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1988 BMW M5

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As much as we discuss 80s M car values getting pulled up by the E30 M3, they aren’t insane yet. There are still some great drivers out there for the same price as a brand-new economy car, which will always be a great argument for getting adventurous and buying a fun classic. This 140k-mile example isn’t the cream puff some middle-mileage examples have been, but it’s pretty well sorted with enough minor blemishes to keep the price in check. Buying an E28 M5 for reasonable money has been one of the most educational and fun experiences in my car-loving life, and this one is a good opportunity to get a decent driver without breaking the bank.

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: 140,220 mi
Price: $20,000 Buy It Now

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Sadly, a change in my domestic situation necessitates the sale of my beloved e28 M5. If you’re seriously considering bidding you know how special these are so I’ll spare you the sales pitch about production numbers and performance.

I searched nationally for 2 years before finding this one on eBay 4 years ago and had every intention of keeping it forever. It’s been pampered since (regular valve adjustments, oil changed every 3,000 miles, seasonal detailing, ethanol-free octane whenever possible, BMW-only shops). I’ve driven it up and down the coast, over the mountains (though never on a track) all without complaint. The only problem I’ve had was the driver’s side window failed on me (fixed at Dynasport, Portland). Otherwise my only trips to the shop have been for regular maintenance.

My understanding is that the car passed through the hands of a few mechanics hands at a BMW dealership (Motorworks BMW in Minneapolis) which would explain the tasteful upgrades (Bilstein struts/springs, steel brake lines, short shifter) and overall condition.

Other items worth mentioning:

– Modern radio with bluetooth and USB and 3.5mm line in

– Everything works, even the power headrests and power seat bolsters.

– Original toolkit, good Pirelli’s with plenty of tread, matching full size spare

– Oregon tabs good through 2016

$_57 (1)

Seems like a good, enthusiast owner with a decent enough history to feel good about the maintenance. The removed foglights aren’t great but are an unobtrusive and cheap solution to a common E28 issue. Is it perfect? Not in condition, no. But if you want to experience the legendary father of super sedans for less than $20k, this is a good place to start.



  1. Howard S
    Howard S April 25, 2015

    I love these e28 M5’s. Looks like a decent car for the money. Amazing to see the tool kit in tact, but really strange to see the tools rusted.

  2. Nate
    Nate April 25, 2015

    It’s a little weird but actually fairly common in some of these toolkits. I guess they didn’t use high-quality stainless, maybe it’s galvanized or something?

  3. Brad
    Brad April 25, 2015

    The Kenwood looks out of place and cheap. There are units with period aesthetics. Or just stay OEM.

  4. Tobin
    Tobin April 25, 2015

    Nice car! For a lot less I’ll sell you my euro spec RHD E28 M535 that I just brough in from UK (RHD is more fun than you think!).. No KATS and euro equal just a few HP less than M5…

  5. TM
    TM April 26, 2015

    That car looks pretty rough to me- the sunroof panel headliner is loose, the weatherstripping needs replacement around the doors, the leather looks pretty rough all around, the shift knob needs replacement, should I go on? Why are the tools rusty? I would look for a trunk seal leak and possible rust in the trunk- that’s the only reason I can think of that the tools would get that rusty. No way that is worth $20k.

  6. Popeye
    Popeye April 27, 2015

    Hmmm… this or the 2011 BMW 135I M SPORT for (roughly) the same $.

    My vote is for the 135.

  7. Andrew
    Andrew April 27, 2015

    Together would be a very classy two car garage combo.

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