We don’t think anything of a BMW being all-wheel drive these days. Even away from the SUVs, ‘Xdrive’ systems are available on multiple different powertrains on almost every model, and soon there’ll be all-wheel drive M3 and M4 Competition models.
Rewind to the early 90s, and an AWD BMW was a little more unusual. At that point, there was the E30 325iX, Munich’s first-ever stab at powering all wheels, and the E34 525iX.
Introduced six years after the E30 iX, the 5-series equivalent borrowed its baby brother’s front suspension and rack and pinion suspension setup, making it the only E34 not to have a recirculating ball system. As on the E30, a viscous coupling directed torque from the 167bhp ‘M10’ inline-six between the axles as necessary, with a 37/63 split given in most driving situations.
Fewer than 10,000 were made, meaning the 525iX makes up well under one per cent of the 1.3 million E34s produced over the saloon and estate car’s nine-year lifespan. That makes it rarer than the M5 of its day. Plus, being not quite as special as the M Division fettled E34, few have been kept going. Of the circa-300 brought to the UK, there’s only a handful left.
Finding one, then, is not easy. Tracking down a good one is trickier still, but happily, what must be amongst the tidiest survivors is up for auction. It’s a 1993 example, which has covered a well below average 89,961 miles during its 27 years on planet Earth.
The Alpine White paintwork is original, so inevitably, there are a few marks and stone chips. There is a little surface rust which is said to be “superficial rather than structural rot,” with the underside recently treated to a Waxoyl coating.
The grey velour interior trim looks fresh in the images, and is described as being in “fantastic condition”. The E34 even has the optional double sunroof fitted, and yes, it still works just fine. The all-important BMW toolkit is present and correct, too.
The iX had a load of money chucked at it in January 2020 - along with the Waxoyl, it received new front and rear pads, new discs at the rear, while the radiator, fuel pump, spark plugs and clutch slave cylinder were all renewed. It will ideally need a little more money sent its way - the Uniroyal tyres are a little old, while the air conditioning needs to be converted to take modern refrigerant. But hey, you’ve got that double sunroof to use in the meantime.
At the time of writing, the bidding is at £1700 on auction site Collecting Cars. That price will rise significantly, but we’re expecting this 525iX to go for a relatively attainable price. It was up for sale a few months ago for £9950, with its auction appearance clearly showing there were no takers at that figure.