- FIVE SERIES DEATH PUNCH
This unassuming #BMW E28 hides 655whp of pure turbocharged fury beneath its classic styling. With massive turbocharged power wrapped up in unassuming E28 looks, this 5 Series is one deadly road warrior. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Hjalmar van Hoek.
Turbo E28s are like buses: you wait ages for one to come along and then three awesome feature cars turn up in the same year. But as fans of all things E28 (and turbocharged) we’re most definitely not complaining. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that this E28 hails from Sweden, as there seems to be something in the Scandinavian water that makes BMW fans shut themselves away over the long winters and emerge blinking into the spring sunshine having crafted some form of forced induction beast over the preceding months. Works for us.
By day, Gunay Selmanovski is busy repairing Volvos but by night, and possibly also on weekends, he can be found thundering around the Swedish countryside in this beast of an E28. It’s his first project on this scale, his previous cars having all been modified but none beyond some lowering springs, bigger wheels and an exhaust, so he’s really done an awesome job.
He has owned the car for ten years now, purchasing it as a “poor student” (his words) at the tender age of 21. “The performance for the price was unbeatable,” he says, “and it was a great combination of handling, power, convenience, luxury and comfort – it really is the ultimate driving machine.” Purchased with no plans other than simply enjoying the driving and ownership experience, all that changed when Gunay stumbled upon an M106. That makes this the second car in this issue running that engine (the other is 666CSi ) and the third this year – clearly, it’s the current go-to choice for a big-power straight-six.
Gunay has been working on the car since 2005, starting out in a rented garage before it was moved to his dad’s garage in 2010, and this E28 has come a long way from the rusty and rather sorry state that he purchased it in all those years ago.
The M106 in particular has undergone quite a transformation, with one year being spent on it alone, and while it is an excellent starting point for a turbo project, thanks to its force-induced foundations, serious upgrades are required if you’re hunting for serious power. The bottom end has remained stock, as have the internals, and Gunay has focussed all his attention on the head, porting it before adding a copper gasket with an ARP stud kit, fitting an M7 300/300 camshaft, HD rocker arms and Stage 2 valve springs. For the turbo, Gunay has chosen the beefy #Precision 6265, more than enough to produce the kind of power figures he was gunning for, which has been fitted with a 60mm wastegate and 2.5” screamer pipe, along with a 50mm blow-off valve. A 600x300x76mm intercooler sits up front, feeding air into a rebuilt M5 S38 plenum, and is joined by an uprated Griffin aluminium radiator with a 385mm Spal electric fan and a 30-line oil cooler. On the fuel front, a pair of Bosch 044 pumps feed 1260cc Precision injectors. Gunay’s hard work under the bonnet means a spectacular 655whp and 629lb ft of torque at the wheels, monstrous figures considering how light the E28 is. The transmission has been seriously beefed-up to cope with all that grunt, with the old five-speed gearbox having been replaced with a rebuilt #Getrag-420 G gearbox taken from an E46 M3 and mated to a Sachs six-puck sintered clutch and 765 pressure plate. The propshaft is from an E34 540, rebuilt with a bigger joint and 94mm CV joint, and it’s connected to a refurbished 210 40% locking LSD in a reinforced housing on a reinforced E28 M5 diff mount with stronger driveshafts.
Aesthetically, Gunay’s E28 is most pleasing – there’s just something so right about the way it sits and looks. There’s a purpose and muscularity to its stance and appearance that we like. When he bought it, the car was wearing the BMW side skirts but was missing the front and rear bumper additions, so they’ve now been added. So too has a rear spoiler and, while most people are busy getting rid of their chrome trim, Gunay has not only kept the shiny window surrounds but has also added an E12-style front grille chrome trim. It all combines to give the car a classic, period look.
On the suspension front, Gunay wanted a set of D2 Street coilovers but at the time there was nothing available off-the-shelf, so he bought an E34 set and modified the dampers to fit the E28. His ride-height is perfect, as is his choice of wheels in the shape of a set of #OZ-Futuras . “I always wanted these wheels,” he says, “and had them in 17”. However, when I came across a set of refurbished 18s I bought them straight away.” Measuring 9”-wide up front and 10” at the rear, they fill the E28’s arches perfectly, though considering how much power he’s running, Gunay has not been afraid to go for some stretch, with 215 and 225 rear tyres. Underneath the car has been fully polybushed while thicker E28 M5 antiroll bars have also been fitted, front and rear. The uprated brakes have been sourced from within the BMW family: an E32 750 brake master cylinder has been fitted with E32 750 four-piston front calipers and 324mm discs, while at the back are a pair of E34 540i brakes. Braided steel hoses have been fitted all-round.
Finally, for the interior, Gunay has kept things simple and original with minium modifications. The Pearl beige interior with its Sport seats has been untouched, there’s a period refurbished M Tech 1 steering wheel, E28 M5 door sills, an Alpina dashboard, an illuminated six-speed M gear knob and the finishing touch is a trio of gauges.
What Gunay has built is a magnificent sleeper. There really is nothing here to give the game away, beyond the noise perhaps, and he relishes showing modern performance machinery a clean pair of heels, much to their owners’ consternation. “I have embarrassed an E60 M5, a Mercedes E55 AMG and an E90 M3 on the motorway, and the look on the owner’s faces was priceless,” he grins. It’s been a long build for this E28 but Gunay’s skills as a mechanic have shone through and he’s over the moon with the machine he’s created. Beyond the performance, unsurprisingly his favourite part of the whole, it’s an incredibly clean E28 and that in itself is something of a rarity and definitely worth celebrating as the vast majority of these have now succumb to terminal tin worm that very few owners, other than enthusiasts, will be willing to spend money removing. “When I took the car to its first show everyone said they had never seen an E28 in that condition and with such a clean engine,” says Gunay. Most importantly, this car is now finished: everything that needed to be done has been done and now comes the very serious task of getting out there and enjoying the hell out of it – something else that Gunay is extremely good at.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE TURBO #BMW-E28 / #BMW-E28-M106 / #BMW-E28-Turbo
ENGINE 3.4-litre straight-six #M106 / #BMW-M106 , stock bottom end, copper ring head gasket, #ARP studs, ported M106 head, #M7 300/300 camshaft, HD rocker arms, Stage 2 valve springs, #Precision-6265 turbo, 60mm wastegate with 2.5” screamer pipe, 50mm blow-off valve, 600x300x 76mm intercooler, E34 M5 3.8 throttle bodies, rebuilt E34 M5 3.8 plenum, Innovate MTX-l wideband lambda, 1260cc Precision fuel injectors, #Nuke-Blackline fuel rail, #Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, Nuke fuel filter, Griffin aluminium radiator, 30-line oil cooler, Allstar crankcase ventilation, 65ºC thermostat, 385mm Spal electric fan, 2x Bosch 044 fuel pumps, in-tank #Deutchwerk DW301, 1.5-litre catch tank, steel braided fuel hoses, Autronic SMC, #Autronic boost control, MSD Digital 4 ignition amplifier, 3 Accel Ignition waste-spark coils, MSD 8.5mm silicon ignition cables, 3.5” stainless steel downpipe from turbo with titanium exhaust wrap, 3” exhaust system, Ferrita silencer, titanium turbo blanket, 655whp @ 6200rpm, 629lb ft at the wheels @ 4400rpm.
TRANSMISSION #Getrag-420G / #Getrag / six-speed manual gearbox from E46 M3, Sachs six-puck unsprung sintered clutch disc, Sachs 765 pressure plate, rebuilt propshaft from E34 540i with bigger joint and bigger 94mm CV-joint, refurbished 210mm 40% locking LSD diff, reinforced diff housing, reinforced E28 M5 diff mount, stronger driveshafts.
CHASSIS 9x18” (front) and 10x18” (rear) #OZ Futura wheels with 215/35 (front) and 225/35 (rear) tyres, D2 Racing Sport modified coilovers, Powerflex front and rear bushes, E28 M5 25mm anti-roll bar (front) and 18mm anti-roll bar (rear) with Powerflex bushes, E32 750 brake master cylinder, E32 750 four-piston calipers with 324x30mm ventilated discs (front) and E34 540 calipers with 300x20mm ventilated discs (rear), steel braided brake hoses all-round.
EXTERIOR Original BMW M Tech body kit, M rear spoiler, E12-style chrome trim on the grille.
INTERIOR Pearl beige leather Sport seats, refurbished M Tech 1 steering wheel, illuminated six-speed M gear knob, M5 E28 door sills, #Alpina dashboard, Innovate boost gauge, oil pressure and oil temperature gauges.
THANKS I would like to thank my parents for letting me work on my car at their garage, thanks for all of my friends that helped me and supported me with the tech and other stuff, and thanks for my beautiful wife for putting up with my hobbies.
“I always wanted these wheels and had them in 17”. However, when I came across a set of refurbished 18s I bought them straight away”