The first generation BMW M5 is fast, exclusive and today an absolute show. The American models, which have acquired their very special charm over the years, are more luxurious than ever.
Yes, of course, the bulky, thick bumpers on the front and rear of the BMW M5 of the E28 generation are anything but filigree and purely a matter of taste. The first M5, descendant of the magnificent M debut BMW M535i, shares the visual design destiny with other European classics such as the Porsche 911 G or a Mercedes SL of the R107 generation. The plump bumpers, then a requirement to meet the strict US crash regulations at low speeds, were once ugly, but are now more than ever a sign of their time and can hardly hide a certain charm on repeated inspection. Once again, because with the US aprons and a crude arrangement of indicators and fog lights, they show at first glance that the E28 in its sportiest form is a US model that, unlike the European versions, does not have any equipment requirements leaves open. Apart from the headrests in the rear, which were hardly common in the USA at the time, a car like the BMW M5 is equipped with all the zip and zapp that the equipment list gave. There were often special leather coverings for trim parts that were not available for European models, at least for a 5 Series.
In the subtle black finish, the BMW M5 is a special show. Especially the front with the bulging aprons and the incomparable shark view is so charismatic in bright surroundings that you think you would lose hearing and seeing. The bumper extends the sportiest of all fives a fair bit forward and it looks the same at the rear. In the color black, the doubling of the impact area is not as noticeable as with another paint finish, but this is also nice in connection with the small spoiler lip on the trunk lid and the two double pots, which are slightly offset to the right under the apron and exhaust gases to the rear press, don’t. The equally sporty and elegant image of the BMW M5 is rounded off by the remarkable cross-spoke rims with wheels in the format 225/50 R 16. According to today’s specifications, not even small car level – back then just spectacular.
The big show, however, awaits under the bonnet, which opens up towards the windscreen and reveals a view of a power plant made in Bavaria. Thanks to the genes of the BMW M1, the M88 engine has an impressive 3.5 liter displacement. Instead of the impressive performance data of 210 kW / 286 hp and 340 Nm at just under 3,500 rpm, the USA version has a slight reduction in performance due to the catalytic converter. The 188 kW / 256 hp and 330 Nm at 4,500 rpm only drive in a direct comparison not as snappy as the unbridled European version. If you put your mind to it, the US version of the Bavarian power sedan built between 1985 and 1987 will hit the 250 km/h mark and accelerate from a standing start to 100 km/h in just under seven seconds.
The five-seater Shark does particularly well when the rev counter has passed the 4,000 mark and the six-in-line on the right round clock shows 5,000, 5,500, 6,000 and up to 6,500 revs. In the mid-1980s, no one did that as sportily, as light-footedly and as impressively as the earthling from Garching. Shifting is mandatory by hand in the classic H-shape. In contrast to the BMW M3, the first, short first gear is not at the bottom left, but as is usual in other high-volume models, at the top left next to the reverse gear. The test car has just run 17,000 miles and it drives just as crisply and robustly. The rolling movements alone show that, even with tight sports settings, you reached your limits if you wanted to retain the residual comfort of a luxury class sedan.
The driver enjoys the fact that the BMW M5, which is almost 4.80 meters long due to the thick bumpers, with its sports car genes is always suitable for a cruiser, in sports seats that are just as worth seeing as they are excellently contoured and covered with beige leather. In contrast to most European models, the seating cannot be adjusted with levers and handles, but the driver presses the black push button known from the larger seven and moves the individual seat elements to the desired comfort position. Magnificent: on the three-spoke steering wheel, the shift lever and the front and rear seats, the blue-violet-red radiant M logo is more subtle than ever. The instrumentation is sparse with its two round clocks; The on-board computer positioned to the right of the inclined center console provides the necessary additional information. In the second half of the 1980s, this was anything but usual, especially in European vehicles. The door panels, the entire center console and the underside of the dashboard are covered with the same beige soft leather that also adorns the unheated sports seats. Air conditioning, an electric sunroof, electric windows and the US-inclined cruise control ensure additional travel comfort and a feel-good atmosphere. Apart from the aforementioned rear headrests, sun blind and a rear fog light that was deleted in the USA, the BMW M5 of the E28 series is equipped with almost everything that was good and expensive at the time.
In this respect, the new price in 1987 should have clearly cracked the around 80,000 D-Mark at the time and probably even sniffed at the 100,000 mark. In this condition, with a correspondingly complete history and a mileage equivalent to around 25,000 kilometers, the price on the classic car market should hardly be less than 75,000 euros. The M5 range of the first generation is thin and well-kept models with a comprehensible history, without major accident damage and especially with the renunciation of unnecessary tuning measures are extremely rare throughout Europe. And on the 50th birthday of M GmbH, you can dream and see if you can find a chic first-generation BMW M5. Particularly meticulously maintained: Japanese export models – rarer than ever.