1988 BMW M5 Retro Review


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Welcome to our most current sequence of Retro Assessments that take us back in time as a result of the BMW M general performance division’s record. This assessment of a 1988 BMW M5 will be the initially of numerous basic BMW M motor vehicle evaluations to strike our minor slice of the world wide web in the coming weeks. We’re setting up with the outdated, and producing our way to the new. Love the images and the nostalgia. We hope you adhere with us on this journey by time and a reexamination of some of BMW M’s most legendary general performance cars.


After on a time, the BMW M5 was a hand-constructed tremendous sedan that nobody understood about. BMW allotted only 500 cars for the United States in its very first generation, the place it was sold for only a solitary product yr, because who would want a family members sedan with an overpowered motor and sports car managing? Seemingly, a lot of men and women did! BMW ended up developing nearly triple its primary creation forecast for the 1988 M5 (E28), and the unique purchasers sued BMW mainly because of it. Turns out, they weren’t so satisfied that their promised, reduced-quantity, exceptional motor vehicle was not so reduced-volume and unique anymore.

Very little did anyone know, even that expanded creation run for the authentic M5 was paltry to what it appear in the decades to follow. To this day, the M5 is BMW’s premiere luxury functionality sedan, and it all commenced with this slant-nosed, spicy charmer.

That attraction sets in the instant you lay eyes on it. There’s a reason that the M5 is identified for its subdued and sleeper-like temperament. Exclusively available in black paint with a tan leather-based interior in this article in the United States, the E28 M5 is inconspicuous. It doesn’t scream M5(!) with excess vents, gold brake calipers or a lively paint career. As a substitute, it treads quietly with discreet M5 badges both of those in front and back and a curious rubber rear spoiler. The quirky offset twin exhaust pokes way out over and above the relatively regrettable 5-mph bumpers. BMW fitted completely beautiful M5-exclusive 16-inch alloy wheels to the M5 — the smallest wheels on present for today’s M5 are 19-inch rims.

It is when you hop inside the M5 — in my circumstance, a pristine 14,000-mile example owned by BMW — that its genuine high quality and luxurious mother nature come into clear view. The higher-bolstered, leather-based-wrapped seats hug carefully. They’re absolutely-run, far too — even the thigh extensions and headrests are electrical! Contemporary BMWs make you manually pull out your thigh extension, which is just a disgrace. That said, the spot of stated controls has improved in time, as the 1988 M5’s buttons are positioned in between the seats and are, very well, odd.

Little indications of this car’s “M” status are littered about. The seats element the tri-colour emblem, and so does the steering wheel. That skinny rim is a tactical blessing to grip, but its angle of attack is a little bit far more bus than activity sedan. No these kinds of troubles with the flawlessly placed shifter for this five-velocity handbook transmission. Swapping cogs involves much more than just flicks of the wrist, even though, as it is a full arm and shoulder movement to snick by each individual neatly-outlined equipment.

There is no section of the generate in an E28 M5 that isn’t a noteworthy expertise in some way. The exhaust buzzes loudly at idle, filling the cabin with a sweet, even tone. BMW’s M1-derived 3.5-liter inline-6 makes 256 horsepower and 243 pound-toes of torque in this vehicle, and it is the to start with significant trace that the M5 is a effectiveness motor vehicle. Torque builds in an even, creamy way from reduced rpm into the mid-selection. Set your foot down, get it up toward 6,500 rpm, and you are rewarded with a metallic zing of pure mechanical happiness. It is not loud or pressured or imply in any way. In its place, this inline-6 just sings a cheerful and fast tune that I could in no way tire of. The gears past first may be on the for a longer period aspect, but there is no disguising the rapid-revving nature of this engine when you blip the throttle on downshifts or get on it by way of the rapid initial gear.

BMW could possibly get most of its attaboys for the engines it will make these times, but that’s absolutely nothing new. This engine makes the E28 M5 into the distinctive sedan that it is, and the car is not even that rapid — Vehicle and Driver’s old-college fifth-wheel calculated this M5’s -60 time at 6.3 seconds back in 1987. That appears to be about ideal.

It is tough to visualize a better car for the autobahn again in the 1980s than this a person. Regardless of it being equipped with lightweight overall performance suspension components, this M5 rides like a cloud. No functionality motor vehicle value its salt these times would even come close to the plush freeway cruising this M5 is able of. Visibility is top-tier with substantial windows all about, and the window sill height couldn’t be far better for resting your arm upon — wind buffeting is not even bothersome at highway speeds. 

The minimal little bit of engage in on heart immediately gets to be ordinary as I stack the miles on, and outside of that first vagueness, a incredibly inclined and brief-to-reply automobile awaits. As opposed to today’s ultra-specific M cars, this 1 can take a great deal much more function to extract enjoyment out of, but if you do, a heap of outdated-university pleasurable awaits.

A very little buyer’s suggestions

If a 1988 BMW M5 is contacting your name, the news is not as poor for your lender account as you could possibly think. Hagerty suggests that an case in point in “Good condition” is worth all-around $55,000 these days. Of course, aim for a tremendous-low-miles illustration in superb condition like this 1, and you’re heading to be paying out a lot more.

There are a good deal of pieces shared with the regular 5 Collection, which will make acquiring some replacements as an operator possible. Having said that, any M5-specific bits will be considerably extra tricky to observe down. Anticipate to invest big cash on these, as this sedan is aged now, and new BMW OEM sections just are not out there. Web sites like Hemmings propose that there are some popular agony details. The fairly exotic self-leveling suspension is vulnerable to failure, and when the engine is thought of to be a potent position, the crank hub and timing chain factors have reportedly been acknowledged to fail. Those are high-priced repairs, but with the 1988 M5’s continuing upward trajectory in benefit, they are very most likely well worth the coin.

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By Bethann