E34 M540i
  History
Production Data
Drivetrain
Chassis
Cosmetics
Special Versions
Colors and Upholstery
   
 
Production Versions
Canadian-specification (LHD), 04/1995 through 07/1995
   
History
What makes the M540i unique?
The E34 M540i is a special 5 Series model produced in 1995 by BMW Individual exclusively for the Canadian market. In essence, this model mates the standard four-liter M60 V8 engine and Getrag six-speed manual gearbox of the 540i with the M-designed chassis and cosmetic enhancements of the final European-spec E34 M5.
Where was the M540i introduced?
The M540i premiered at the 1995 Toronto auto show.
Why was the M540i created?
BMW Canada came up with the idea of the M540i as a way to offer customers a true successor to the E34 M5, which had been discontinued during 1993 (though it continued to be produced for the European market until July of 1995). The basis for the M540i was the 540i six-speed, a model that was already certified for sale in Canada and produced similar power figures to the M5. By adding all the chassis and cosmetic enhancements from the 1995 European-spec M5 but without altering the drivetrain, BMW Canada could offer a model with a comparable appearance and performance to the M5, but without the prohibitive cost of additional emissions and safety certification.
How was the M540i produced?
To create the M540i, BMW M pulled semi-completed examples of the North American-spec 540i six-speed from the Dingolfing assembly line. These cars were then taken to the BMW M works in Garching where they were fitted with the M chassis components and cosmetics.
Production Data
How many examples of the M540i were produced?
BMW Individual built 32 examples of the M540i between April and July of 1995.
Does the M540i have a unique VIN sequence?
No. The M540i is technically considered a North American-spec 540i six-speed. Therefore, all 32 examples have chassis numbers within that model's normal sequence.
Drivetrain
What kind of engine powers the M540i?
The M540i is powered by the standard 3982cc M60 V8 used in all E34 540i, E32 740i/740iL and early E31 840Ci models. It has an aluminum block and head with four valves per cylinder. Power is rated at 282 hp (SAE) at 5,800 rpm and 295 lb/ft of torque at 4,500 rpm.
What kind of gearbox does the M540i have?
The M540i utilizes a Getrag Type D six-speed manual gearbox with the following ratios: 4.23 (1), 2.51 (2), 1.67 (3), 1.23 (4), 1.00 (5), .83 (6). This is mated to a 2.93:1 axle ratio and a limited slip differential, except on those examples equipped with the optional ASC+T tracrtion control system, which have an open differential.
Chassis
How is the M540i's chassis different from that of a normal 540i?
The suspension of the M540i is identical to the standard "Nurburgring" chassis of the European-spec E34 M5. It therefore incorporates the following modifications over the normal 540i setup:
-Adaptive M Suspension, an M-tuned version of Electronic Damping Control (EDC) that electronically chooses the optimum shock rates based on sensors that gather road speed, steering input, acceleration/deceleration loads and lateral body movements
-20mm reduction in ride height
-25 percent firmer spring rates
-Self-leveling rear shocks
-Thicker antiroll bars front and rear
-Adjustable rear toe-in

The recirculating ball steering utilizes the E34 M5's quicker ratio (15.6:1) and available ZF Servotronic (vehicle-speed sensitive) power assist.
What size brakes does the M540i have?
The M540i's braking system is the same as that of all E34 M5s built as of May 1994, its four-wheel vented discs measuring 13.6-inches (front) and 12.8-inches (rear) in diameter. In addition, the front rotors incorporate two-piece “floating” calipers. This is the only factory BMW application of these rotors ever offered in North America.
What are the factory wheel and tire sizes for an M540i?
Like all E34 M5s built from May 1994, the M540i is shod with 245/45ZR18 tires on M Parallel Spoke alloy wheels, sized 8x18-inch (front) and 9x18-inch (rear).
Cosmetics
How is the exterior of the M540i different from that of a standard E34 540i?
The M540i's appearance is distinguished from that of the normal 540i by the folowing items:
-Body-color M-Technic front spoiler and rear diffuser
-M aerodynamic rear-view mirrors
-Shadowline (dechromed) exterior trim
-18-inch M Parallel Spoke alloy wheels
-Chrome exhaust tips
-"M540i" decklid badging
-Choice of Avus Blue metallic (276) and Daytona Violet metallic (266) paints, in addition to the standard E34 exterior colors
How is the interior of the M540i different from that of a standard E34 540i?
In addition to all the standard Canadian-spec 540i six-speed equipment for the 1995 model year (headlight washers, air conditioning, power sunroof, power and heated sport seats with driver-side memory, power steering column adjustment, on-board computer, hi-fi speakers, etc.), the interior of the M540i is equipped with the following special features:
-M cloth upholstery with Amaretta suede bolsters (or optional Bison leather)
-carbon fiber interior trim
-M-Technic four-spoke airbag-equipped steering wheel with tri-color stitching
-leather shift knob with M stripe and illuminated shift pattern
-door sill plates with the "M" logo
-dash plaque with each individual car number in the series of 32
What items were optional on the M540i?
Two factory options were offered on the M540i: ASC+T traction control (in place fo the standard limited slip differential) and Bison leather upholstery (in either Black or Light Silvergrey). In addition, a 6-disc CD changer and cellular phone were dealer-installed options.
Special Versions
Were there any special versions of the M540i?
Being a limited model itself, there were no further special editions of the M540i. However, the final example of the M540i (#32 of 32) is unique in that it was ordered with special BMW Individual paint (British Racing Green) and upholstery (Modena Natur Nappa leather with Mexico Green Nappa leather trim).

Though only Canada received the M540i, Australia and the United States (both markets where the 3.8-liter E34 M5 was never offered) also received special versions of the 540i with an M5-derived Nürburgring chassis and unique cosmetic items. These were known as the 540i Manual Limited Edition (Australia) and the 540i M-Sport (USA).
How is the Australian-spec E34 540i Manual Limited Edition unique?
A special production run of 70 right-hand drive E34 540i Manual Limited Edition models was produced for the Australian market between February and July of 1995. These were the only E34 540i models sold in Australia with the six-speed manual gearbox and included all of the standard 540i equipment (dual airbags, remote locking with alarm, green windshield stripe, power sunroof, power front seats with driver-side memory, rear headrests, air conditioning, cruise control, hi-fi speakers) as well as the following special features:
-"Nurburgring" M5 chassis with Electronic Damping Control (EDC) shocks, firmer springs and larger anti-roll bars
-M5 steering rack with M-tuned Servotronic assist
-8x17-inch M System II wheels with 235/45ZR17 tires
-ASC+T traction control
-model badge delete
-Shadowline exterior trim
-sport seats
-graphite birds-eye maple wood trim
-M-Technic four-spoke airbag steering wheel
-illuminated M leaher shift knob
-silver plaque under the parking brake handle with each vehicle number in the edition of 70

The E34 540i Manual Limited Edition was officially offered in the following exterior colors: Alpine White III (300), Calypso Red metallic (252), Arctic Silver metallic (309), Cosmos Black metallic (303), Techno Violet metallic (299), Tobago Blue metallic (256), and Petrol Mica (305). However, there were also four examples produced in Orient Blue metallic (317), two examples produced in Oxford Green metallic (324), one example produced in Jet Black (668), one example produced in Ascot Green metallic (353) and one example produced in Arctic Grey metallic (269). Interior colors and trim were limited to a choice of Anthracite M cloth + Amaretta suede, Silvergrey M cloth + Amaretta suede, Black Bison leather, Silvergrey Bison leather, Light Silvergrey Bison leather and Bi-Color Black + Silvergrey Nappa leather
How is the U.S.-spec E34 540i M-Sport unique?
A limited edition of 200 (plus 5 pre-production examples) E34 540i M-Sport models was produced for the United States market between September and November of 1995. Available with either the Getrag six-speed manual gearbox (139 produced) or ZF five-speed automatic transmission (66 produced), the E34 540i Sport included all of the standard E34 540i equipment plus the following special features:
-"Nurburgring" M5 chassis with Electronic Damping Control (EDC) shocks, firmer springs and larger anti-roll bars
-M5 steering rack with M-tuned Servotronic assist
-8x17-inch M System II wheels with 235/45ZR17 tires
-M-Technic aero package painted in body color
-M exterior rearview mirrors
-sport seats
-M-Technic four-spoke airbag steering wheel
-illuminated M leather shift knob (manual transmission)
-E31 leather shift lever (automatic transmission)
-door sill plates with the "M" logo
-heated front seats (optional)
-ASC+T traction control (optional)

The E34 540i M-Sport was offered in the following exterior colors: Alpine White III (300), Bright Red (314), Arctic Silver metallic (309), Oxford Green metallic (324), Cosmos Black metallic (303). Interior colors were limited to Black Bison leather (L4SW), Silvergrey Bison leather (L4SL), Light Silvergrey Bison leather (L4SH) and Parchment Bison leather (L3PE).
Color and Upholstery Selections


The following chart lists all regularly available paint colors for the M540i. All but one example was ordered in these standard colors. The remaining car (#32 of 32) was special-ordered in BMW Individual British Racing Green.

PAINT NAME PAINT CODE NOTES
Calypso Red metallic 252 0 examples produced (color offered but not requested)
Avus Blue metallic 276 3 examples produced (M5 signature color)
Daytona Violet metallic 283 6 examples produced (M5 signature color)
Alpine White III 300 1 example produced
Cosmos Black metallic 303 8 examples produced
Arctic Silver metallic 309 2 examples produced
Fjord Grey metallic 310 0 examples produced (color offered but not requested)
Bright Red 314 3 examples produced
Oxford Green metallic 324 0 examples produced (color offered but not requested)
Jet Black 668 8 examples produced


The following chart lists all regularly available M540i upholsteries. All but one example was ordered from this list. The remaining car (#32 of 32) was ordered with BMW Individual Modena Natur Nappa leather + Mexico Green dash and carpeting.

UPHOLSTERY NAME UPHOLSTERY CODE NOTES
Anthracite M cloth + Amaretta bolsters A9AT 5 examples produced (M5 signature upholstery)
Silvergrey M cloth + Amaretta bolsters A9SL 3 examples produced (M5 signature upholstery)
Black Bison leather L4SW 16 examples produced
Light Silvergrey Bison leather L4SH 6 examples produced
Ultramarine Bison leather L4UL 1 example produced
Black extended Nappa leather L7SW 0 produced (upholstery offered but not requested)
Light Silvergrey extended Nappa leather L7SH 0 produced (upholstery offered but not requested)
Champagne extended Nappa leather L7CM 0 produced (upholstery offered but not requested)
Anthracite extended Buffalo leather M7AT 0 produced (upholstery offered but not requested)


top