The first BMW M5, based on the 5 Series E28 5, made its debut at the Amsterdam Motor Show in February 1985, a product of BMW customers’ demand for a car with the carrying capacity of a sedan but the looks and performance of a sports car.
Designed by Claus Luthe, it used the chassis of the BMW 535i with several mechanical changes, in particular the M88/3 engine which was derived from the engine used in the M1. Cars sold in the United States, due to pollution restrictions, were fitted with a more emissions-friendly engine, known as the S38. At its launch, the BMW M5 E28 was the fastest production sedan in the world.
The first generation M5 E28 was built in Preussenstrasse/Munich in the summer of 1986 and from then on, M5 production moved to Daimlerstrasse.
BMW M5 models produced
The M5 was produced in four different versions based on the car’s target markets. These were the Euro left-hand drive (LHD) specification, the UK right-hand drive (RHD) specification, the LHD North American (NA) specification for the United States and Canada, and the RHD South African (ZA) specification.
European and South African M5s used the M88 / 3 engine which produced 213 kW (286 hp). The 1988 North American models used the S38B35 engine which was equipped with a catalytic converter and produced 188 kW (252 hp).
European European-Spec M5s were available with some options not available on US-Spec M5s, such as Water Buffalo leather and a glass sunroof. Left-hand drive (LHD) cars were fitted with 185TR390 alloy wheels, while right-hand drive (RHD) vehicles used 16×7.5 alloy wheels.
US/Canadian models had as options: leather door panels, leather centre console, air conditioning, power windows, power seats, cruise control, on-board computer, central locking. US/Canadian left-hand drive (LHD) cars were equipped with 16×7.5 alloy wheels. The only option in the US specification of the BMW M5 was the electrically heated front seats that were standard on cars in the Canadian market. The only paint colour available was “jet black”.
With a total production run of just 2,241 units, the BMW E28 M5 remains one of the most exclusive BMW Motorsport production cars after the BMW M1 (456 units), BMW E34 M5 Touring (891 units) and BMW 850CSi (1510 units).