BMW 5-Series (1981 – 1988) Review

BMW 5-Series (1981 – 1988) At A Glance


+Good value, comfortable and - sometimes - pacey 1980s executive saloon, with many modern car features, such as ABS and variable servicing

-Relatively worthless despite their advancing years, 535i can be a troublesome car to drive quickly in the wet

The 5-Series of 1981 looked so similar to the car that came before many people thought it was a facelift. But underneath the me-too styling (which would look so much more staid come the arrival of the Audi 100), beat a very impressive new car. Engine management, ABS and computer controlled transmission was the order of the day, as well as the curious 2.7-litre 525e and 524td, which vied with the 520i for your fuel-conscious company budget.

In 1984, the once-top dog 528i was supplanted by a bespoilered M535i Sport version that recalled the go-faster E12 version, right down to its deep chin- and boot-spoilers. This one was even quicker, with a 0-60mph time of 6.9 seconds and a maximum speed of 143mph. Handling might have been tamed compared with the previous M535i, but the E28 generation car was still a bit of a handful in the wet. Today, it's really only the go-faster versions that attract serious interest from classic car fans.

What does a BMW 5-Series (1981 – 1988) cost?