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.