E28 M5— with tidy Euro bumpers
Completely transforms the look of the car. Damned if we don’t still want one— just as it’s seen here, with black interior and not a chrome trim piece in sight.
We will continue to hold out hope for one (meaning a Euro or Euro-converted E28 M5) someday, however slight those chances.
To leave off, we’ll share an entertaining excerpt from a paean to the E28 M5 that originally appeared on the enthusiast forum MyE28.com. It’s been making the rounds in classic Bimmer-loving circles for a few years now, so some of you may have undoubtedly already come across it.
…but why? Why care at all about these 20 year-old boxy, out dated cars?
First of all, they’re better looking than you think they are. It’s obvious that their shape is in a different category than the ubiquitous, Chris Bangle inspired, rounded automobiles that the wind tunnels and friction coefficients have bent almost everything on four wheels into over the last 15 years. (Although there is starting to be a backlash, see the new Mustang and Charger). But different how? As far as I can tell the shape of the e28 emerged in the mid-seventies and its design language is rooted firmly in the Bauhaus where bold clear geometry was intended to convey strength and integrity. However the E28s save themselves from being Volvo 240s or Mercedes 300s by Marcello Gabrilini’s brilliant slight swoop of the hood and that quirky, vaguely menacing backslash of the front grill. They are not quite graceful but not dull either and the tension between the box of the back end and the slant of the front is continually interesting.
Beyond looks there is balance. Again, the motor isn’t that big, the tires aren’t that wide, the car isn’t that quick, the interior is that lux, however, like good wine, skillful diplomacy or a healthy marriage, this endeavor keeps its elements in balance. In a distinctly West German way I find that the motor, suspension, brakes and driver environment work together in harmony in the e28 M5, something like the tannins, oak, alcohol and grape work together in well executed wine. Therefore every drive, like every sip is a potential joy. Every time I’m in the car, particularly after being in new cars in it’s class (there are no older ones) I’m struck by how well all the systems dance together, how tight the car feels and how even for me, a guy who has been living in Manhattan and hasn’t driven regularly for 8 years, the car is cleanly responsive to my instructions.
Finally there is great pleasure to be taken in the age of these cars. 20 years is a long, long time for a complex machine to run in harsh environment and anyone who has an old complex machine that is running well knows that only a magical mix of luck, and the focused labor or dozens of men working dozens hours has made the experience possible. Every experience in an old car is refracted through this luck and labor and is richer because of it.
I didn’t really know any of this a month ago when I decided to get the car, though I intuited that I wanted off the shinny new car trail in on something different, preferable made by tight-lipped West Germans, preferably with soul, preferably something my employees would walk past in the parking lot that would make them more curious than irate.
And so I found the car on-line, made sure it was what it was said it was, bought it and flew to San Francisco to pick it up and take it back East. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it initially but got my first hint of the future a day later on I-80 coming East out of Sacramento across the floor of the Central Valley just before dawn.
There were just a few cars on a butter smooth road and the cruise control was set to 80 when some kid in a Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX came up weaving up traffic and ended up in front of me. He and the car in the right lane were running even at about ninety, no one in front of them. Hmmmm. I and put the M5 in the left lane crept up on that GSX in 5th gear until I was 10 feet off his bumper. Then I did what I like to think the white-coated, short-haired, bespeckled, clip-board carrying Hun who created my machine wanted me to do – I gave that GSX a long steady flash of my brights. GSX did just what I expected, he accelerated, moved over to the right hand lane and kept accelerating. I gave him a few seconds to declare himself and then I dropped into 4th and the 20 year old car pulled across 4500 to 6500 RPM, joyfully howling like a turbo jet, lunging forward until I put her in fifth and kept going until I was locked at 140 mph, the GSX disappearing in the rearview mirror as I hurled across the waking Central Valley into the riot of the coming sun.