litre 8-cylinder engine producing around 280 horsepower. On top of that, it has an ultra rare 6-speed manual transmission, offered only one year, 1995. Only 3,203 540i cars had the manual, and only 1,524 were officially imported to North America.

The seller says this car is loaded with  M-Technic sport suspension, bolstered leather sport seats, sunroof, all season traction control and heated front seats. They say it also has a new clutch, built-in K40 radar detector and retains its original radio and honeycomb wheels. What a list of goodies. So many second-hand BMW cars are trashed and thrashed, so finding a pristine one like this that seems to have had at least one mature adult owner is exciting.

It looks beautiful in jet black over parchment.

The mileage in one of the pictures reads 122,669. That's a lot by any standard, but not too much for a '95 that was driven regularly. These V8 engines had a problem with Nikisil that lined the cylinders, but were covered by an extra warranty from BMW. If this one make it to 122k, chances are it was fixed or will never have the issue.

So this car could be good for another 100k before a rebuild.

The seller is asking $7,595, which is a lot given the age, but can easily be justified. The car looks terrific, the manual was produced in low numbers, and it's probably one of the highest quality, fastest and most comfortable sedans out there.

Find it here on craigslist in Braintree, MA.

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