Before I take the big plunge to E28 M5dom, I could definitely see myself learning the ropes by enjoying a 535is for a while. With essentially the same styling and plenty of fun to be had from the venerable M30 3.5 inline-6, the “is” provides a nice middle ground between the normal 535i and the fantastic M5. 535is prices also trend much closer to the 535i than the M5, making it perhaps the best value of the bunch. Today we have a very clean but high-mileage example off eBay.
With a no-reserve starting price of $3,995, this 245k-mile 535is could be a great starter. The body is very straight, the interior is mostly great with some medium bits, and the paint and wheels look fantastic. There are enough little issues (trunk doesn’t stay open, broken cruise control, etc.) in addition to the high mileage to keep the price low, but it’s a lot of car. The M30 block is widely regarded as one of the more bulletproof engines out there, and this one seems to be running strong and well maintained, so that mileage is much less of an issue than it would be on most other cars (Benz and VW diesels excluded). If it stays around $5k, this could be a great way to enter the sporty E28 market without breaking the bank.
Hooniverse led me to this eBay ad, selling a 1984 533i with a Dinan turbo system. I love E28s with their could-only-come-from-the-80s styling. Whether it’s the best looking 5 series is a matter of personal preference, but the negative rake on the front and rear and the pronounced Hofmeister kink reek of good times with 80s junk bond money and listening to Genesis. I can’t quite wrap my head around the Dinan work on this one… 400 hp out of a 533i? Terrifying. The bonus here is that if you bump into something, it comes with a running parts car! I like the 535is a lot with its M5ish body kit, and free is a great price, even if it has an automatic.
The Dinan car looks to be in good condition inside and out, though the body kit from the 535is/M5 would make it much sexier without losing much of its sleeper status. The engine bay is amazingly clean, though 183k miles on a turbo engine, even the solid M30, is a lot. The 535is looks fine if a little rough, also having worked its way pretty far up the odometer.
This is not going to be a work-free purchase. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad one; if you’re prepared/experienced for some E28 maintenance, this could be an awesome find. I can’t help thinking the Dinan car would be better served if it were advertised by itself, as I spent more time confused by the weird 2-for-1 deal than in awe of a 400hp E28. Also weird, though cool, is the option to choose what wheels come on the cars (go for the BBSs!). Weirdness aside, they’re cool cars that could give someone a fun time, though they sit on eBay at $8,000 at time of writing with no bids and 2 days remaining.…
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