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1988 BMW M5

$_57 (6)

With traveling for holidays and work occupying the majority of my December and the first significant rain we’ve seen in California coming during my time at home, my M5 has been sadly tucked away under his cover in the garage. I’m sure he doesn’t mind too much, but anything more than a couple of weeks without letting him loose always makes me uncomfortable.

Seeing cars like today’s M5 don’t really help the longing. After last week’s beautiful Eurofied M5 sold at the crazy asking price of $37,990, it would appear clean M5s have jumped up a rung on the value scale for the holidays. Today’s full-bumpered M5 has very similar miles and is in fantastic condition, though not quite the concourse-quality of the small-bumpered example, yet is still well north of $30k. I really thought that threshold was reserved for the few examples still lurking that are well below 100k miles, but when they’re selling, that’s the market!

Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

$_57 (3)

Year: 1988
Model: M5
Engine: 3.5 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 138,023 mi
Price: $32,900 OBO

$_57 (4)

Motorcar Studio is pleased to offer this very nice 1988 BMW M5, on the market for the first time in 14 years. Owned by a dear friend and BMW enthusiast since 2000, this M5 has had only three owners from new, has always lived in the Carolinas and has always been well cared for.

Schwarz over tan leather with heated seats (about the only option you could spec for one of these). 138k miles. Very nice paint, trim and glass. Original interior in very nice condition with minor wear on driver’s seat bolster as expected. Excellent headliner, carpets, dash, door panels, etc. All original VIN tags. Mostly stock with the exception of Bilsteins/H&Rs, 750il brakes and Conforti chip.

Drives exceptionally well and pulls very strong. Cold A/C (R12). Seat heaters work, all seat functions work except passenger knee bolster adjustment. Fresh service with motorsport 10w60 and fuel filter. Tight, nimble, solid, fast and comfortable. Very dry underneath. New Michelin Pilot Sports on nice original 16s.

Excellent records to new, perfect CarFax, original tools and books. Original window sticker (MSRP of over $49,000). Original keys.


They note they’ve used 10w-60 oil in an effort to use BMW’s special M-specific lubrication – but I found it’s only for specific S-coded engines starting in 2000 (like the E46 M3’s S54 and the E60 M5’s S85). The suspension, brake, and chip upgrades are simple and useful in the E28, but do remove the “all-original” tag. The originality is visibly present, however, with a crackless dash and clean seat bolsters highlighting the condition of the interior. Overall, this is a very nice E28 M5, but there are plenty of marks to keep it from being the 100-point cream of the crop. Apparently “very nice” means $30k+ M5s now, making me glad I bought one when I did!



  1. MDriver
    MDriver December 21, 2014

    I am amazed the Kennel car sold for almost 40k!!…but then again I got 21.5k for my 91 E34…
    which just goes to show you have to find the right buyer for the car….
    as far as this one…well the bar has been set as long as this car has no real issues that a PPI will turn up…low-mid 30’s?….crazy times

  2. Don Eilenberger
    Don Eilenberger December 22, 2014

    By the “Motorsport 10W-60” I have to assume they used Castrol TWS (AKA “Edge”) 10W-60, which as you correctly noted is suggested (strongly) for certain M engines. The fact that it wasn’t spec’d originally for this engine is probably because it didn’t exist in 1988. It is as they say “One damn fine oil” – I use it in my M-Coupe (S54 engine) and in my BMW motorcycle (2007 R1200R). It has several things going for it:

    – It’s a true synthetic, not a relabeled dino oil.
    – The wide viscosity rating is not achieved at the cost of an viscosity improver additive – it’s due to the superior base oil.
    – The overall additive package has fairly high numbers for the extreme pressure additives (aka last-chance lubrication, when the oil film breaks down.)
    – It’s made and packaged in Europe
    – It costs not much more than something like Mobil-1 if purchased with a BMW-CCA discount from a US dealer. It costs less than some inferior oils that BMW sells for their motorcycles (and it was spec’d as “the” oil for one of BMW’s high-performance – HP2 – motorcycles.)

    It’s good stuff, and using it shows some level of concern for using “the best” on the car, along with understanding of why the oil is better.

    And wow – prices on the M5 are really climbing. That would have been a $10k car 5 years ago.

  3. Ry
    Ry December 22, 2014

    I happened to have this link handy re BMW recommended engine oils. Fwiw

    Also you can get your used oil analyzed at blackstone labs for less than $40 IIRC, and then you can share your results on this site “bob is the oil guy” (sounds weird but trust me, the site is intense!) and other nerds will help you break down your results.

  4. Ry
    Ry December 22, 2014

    @Don E – the Mobil 1 0w-40 LL didn’t exist prior to 5-10 years ago either, but now it’s recommended fill for my e46. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but it is slightly ambiguous in the BMW documents what older M engines should use. I would honestly peruse the website I mentioned above, I bet they know and can prove why.

  5. MDriver
    MDriver December 22, 2014

    I’m fairly certain that the TWS Castrol was introduced here for the MY 2000 of the E39 M5 as this was explicitly named as the oil of choice for the S62 due to it’s thirsty nature…I can say with certainty that my E30/E36/E34 M cars never saw this oil prior to 2000….now I use it exclusively for all the children
    and at the time it was a much more expensive than the standard performance oil that was circulating back in 2000

  6. Nick
    Nick December 23, 2014

    the S38 rebuild costs scare me, this price seems pretty aggressive if that $10k job is looming. Only mechanical info is “pulls strong” and a fresh oil change.

    but, then again, they can ‘ask’ whatever they like. Too bad its a BIN OBO and not an auction, we wont see where it trades….

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