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1988 BMW 535i

With its shark nosed, classically cool styling the E28 is a firm favorite among fans of 80s BMWs, but it’s the M5 and 535iS variants that get most of the attention. It’s not hard to see why. The M5 based on this platform was one of the first super sedans, laying down the classic formula for all modern Q-ships: supreme performance packaged in a stealthy, unassuming exterior. Meanwhile the 535iS appealed to those who wanted a bit of flash but couldn’t quite afford the full cream M-car, and was really just a 535i with firmer suspension, bodykit and sport seats. That isn’t a bad thing. The underlying car, introduced as a range-topper in 1984, was a winner, marrying the bulletproof M30 3.4 liter straight six engine (good for about 182 hp, in US emissions restricted form) with a tractable and responsive chassis. A regular 535i with a manual gearbox therefore offers a fun and relatively affordable alternative to the more expensive E28s out there.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 535i on eBay

Year: 1988
Model: 535i
Engine: 3.4 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 135,835 mi
Price: No reserve auctionOnly 2 owners, low miles, and an impeccably clean black 535i with a 5 SPEED MANUAL transmission! Soft leather interior that is well preserved for its age. Power front seats and a power sunroof. All original and even the original radio. Power windows, locks, mirrors, and cruise and it all works. A/C engages and works. Headliner is perfect and in great shape as well as the back deck area and dashboard….one small split in the center of the dashboard. Engine is clean and dry and runs smoothly. Transmission shifts beautifully and it has great power. All 4 wheels are in great shape and the TRX tires are in good condition with a lot of tread. Has both keys and a clean Carfax report….original owner until November of 2012. Definitely garage kept and well maintained. Has a new battery that was just installed. Look at all of the photos including underneath the car and see just how nice it really is! No rust on the body or rocker panels. 1 dent on the passenger front door below the mirror and right at the body line that our paintless dent removal company did not think they would be able to make better, so we left it alone. Please inquire with any questions you may have about this fine classic BMW!

This survivor features a black exterior over a pearl beige leather interior and looks to be in remarkable shape. Flaws are said to be limited to a crack in the dash and a dent on the passenger door. The seller claims there is no rust and that all the electrical accessories, including the power seats, work as they should. The car is running TRX wheels and tires (these come in metric sizes and are now obsolete – see the tutorial here) and tread life is said to be good. That may please purists but pose some challenges when it comes to obtaining new rubber. Coker Tire still offers new TRXs, but plan on paying roughly $1,500 for a set of not particularly good at anything all-seasons. The diving board bumpers are unfortunate, but par for the course on these. The dedicated buyer could swap them out for slimmer, European items if so inclined.

Miles are modest at 135k and bidding is already strong – at nearly $6.5k  at time of writing with several days left to run on the auction. I suspect this car sell for somewhere in the $7-8k range.

– Craig


  1. JediJoker
    JediJoker December 16, 2016

    If it’s an ’88, doesn’t it have a B35 (3.5L)?

  2. Carter
    Carter December 16, 2016

    @JediJoker – great catch, the VIN breakdown lists it at 3.5.

  3. Fred Garvin
    Fred Garvin December 17, 2016

    b35 didn’t come out till 89, in E34’s and E32’s it’s an M30

  4. Craig
    Craig December 18, 2016

    Yes, I believe Fred is right. The E28 535i came with the M30B34, which displaced 3428cc. I don’t know why the VIN decoder says 3.5.

    The M30B35 was the last iteration of the M30 engine and was offered in the E24 6-series, E32 7-series and E34 5-series. It made more power than the B34 and had a different (better) fuel injection system.
    It was still technically 3.4 liters, also displacing 3428cc, but it was badged/stamped as 3.5.

    There is a thread here about swapping the M30B35 into the E28 that explains the differences between the motors:

  5. Carter
    Carter December 18, 2016

    Great info @Craig!

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