Last week's £9995 Maserati 3200 GT sent a parting wave between you, with half of you considering it a tempting proposition and the others regarding it as a ticking time-bomb.

So, how about this - potentially more reliable and less costly - BMW M5. Besides the fact that the E34 generation of 5-series was one of the manufacturer's best-built cars, this second-generation M5, launched in 1990, also featured what I regard as one of its best engines.

Its 3.5-litre 24-valve straight six, codenamed S38B36, churned out an impressive 315bhp and 266lb ft. It was an engine that loved to rev, howling to the red line with vigour every time you pinned the BMW's floor-hinged accelerator. It was also durable if maintained properly and, barring intermittent valve shimming requirements, easy to care for.

Despite a hefty 1670kg kerb weight, the M5 could muster a 0-62mph time of 6.3sec and reach an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. Power was sent to a limited-slip differential at the rear via a slick five-speed manual transmission, allowing for suitably heroic-feeling tail-out action if so desired.

BMW's M5 was more than just a fast car though; it was also practical, with seating for four adults, a refined cabin, a large boot and a 90-litre fuel tank that granted a sensible touring range.

This Read last week's 'to buy or not to buy' here.

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