Has it really been 4 months since we looked at a 1988 BMW M5? Fellow author Nate has just refreshed his M5 and been raving about it once again. It’s easy to understand why; with a 1988 M5 in my family also, I’ve had the pleasure of driving the legend that has become the M5 many times and it’s enjoyable in every single instance. These M cars have also been one of the best values in classic BMW ownership for a while, though that’s been changing over the past year or two. But like the Audi C4 S4/S6, owners of these classic but traditionally more affordable have enjoyed driving them and most have higher miles by this point in life. Despite that, aided by reports by classic magazine and online sensations like Chris Harris, the star that was the M5 has gotten even higher in the sky and they’re all on their way up in value. Time to jump in, then? There are three E28 M5s on Ebay right now, and you can have any color you’d like, as long as it’s black:
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The 1992 BMW M5 Touring – reportedly the first production one made – is back up for sale. That’s a bit unsurprising even with the rarity of an E34 M5 touring; at an extraordinarily high price with quite high miles, it was not much of a surprise that it didn’t trade hands even if it is the coolest E34 out there. The seller claims the lowered reserve means the high bidder last time would win this auction. Will that person bite this time around?
The below post originally appeared on our site December 4, 2013:
When people think “E28″, they immediately think “M5″ – those two combinations of letters and numbers are both magical and intertwined in the history of performance sedans. Indeed, like the original GTi defined the hot hatch segment and has always been at the forefront since, the M5 has similarly defined fast executive sedans. However, I’m going to let you in on a little secret – 20 years on, it’s pretty expensive to own and run the S38 motor in the M5. There is no doubt it’s a screamer, but for most people, a warmed over 535is is probably a better option; they look nearly identical to the M5, they get better fuel mileage, around town they’re practically as fast as the M5, and critically they’re usually had in good condition for less than half the asking price of the M5 and are cheaper to run, to boot. On top of that, you could get them in colors other than black – not something everyone wants, but for those not really into the Model T scene it’s a welcome addition. Today’s 535 is a excellent case in point; looking quite catching in red with Euro bits complementing the original shape of the E28 and with a very inviting looking black sport interior, this 1987 535is sure is a looker:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 BMW 535is on eBay
If you wanted a fast, executive super saloon in 1995, your options were dwindling. 1995 was the last year of the Audi S6, and one year after both the V8 Quattro and 500E were taken away. 1995 would also be the last year of the iconic M5, and hints were that it might be a long time before we’d see another. Why? Well, the reality was that with the 6 speed 540i the performance gap between the “super” M5 and the “normal” V8 engined 540 was so close it just didn’t make a lot of sense to have the premium model anymore. The S38 was by now a quite old motor and was getting harder to pass increasingly strict emissions standards; indeed, shrinking sales and high price had resulted in the M5 being pulled from the U.S. in 1993. As a result, BMW offered a hint at what it could do with the V8 in the form of the M540i in Canada and the 540i M-Sport in the U.S. market. The Canadian model was quite close in spec to the European M5, except that in place of the venerable S38 it ran the M60 V8 out of the normal 540i. If that sounds like a letdown, it wasn’t – mated to the Getrag 6-speed transmission it was a great driver, and with the M5 suspension, brakes and cosmetic details it was 95% plus of the M5 for most drivers. The 540i M-Sport that the U.S. got differed a bit in not having the trick floating rotors of the M540i, but with nearly everything else out of the M5 bag of tricks these are cool cars, great drivers, and even more rare than the M5:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 540i M-Sport on eBay
The 540i M-Sport we posted this week posed some interesting questions in regards to the E39s available on the market. The 540i has a good engine and lots of choice bits, but the E39 M5 has the engine and even more choice performance parts. I asked why you wouldn’t just spend a little more to get the Big Daddy, and today we have an example of just how attainable the E39 M5 is these days. Originally owned by the CEO of the Tire Rack, this M5 has just about everything you’d want when looking for a used car – huge Autocheck score, not that many miles (but enough to bring the price down a little), well-informed owners, and overall great condition. Is it worth $16,500? In my eyes, hell yes.