The 1995
540i M-Sport and 540i

In late 1995, just prior to switching to the E39 5-series body style for the 1997 model year (there is no such thing as a U.S. 1996 model year 5-series), BMW pumped one last breath of life into the V8 powered, E34-bodied, 540i for the U.S. market: The 1995 540i Sport.

They did this by using almost all of the parts that went into the European 1995 6-cylinder E34 ///M5, except the engine and transmission. 200 of these 540i Sport models were sold in the U.S. 135 of them had the 6-speed manual transmission and the rest (65) had the automatic.

Also in 1995, 32 cars wearing ///M540i badges were sold in In Canada. These are almost identical to the U.S. 540i M-Sport cars except they had a few more of the cool ///M components, like the larger floating rotors in the front (see the table at the bottom of this page for details). 

There is a great deal of confusion about these special cars. This website is dedicated to clearing up that confusion. Most of this information comes from other BMW literature, BMW enthusiasts, magazine articles, and my own personal 540i Sport. In particular, a great deal of credit goes to David Chen who had (as of 10/22/01 I can't find it anymore) a website documenting the Canadian ///M540i. I plagiarized from many of David's www.bimmer.org postings to create this page.

Variants

1995 European M5.jpg (24352 bytes)

David Chens M540.jpg (28645 bytes)

540i Sport.jpg (37586 bytes)

1995 European ///M5

1995 Canadian ///M540i

1995 US 540i Sport

3.8L, 340hp, 295lb-ft in-line 6 4.0L, 282hp, 295lb-ft V8 4.0L, 282hp, 295lb-ft V8
6-Speed Manual 6-Speed Manual 6-Speed Manual or Auto
Nurburgring & Adaptive-M suspension Nurburgring & Adaptive-M suspension Nurburgring & Adaptive-M suspension
18" M-Parallel Spoke wheels 18" M-Parallel Spoke wheels 17" M Turbine-II wheels
345mm floating front rotors 345mm floating front rotors 315mm front rotors
///M5 badging and sill-plates  ///M540i badging and sill-plates ///M badging and sill-plates
215 Saloons made, 0 imported to US* 32 made, 0 imported to US* 200 made & imported to US
119 Tourings made, 0 imported to the US* Option 0812 (6-Speed) and 0813 (Auto)
* = By BMW

Notes of Interest

  • The U.S. 1995 540i M-Sport and the Canadian ///M540i are not really ///M5s. First of all the 200 540i Sports sold in the U.S. were all manufactured at the "normal" BMW plant at Dingolfing whereas all other ///M cars have been built at the M-Technic factory in Garching. These cars appear to be some of the last E34 cars off the Dingolfing line. The 32 ///M540is sold in Canada were (apparently) "hand-finished" at Garching next to the M5s.
     
  • In BMWNA's early 1995 literature the 540i with a 6-speed manual transmission was referred to as the "Sport model" because it had sport seats and an M-Technic (lowered, firmer) suspension. However, in the 1996 literature (published in late 1995) they refer to the 540i with the 6-speed as the "540i manual". The new limited edition car is called the "540i Sport" or "540i M-Sport" .
     
  • The 540i Sport package was an around $8000 on top of the regular 540i price. It was Option 812 on the 540i and 813 on the 540iA. The original sticker for my 540i Sport, the Sport option is listed as $7,600 (in addition to the $1,500 ASC+T traction control option). 
     
  • Click here to view a copy of the January 1996 BMW web page describing the 540i Sport.
     
  • Vol. 2, No. 3 of the M-Driver newsletter says the 540i Sport was one of the 1995 Exclusive Edition series like the 318ti Club Sport. Their description is quoted below. They said they were going to do a full review of both cars in the next issue, although they apparently never did.

    "The 540i Sport will, for all practical purposes, be a reincarnation of the M5. Powered by the torque-rich four-liter V8 engine, it is available with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic transmission. It also features M5 brakes, the EDC III electronic, cockpit-adjustable sports suspension system, and an M version of Servotronic power steering. This special sedan comes with full M5 bodywork, 17-inch alloy wheels and tires, and sports seats. ASC+T traction control, limited slip differential, heated front seats are optional. BMW will import 200 540i Sport sedans, 135 with stick shift and 65 with automatic transmission."
     

  • Car&Driver, in their February 1996 issue had a story on the 1995 540i Sport. I've got a PDF of the article here.

Table Comparing the ///M540i to the 540i Sport

The table below shows the specs the 1995 540i Manual, the 1995 540i Sport, and the Canadian ///M540i. 

NOTE: I'm still nailing down some of the exact specs for the standard 540i.

  1995 540i Manual (US) 1995 540i Sport (US) 1995 ///M540i (Canadian)
Mechanical Features      
4.0L DOHC V8 engine (282hp@5800rpm) Yes Yes Yes
Brakes 302X28 mm (11") fixed rotors front and 300x20mm fixed rotors back. 315x28mm (12.4") fixed rotors front and 300x20mm fixed rotors back. Racing inspired 4 wheel floating independent disc brakes from the 1995 M5. 345x32mm front floating rotors and 328x20mm rear fixed rotors.
4 channel, 4 sensor ABS braking system Yes Yes Yes
6-speed manual transmission Yes Yes Yes
Front Suspension Standard 540i. The "sport" option included the M-Technic "slightly lowered/firmer" suspension. "Double Pivot" McPherson strut front suspension with anti-dive geometry and ECE M5 calibrations "Double Pivot" McPherson strut front suspension with anti-dive geometry and ECE M5 calibrations
Rear Suspension Standard 540i. The "sport" option included the M-Technic "slightly lowered/firmer" suspension. Track link semi trailing arm rear suspension from ECE M5 with anti-squat geometry Track link semi trailing arm rear suspension from ECE M5 with anti-squat geometry
Steering Standard Power assisted steering with revised rate from ECE M5 Power assisted steering with revised rate from ECE M5
Self-leveling Rear Suspension No Self-leveling rear suspension Self-leveling rear suspension
Adaptive M suspension (EDC) No Adaptive M suspension with comfort and sport programs (EDCIII+) Adaptive M suspension with comfort and sport programs (EDCIII+)
Speed limiter 129 mph top speed limiter 155 mph top speed limiter 250 km/h top speed limiter
       
Safety Features      
Airbags Dual Airbag SRS system with selective deployment Dual Airbag SRS system with selective deployment Dual Airbag SRS system with selective deployment
Automatic front seatbelt height adjustment Yes Yes Yes
Collapsible tube crash technology (front and rear) Yes Yes Yes
F.I.R.S.T. (Fully Integrated Road Safety Technology) Yes Yes Yes
Front and rear programmed crush zones Yes Yes Yes
Side Impact Protection (meets 1997 NHTSA Regulations) Yes Yes Yes
       
Exterior Features      
Tires 15" standard tires 235/45 ZR17 Performance Tires 245/40 ZR18 Performance tires
Wheels 15" cast alloy wheels 17" M5/850 CSi Forged Alloy two piece Turbine II Wheels 8J x 17 front, 8J x 17 rear Forged alloy wheels, M Double Spoke style, 8J x 18 front, 9J x 18 rear
Body adornments None M5 style aerodynamic body package without contrasting strip M5 style aerodynamic body package without contrasting strip
Ellipsoid headlights No No Yes
Mirrors Standard square mirrors Aerodynamic M Exterior mirrors painted in body color Aerodynamic M Exterior mirrors painted in body color
Fog Lights Ellipsoid Fog lights Ellipsoid Fog lights Ellipsoid Fog lights
Green tinted windshield and side glass Yes Yes Yes
Headlight and foglight cleaning system No No Yes
Heated external mirrors No No Yes
Heated windshield washer jets Yes Yes Yes
Locking fuel filler cap Yes Yes Yes
Colors Standard US colors Non-Metallic Colors:Alpine White, Bright Red 
Metallic Colors:Cosmos Black, Arctic Silver, Oxford Green
European M5 colour choice
Window trim Shadowline optional Shadowline optional Shadowline standard
       
Interior Features      
Seats 12 way power front sports seats with 3 position memory (optional) 12 way power front sports seats with 3 position memory 12 way power front sports seats with 3 position memory
Adjustable front and rear headrests Yes Yes Yes
Headliner Standard Standard Anthracite headliner
BMW alarm with RF remote Yes Yes Yes
BMW Premium sound system with 10 speakers Yes Yes Yes
BMW telephone prewiring Yes Yes Yes
CD changer prewiring Yes Yes Yes
Central locking system with alarm Yes Central locking system with double locking feature and vehicle immobilizer Central locking system with double locking feature and vehicle immobilizer
Cruise Control Yes Yes Yes
Dual Airconditioning with microfilter Yes Yes Yes
Auxiliary ventilation system Yes Yes Yes
Dual illuminated vanity mirrors Yes Yes Yes
Electric sunroof with one-touch feature Yes Yes Yes
Electric telescoping steering column Yes Yes Yes
Electro-Chromic self-dipping rear view mirror No No Yes
Seating surfaces Standard leather "Montana" Lleather (Black, Silvergray, Light Silvergray, Parchment) BMW M-Cloth/Amaretta
Interior trim High Gloss Burl Walnut High Gloss Burl Walnut Carbon fibre trim replacing walnut trim
Lockable, illuminated glove compartment with flashlight Yes Yes Yes
Gear shift knob Standard Illuminated BMW M gear shift knob Illuminated BMW M gear shift knob
Steering wheel Standard BMW M style SRS steering wheel BMW M style SRS steering wheel
Door sills Standard BMW M door sill plates BMW M door sill plates
On board computer (OBC IV) with auxiliary ventilation system Yes Yes Yes
Windows Standard Power windows (front and rear) with toll function (down for all doors, up for driver's door) Power windows (front and rear) with toll function (down for all doors, up for driver's door)
Rear screen antenna with Diversity circuit Yes Yes Yes
Seat heating Front (option) Front (option) Front and rear
Ski bag with rear centre armrest Optional Optional Yes