BMW 5 Series (E34) - Rewind Wednesday

We travel back to a time when shoulder pads and big barnets became oversized denim shirts and the World Wide Web. Oh, and the E34 BMW 5 Series was our Executive Car of The Year...

BMW 5 Series (E34) - Rewind Wednesday

How much do they cost now?

Not too long ago there was a decent choice of E34s in the classifieds, with numerous servicable cars available for less than £1000. These days, though, the cars at that price are looking decidedly tired and usually have four-cylinders and a 518i badge on the back.

You might be lucky and grab a 520i, or preferably our favoured (and the best-selling) 525i for a little more than £1000, but nicer examples are now fetching anywhere between £1500 and £5000. Of course, with tiny mileages, zero rust to worry about and full service history files you can expect to pay anywhere up to £8000 for a perfect example with these engines.

If you're feeling flush, the really sought-after models such as the straight-six 530i and 535i, as well as the V8-powered 540i start higher up and continue past £10,000 for the best examples.

And, not surprsingly, the E34 M5 is the priciest of the bunch. It was built in low numbers and has the badge that is guaranteed to cost you money on its bootlid: the hallowed M badge. We've seen the best examples priced at more than £30,000, although that's cheap compared with other M-cars of a similar vintage.

Rather something more modern?

Don't fancy reliving the perm or shoulder pads? Worry not, because below you'll find our top 10 current executive cars. Oh, and those we think you should be avoiding, too.

The best (and worst) executives

10. Mercedes C-Class


BMW 5 Series (E34) - Rewind Wednesday

The C-Class is one of the three main choices when it comes to executive cars, the other two, naturally, being the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series – both of which feature further up this list. The C-Class does a lot well, too – it's got a superb interior, most engines have low CO2 emissions and you get plenty of toys as standard. The entry-level C 220d diesel makes the most financial sense, though, and pulls strongly from low revs.

Our pick: C 220d SE

Read our full Mercedes C-Class review

Find a great deal on a Mercedes C-Class


BMW 5 Series (E34) - Rewind Wednesday

Taking on the big German brands in the executive car market is a big task, but Jaguar has made a good first impression with its junior saloon, the XE. It's offered with a strong range of engines, and rewards keen drivers with excellent steering and sharp handling. It's let down a little when it comes to cabin quality, but a generous equipment list should entice company car drivers.

BMW 5 Series (E34) - Rewind Wednesday

Mondeo Man has grown up and now expects more from his car than ever before. Fortunately, the Mondeo has grown up too, and now offers a comfortable driving experience and spacious interior to match its Germanic rivals. We'd go for the mid-range 2.0-litre diesel engine, and pair it with Zetec trim which gets you everything you're going to want, including a heated windscreen, rear electric windows and a ski hatch in the rear for carrying longer items.

Our pick: 2.0 TDCi 150 Zetec

Read our full Ford Mondeo review