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The BMW E34 M5 Touring makes you pay for exclusivity

The BMW E34 M5 Touring is a wagon that's quite rare, especially in the US. Can an Aston Martin Rapide pry your eyes from it?

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As much as I love the original NSX, it seems you all agree with me – 71% say skip both versions and get a Ferrari for the price. This week, it’s a pair of cars that were never meant to be the shape they morphed into: A BMW E34 M5 Touring all the way from Europe, and an Aston Martin Rapide.

I bet you just thought to yourself “No way, that Aston will be twice the price”. Yea? Buckle up.

The 1992 BMW E34 M5 Touring vs the 2011 Aston Martin Rapide

See the M5 listing here

See the Aston Rapide listing here

How do I build an article for Talk Me Out Of It? Simple – I go shopping online. Right away – boom – the BMW E34 M5 Touring wagon was found. It’s an imported vehicle that was never sold here (because wagon), and it’s bound to get you stares at the local CCA meet.

“Oh moy Gawd, is dat a M5 WAGON?!”

Ah, but what to pick to face off against such a unicorn? Must be rare, exclusive, and around the same price. I must admit, when I clicked on the Rapide, I did not expect to find them going for…

Ready?

$28,000. What?!

At this point, you may be asking what they have in common, and the answer is mechanically nothing. But philosophically, both of these cars are trapped in bodies they don’t belong in. Let’s find out why.

The 1992 BMW E34 M5 Touring

bmw-m5
Imported from Norway. Photo: Cars & Bids

I’ve driven a few E45 M5s, and although they are good cars, the E39 that came directly after overshadows it with good reason.

But there was no E39 M5 Wagon (aside from a prototype buried in the bowels of Germany), and regardless, BMW never saw fit to bring one over here anyway. However, the car is legal to import, and enthusiasts are starting to now. This one has:

  • 141,100 miles
  • Bid to $12,500 so far, and they go beyond $50,000
  • Tasty Diamond Black Metallic over blue leather. It works.
  • Five-speed manual
  • The E34 M5 Touring is the last hand-built BMW M model, and also the M Division’s first wagon. Imagine them hand-building a G80 today…
  • A 3.8-liter inline-six. America got a wimpy 3.6.
  • A few mods, including the blue leather, but probably nothing you weren’t going to do anyway. Well, maybe the blue leather.
  • Clean title
E34 M5
Maybe the sedan looked better.

Now, some comments suggest difficulty registering this thing in California, and the seller notes some rust on the underbody. But my issue is the potential price – these aren’t cheap. Like the NSX, it won’t provide a driving experience commensurate to its price.

The sedan was always going to be a popular choice, making this car a really funky one-off. Can we find something else like it?

2011 Aston Martin Rapide

aston-rapide
Four doors on an Aston? Photo: Cars & Bids

Originally built by the same people who make the G Wagon for Mercedes and the Z4 for BMW, the Aston Rapide was not what you might call a big seller. Like the E34 Touring, it looks a little weird. Astons were meant to be coupes. But weird can be good, right?

  • 61,300 miles
  • Bid to $25,500 so far. A similar one just sold for less than $30,000.
  • Six-speed automatic
  • V-12! 470 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque.
  • Love this…”Lightning Silver” over “Chancellor Red”. So regal.
  • Some minor scrapes and such, but nothing bad for a 12-year old car
  • A red flag is the seven previous owners.
rapide-interior
Is weird inside. Photo: Cars & Bids

Why are these so cheap? Well, they look a bit odd. Despite its size, they only seat four. And then there’s the Porsche Panamera. It’s not nearly as nice looking, but it’s a Porsche. I can tell you, they drive better.

Still, I would have never guessed the price. Even $50k seemed more likely. V-12, after all. Those are mostly dead now.

They made the Rapide for a nearly decade too, so the car’s unpopularity isn’t for lack of trying.

So, what will it be? The 32-year-old wagon, or the 12-year-old Aston?

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