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.
If you are an owner of one of these special cars, please ensure your car is added to the Official BMW E34 M-Sport Registry by joining the Facebook Group
Frequently Asked Questions
Registry and Discussions
- The Official BMW E34 M-Sport Registry and Facebook discussion group (open to current owners only)
- The 1995 BMW 540i M-Sport Discussion Group on Yahoo!
Documents and Articles from Around 1995
- BMW MSRP info
- BMW 540i Sport press release from 1995
- A Copy of the January 1996 BMW web page describing the 540i Sport
- Fast Fives: From the February 1996 issue of Car &Driver
- Article from 1996 Roundel on the ‘95 540i M-Sport
- BMW Brochure for the ‘95 540i M-Sport
- Big Brake Upgrade instructions
- The Definitive Guide
- Is it a REAL M-Sport?
- Build Details of the 135 (or 138?) 6-speeds
1995+ E34 ///M Variants
|M5||Canadian M540i||540i M-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||Tourings||0 Tourings|
- = 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.
There is some debate around the total number of M-Sports made. Apparently there were 5 pre-production cars built and it’s not clear whether these are counted in the 200 number or not.
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).
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.
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.
|1995 540i Manual (US)||1995 540i Sport (US)||1995 ///M540i (Canadian)|
|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 30 0x20mm 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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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" Leather (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|