• Straightline takes a look back at the BMW E28 M5

      BMW invited members of the media out to take a mint 1988 E28 M5 out along the California Coast. BimmerBoost did not get its invitation as I lost the key to my mailbox and it is no doubt sitting in there. Anyway, the E28 M5 is the original M5. With a motor derived from the M1 supercar, it is a car that will always be held in high esteem by the M faithful. Read Edmund's Straigthtline take below.

      Nineteen eighty-eight is the year if you want(ed) an original BMW M5. BMW sold over 1,200 '88 M5s in the United States. All of the them were black, because that's the only paint code the automaker designated for U.S. export. This 1988 BMW never left the care of the BMW USA fleet, and it has only 12,5XX miles. It has the only option available on '88 M5s -- heated seats.

      A few BMW officials thought it would be a good idea to let members of the media drive this rare and desirable car up portions of the California coast this week. The car received a thorough checkup at the hands of top BMW USA technicians before setting out on the journey from Los Angeles to Monterey, California.

      Its M1-derived, 4-valves-per-cylinder, 3.5-liter inline six-cylinder, rated at 256 horsepower in U.S. specification, is running strong. This is close as we'll ever get to traveling back in time to 1988.

      The first thing that strikes is the light effort of all the major controls. The steering is light. The clutch takeup is light. The shifter for the five-speed manual transmission is light moving through the gates. The whole car feels light (and small) around us. Also, the seating position is high and bolt-upright in an old-fashioned way and we can easily see out around the skinny pillars and across the flat hood. Ah, sweet visibility.

      By the way, light doesn't mean overboosted or imprecise or flimsy. This car just doesn't weigh much nor is it coping with modern-day performance car torque loads, so it doesn't take as much effort to change direction or change gears. Response to inputs are direct in a way that modern BMWs can't (and maybe wouldn't want to) replicate. When you turn the steering wheel or lay into the (cable) throttle, you know deep down that you're taking responsibility for what happens next. It's a neat and liberating feeling.

      At the same time, we can't help but think how far BMW has come with its M cars and everything else when we drive the car. Torque is meager below 2,000 rpm and redline hits around 6,500, so you've got to make sure you're working in this operating range -- which is OK with us because we dig heel-and-toe downshifting. The '88 M5 feels quick if you keep the engine in its happy place, but it certainly wouldn't a dragrace against anything with the N54 engine or the E46 M3 or you get the idea. The not-so-big sedan holds a line nicely through corners, but the suspension gets unsettled more easily over bumpy pavement than a current-day BMW setup.

      These shortcomings don't matter at all to us. We're continually angling for a way to get more time in the M5 over the course of a two-day drive. The honesty of the steering combined with the very mechanical engine sounds (with minimal exhaust note... watch the video below) combined with the satisfaction of ripping off a nice downshift make for a wonderful drive. If only there were more 1988 M5s with 12,XXX miles waiting around for us to drive.





















      This article was originally published in forum thread: Straightline takes a look back at the BMW E28 M5 started by Sticky View original post
      Comments 4 Comments
      1. GG///M3's Avatar
        GG///M3 -
        Kool car, but I like the e34 better. A good friend of mine on the forum here defactom6 had 1 of these. As a matter of fact it was the same exact color combo.
      1. Yukohama's Avatar
        Yukohama -
        soo clean!!
      1. Snakeyestx's Avatar
        Snakeyestx -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by GG///M3 Click here to enlarge
        A good friend of mine on the forum here defactom6 had 1 of these. As a matter of fact it was the same exact color combo.
        I would hope so. All US market E28 M5's were that color combo. The rare ones are the black on black Canadian models (edit : there's supposedly a very VERY scant few special order black/black US ones) or better still the elusive South African Red ones.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Snakeyestx Click here to enlarge
        I would hope so. All US market E28 M5's were that color combo. The rare ones are the black on black Canadian models (edit : there's supposedly a very VERY scant few special order black/black US ones) or better still the elusive South African Red ones.
        Care to make a thread on some of those nice cars in your sig?