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Thoughts on BMW E34 as first car?


Abey92
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Hey guys,

So I was considering my options for a first car within a budget of 2 mil, and the options are pretty bleak to say the least! After scrolling through countless pages of the usual choices of Indian hatchback (yawn), the one car that really seemed to tick every box (for me at least) was the BMW E34; solid, potent, conservative yet purposeful looking, and most of all, has character and presence

Now while I understand these things are not cheap to maintain, not easy to find spares for, and are not particularly economical or easy to resell, is it really as bad as they say? Everyone warns me I am walking into a world of pain, and if I was smart I would get a Maruti or at least a Jap (or even work a bit harder and get myself a hybrid, oh yeah B) )

I'm mainly looking at a 520i with a newer M50 motor (of which i haven't seen that many on sale), but wouldn't even mind a well-maintained M20

I've been a frequent reader of Autolanka forums over the years and have seen some really helpful advice provided to newbies, so I thought it's time I put forward my dilemma to the experts for help

Any advice?

Edited by Abey92
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Cool choice of car if you're prepared to spend,..Look for a 6 cyl 520 or 525i manual.. .I'd go for upated 90's model with the newer engine.

Good luck finding one !:)

+ You'll need the services of a speciaist mech/garage o maintain your pride and joy.

Your budget will have to purchase,repair,upgrade and insure your ride.

Edited by Twin Turbo
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Much of the usual sri Lankan wisdom is just plain wrong when it comes to most euro cars and the E34 even more so! It is widely considered to be the most solid BMW ever made and has a superb reputation for reliability if taken care of. Plenty of specialists are around now and tons of info on the web. AL members Bugatti and VVti even have a workshop now that specializes in older BMs so expertise is widely available. Parts availability is also not an issue. The important thing is to pick an unmolested car.

Send a message to member esdeez, he's owned 3 E34s and can write a book about them. 

In short - pick the right example and you'll be fine.

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Thanks guys. I'm not having a lot of luck finding one in decent condition though! I might consider something else too if its a bit special or rare (E30 coupe or E36 coupe maybe? :D) But yeah I'll be keeping a closer eye out for an E34 in good nick from now on, definitely has be a 6 cyl 520i at least

I will check with the AL gurus mentioned above as well

Thanks!

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On 2/2/2017 at 10:37 AM, Abey92 said:

Hey guys,

So I was considering my options for a first car within a budget of 2 mil, and the options are pretty bleak to say the least! After scrolling through countless pages of the usual choices of Indian hatchback (yawn), the one car that really seemed to tick every box (for me at least) was the BMW E34; solid, potent, conservative yet purposeful looking, and most of all, has character and presence

Now while I understand these things are not cheap to maintain, not easy to find spares for, and are not particularly economical or easy to resell, is it really as bad as they say? Everyone warns me I am walking into a world of pain, and if I was smart I would get a Maruti or at least a Jap (or even work a bit harder and get myself a hybrid, oh yeah B) )

I'm mainly looking at a 520i with a newer M50 motor (of which i haven't seen that many on sale), but wouldn't even mind a well-maintained M20

I've been a frequent reader of Autolanka forums over the years and have seen some really helpful advice provided to newbies, so I thought it's time I put forward my dilemma to the experts for help

Any advice?

I am sorry burst your bubble. But it is indeed as bad as they say. Though I admit E34 is a hell of a car and do nicely in photo shoots, it will be a burden to your pocket if you want to maintain it in the pristine condition. AFAIK you are not seems to be that guy who can throw money at will for expensive stuff. So my advice is that you should keep to more reliable Jap model rather than chasing after collector's items. 

Edited by BuBi
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On 2/4/2017 at 10:49 AM, BuBi said:

I am sorry burst your bubble. But it is indeed as bad as they say. Though I admit E34 is a hell of a car and do nicely in photo shoots, it will be a burden to your pocket if you want to maintain it in the pristine condition. AFAIK you are not seems to be that guy who can throw money at will for expensive stuff. So my advice is that you should keep to more reliable Jap model rather than chasing after collector's items. 

Have you owned one? 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 2/4/2017 at 10:49 AM, BuBi said:

I am sorry burst your bubble. But it is indeed as bad as they say. Though I admit E34 is a hell of a car and do nicely in photo shoots, it will be a burden to your pocket if you want to maintain it in the pristine condition. AFAIK you are not seems to be that guy who can throw money at will for expensive stuff. So my advice is that you should keep to more reliable Jap model rather than chasing after collector's items. 

You have no idea what you are talking about.

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On 2/4/2017 at 9:59 AM, Abey92 said:

Thanks guys. I'm not having a lot of luck finding one in decent condition though! I might consider something else too if its a bit special or rare (E30 coupe or E36 coupe maybe? :D) But yeah I'll be keeping a closer eye out for an E34 in good nick from now on, definitely has be a 6 cyl 520i at least

I will check with the AL gurus mentioned above as well

Thanks!

Most of the good cars don't even get advertised as they change hands within the BMW enthusiast circle. Get in touch with the members mentioned before, be a bit patient and they will hook you up. E30 2 doors do not exist in Sri Lanka unfortunately and E36s Coupes are also super rare with only 4 or 5 examples in total. If one comes up for sale a price premium is very likely. Therefore you're better off with the saloons. Even a decent E36 4 door will suit you quite well I feel and there seem to be a few about at the moment.

Edited by Supra_Natural
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Not sure if Bubi is speaking from personal experience. nevertheless he could be correct to a certain extent. he may have had the misfortune of landing a lemon which can easily rack up a hefty repair bill. However, I do not believe that's the case in general.

E34s in good shape are pretty hard to come by and the owners tend to hold on to the good ones. E36s as Supra mentioned would be easier to hunt down for a good example. I would pass on a piece of advice that was given to me when I was buying a car; "Don't buy a BMW because it's cheap" because whatever you save will come back and bite you in the rear. Instead, be patient and try to find one that is in good condition, even if it is at a slight premium.

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