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Daily Driver Q-Ship: 1988 BMW M5

This 1988 BMW M5 is a one-year only model that remains one of the marque’s most coveted performance models decades later. Despite the limited production, these survive at a decent rate thanks to owners who passionately maintain them well into their senior years. Upkeep is not cheap, which is why it’s almost always wise to pay up front for an example that’s been loved (advice I rarely follow, I realize this.) This example here on eBay has just 107,101 miles and comes with partial service records.

The seller highlights how his car stacks up against a stock M5, including that the stock bumpers haven’t had their shocks drilled out so they sit closer to the body. In addition, the car retains its OEM black-painted metal bumpers, which were specific to the M5. The taillights also sport a black painted strip to cover the original chrome, and the trunk is adorned with a spoiler limited to the M5 and sport package E28s. The placement of the M5 badge, however, appears to be mounted too far to the left – and despite looking nearly new, the seller is including a replacement badge.

I’m not sure why that is, and wonder if the badge was misplaced due to a trunk repaint following a previous accident. That’s often the case with bodyshops that don’t take the time to take exact measurements and record where the badge should be installed according to factory specs. The seller is also including replacement “M” badges for the seats, and the seller advises that the driver’s seat is somewhat tired. The M5 came stock with leather sport bucket seats in “Natur” leather, with only a handful leaving the factory equipped with a desirable black leather interior.

The S38 is one of those engines that is glorious when it’s working, and a colossal money pit when it’s not. Thankfully, this one appears to be well-maintained, with the seller reporting healthy compression numbers across the board, and a valve adjustment completed in 2013. Other maintenance updates include the deletion of the self-leveling rear suspension in favor of a conventional aftermarket Dinan/Bilstein suspension, and modifications include a Billy Boat exhaust and Dinan chip. The E28 M5 is a car that will likely never lose value while still being a capable driver for modern traffic – buy one now.


  1. Skorzeny

    This is my favorite car. Wish I could grab it… This car is why I don’t understand the anti 4 door crowd.

    Like 5
  2. Shaun Dymond

    German engineering at its finest! Just a pity about those god-awful bumpers forced upon it by safety laws.

    Like 3
  3. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Leads my short and slightly realistic bucket list.

    Like 1
  4. SMS

    Friend of mine owned one. Unfortunately was hit and totaled. One of very few cars or motorcycles I’ve had the pleasure of driving that lived up to the reputation. Part of that may be due to the honesty of the owners about the issues with these.

    I found it amazing how fast the car was without feeling frantic. No matter what was don’t to it I could not upset the car. Only other car I’ve driven like that was a GTR and it was controlled with electronics.

    Like 1
  5. jwzg

    Thing looks like it’s eating and s***ting cassette tapes, but that engine and chassis though…

    Like 1
  6. Wayne

    These are more enjoyable to drive than the M6 of the same vintage. (Although I prefer the style of the 6 series car.)

    Like 0
  7. Steve Haygood

    I’ve owned one now for almost 20 years…..love it. Do all my maintenance, simple but yet wonderfully competent…

    Like 2
  8. djjerme

    “will likely never lose value ”

    I wish that was true, but realistically, when the generation that isn’t full of ‘member Berries ages outside the Money Demo, the values will plummet. Such is the economics of Cars..

    Like 0
  9. Skippy

    I have 2 e28 M5s in a collection that includes 12 BMWs (one is a project car) and they are a lot of fun. They are light and nimble and love being thrown around and they are far easier to work on than modern BMWs. The e28 535i is almost as fun and far more affordable if you want a classic at a lower price point. It will never be worth less than what you pay for it.

    Like 3
  10. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I am going to look at a 1999 528i this weekend. Love these cars. An M would be cool, as a simple guy, I am happy with a plain 5er.

    Like 0
  11. Louis Chen

    Yes these were the best BMW that is the epitome of the Ultimate Driving Machine! Yes they’re very expensive you can not do the repairs yourself. Stay away from auto trannies on BMWs, they’re a nightmare to rebuild! My trans. mechanic friend & I rebuilt a 7 series (1999) a few months back it was a nightmare! I have a ’98 740IL with manual with 200K and it runs smoothly with no problems so far! If you have the funding by all means get it! You’ll be handsomely rewarded.

    Like 0
  12. DEC

    Had one of these for years, used it for track days. Sold with 160K miles. It was a great car.

    Like 0

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