BMW E34 M5 Convertible - Click above image for high-res gallery
Amongst M Division cognoscenti there rages an eternal debate concerning what's the best ever BMW M car. To the casual Bavarian-enthusiast the answer is quite simple: E39 M5. However, strong cases can be made for both the E30 M3 and the OG E28 M5, which featured the M1's race-bred 3.5-liter straight-six. In fact, there's a whole subculture of folks that feel a car's not really a BMW (let alone an M) without an inline-six. With that said, the E34 M5 is a pretty compelling candidate for best ever M car, as is the M1. Oddly, no one ever advocates in favor of the E60 M5. Moving on...
Think about it now -- the E34 M5 is the last of the totally hand built M cars. Sometimes one worker made an entire car, though usually the cars were built by specific teams. In fact, BMW test engineers could tell which person (or people) had built each individual car. That's pretty nifty. Only thing is, all those doors. And that roof! Who needs it? Sadly, it was only with the introduction of the E63 M6 that the big M cars got back to just two doors and a drop top. Or was it?
Turns out that back in the late '80s BMW built a convertible E34 M5 and they've kept it under lock and key for the past 20 years until showing it to a select group of journalists during a 25 years of M5 celebration. Based of the E34 chassis, the convertible version featured lengthened doors and was actually all set to go into production.
But then, just one week before its introduction at Geneva (they'd booked space for the car and everything), BMW pulled the plug and canceled the M5 convertible, fearing demand for non-M5 convertibles would cut into the highly profitable 3 Series convertible sales. Too bad, as this thing looks sweet. Also, if BMW pulls the long-rumored-though-(maybe)-never-built M8 out from some dark corner of the storage bin, well, we'll be pretty upset. Yet thrilled at the same time.