• votren911
  • Saturday, 20 September 2014
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1987 BMW M5 E28 right-hand drive South Africa test drive. Offering supercar performance with four-door comfort, this hyper-sports model is in a league of it's own. With a top speed of 250 km/h, it's the fastest sedan we've ever tested...

South African performance car fans are among the most pampered in the world. Relative to our country's size, we have a fantastic array of potent machinery to pepper our shopping lists, and for BMW's many adherents here, the choice is mouthwatering.

There's the exacting 325i E30 and 325i "S" E30 for the seat-of-the-pants types who put agility before rear passenger space. For the company top-dog with fire-in his heart there is the 745i E23, a limousine that has almost supercar get-up-and-go. And now, for the man who wants the fastest locally-produced full-sized sedan (and who can afford to pay for it) there is the M5. A simple title for a simple concept: the meanest, quickest, most enthralling car; ever unleashed by BMW SA.

BMW M5 E28 road test

To give M5 owners an idea of how lucky they are, it should be noted that Britain has only been allocated 200 of these cars a year, while BMW SA is getting 100 a year, even though South Africa's new car market is only a fraction of the UK's in size. Moreover, the M5 sold here is the most up-market spec model available anywhere and European and British owners have to specially order all the BMW Motorsport division parts that are automatically ear-marked for "our" M5s, if they want them. The catch is that a South African M5. costs well over R100 000, but once you've run your eye down the vital statistics the shock value of that price tag tends to diminish.


Maximum speed 250 km/h

1 km sprint 26,94 seconds

Fuel tank capacity 70 litres

Litres/100 km at 100  9,18

Optimum fuel range, at 100 .762 km

Fuel index (Consumption at 100 plus 40%) 12,85

Engine revs per km 1563

National list price R109 970

When the average motorist views the M5 for the first time, there are two things he wants to know: "How fast does she go, mister, and - by the way - how much does it cost?" It is difficult to judge which answer causes the eyebrows to elevate more — the top speed or the price - but it's probably the latter, mainly because very few people can really relate to a speed of 250 km/h.

That’s right; on a level road, with two adults on board, an almost-full tank of fuel and just a whisper of a breeze in the air, our test-model BMW M5 E28, with a mass of 1580 kg excluding the drivers, cut through the atmosphere at a genuine 250 km/h. And at top speed, with the accurate rev-counter reading a shade over 6 500 and the speedo needle nudging 270, the big Beemer tracks straight and true, with just a touch of bucking on the sports-style leather-rimmed steering wheel to let you know that you are part of an exceptional occurrence. To put the car's speed capabilities into perspective, we checked on the maxima achieved by other road burners and after that, we were even more impressed.

1987 BMW E28 M5 test

That 250 top-end makes the M5 E28 (he fastest sedan and the fastest locally built car we've ever tested. It’s the third fastest overall, putting it in company with the Porsche 944 Turbo (256 km/h), the Porsche 928S A/T (253), the Porsche 911 Carrera SE 930 (248) and an (imported) Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC C126 (247).

Visually, the South African M5 is the most exciting of its typo available anywhere. Whereas the European modols are fitted with BMW M535i-type wheels and a minimum of trim changes, the models produced here uses the massive 7,5J 16 inch alloy rims, front and rear spoilers and the side skirts from BMW's Motor-sport division, to create a radically different-looking pursuit missile. The engine fitted to the M5 is quite different from that used in the 535i E28.


BMW M5 E28




In-line six-cylinder, DOHC, 24-valve

Capacity (cc)




Bore/stroke (mm)


Compression (to one)



Bosch Motronic F1

Power/rpm (bhp)


Torque/rpm (lb ft)



Five-speed, manual

Top gear ratio/mph/1000rpm


Final drive (to one)


Body, type

Four door, saloon

Suspension, front

MacPherson struts, transverse links, anti-roll bar

Suspension, rear

Semi trailing arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar


Recirculating ball, power assisted


ABS, discs front/rear


Alloy, 6.5in rims


220/55VR390 TRX

Dimensions (in)



Track, front


Track, rear






Kerb weight (lb)


Price in UK (1986)




Acceleration (sec) 0-62mph

6.7 seconds

Top speed


Economy, MPG 18.8