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    STEFAN BUTLER #BMW-E34 / #BMW-525i-E34 / #BMW-525i / #BMW / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E34

    Stefan’s smart, Orient blue E34 started out life as an SE but since becoming his property is now adorned with front and rear Sport bumpers, with smooth trims, a boot spoiler and replica M5 mirrors. Eibach springs have been partnered with Monroe shocks to deliver a nice drop over a set of staggered 18s, and behind those sit 540i brakes, while Sport anti-roll bars have also been fitted. Inside you’ll find an extended Sport champagne leather interior along with a rear roller blind while under the bonnet there’s an air filter, and a stainless steel exhaust has been fitted along with a set of Ultra Racing tower and lower braces. Stefan says that his future plans include a rear axle and steering box swap plus fitting a set of door blinds.
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    Art Cars The 12th machine in the series: Esther Mahlangu’s E34 525i.

    / #BMW-Art-Cars Esther Mahlangu #BMW-E34 / #BMW-525i / #BMW-525i-E34 / #Esther-Mahlangu / #BMW-525i-Esther-Mahlangu / #BMW-525i-Esther-Mahlangu-E34 / #BMW-525i-Art-Car / #BMW-525i-Art-Car-E34 / #BMW-E34-Art-Car / #BMW-Art-Car / #Art-Cars / #Esther-Mahlangu / #1992 / #BMW /

    In 1991 the 12th Art Car was commissioned and featured two firsts: the first African artist and the first woman artist.

    When it came to using the E34 525i as a canvas for its Art Car project BMW headed to the African continent and commissioned South African artist, Esther Mahlangu, to create something new and vibrant that hadn’t been seen before on its mobile art project.

    Born in South Africa in 1936, Esther Mahlangu was taught the traditional painting technique of the Ndebele tribe by her mother. The stylistically distinctive and well-known wall paintings feature a typical Ndebele pattern and are created exclusively by women. Today Esther Mahlangu is considered the leading representative of this art form, having achieved international acknowledgement for her work. Through her art she upholds the traditions of her tribe and she started passing on her knowledge to her daughter many years ago. As the Ndebele culture does not use writing their art means a lot to them. And from time immemorial it was up to the women to design the walls of tribal homes according to their mood.

    As you can see Mahlangu rose to the challenge of transferring her traditional art onto a modern carrier: the car. With this she combined two worlds. “Ndebele art has, in an entirely natural way, something slightly formal but very majestic about it; through my work I have added the idea of movement,” commented Mahlangu. “My art has evolved from our tribal tradition of decorating the home; for the Ndebele people, if you begin to paint a wall it means you are either announcing a wedding or a celebration.”

    By painting the 525i she has passed on her tribe’s traditional means of expression to an object of contemporary technology. In order to develop a feel for the completely new medium, she initially painted the door of another BMW before beginning the design of the Art Car. Within one week she had transformed the car into a masterpiece of African Ndebele art.

    According to Mahlangu: “I have been asked: ‘How did you paint? Did you use paper? Did you design the motive first?’. And I said: ‘No, the design is here in my head’. This car worked out nicely for me and I was so happy as so many people told me the car is so great, you did such a great job – they really went crazy about the car. The people are happy, all the people who see it are happy. When they see this car their hearts are simply filled with joy.”
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    This stunning bagged E60 lays the visual smackdown. The E60 is not a car you often see modified, but this example makes up for that in a big way… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Petrie.

    When it comes to BMWs, we like them all ways; we like ones that are subtly improved upon and retain their originality but we’re also keen on ones that have just been pushed to the limit and that just come along and smack you in the mouth. Ramiro Sangco’s E60 525i is most definitely the latter because, let’s be honest, there’s not a shred of subtlety or discretion about it. And that’s a good thing. But before we start digging into the details of the car, we’d like to discuss the owner…

    What’s wonderful about the modified BMW community is that age ain’t nothin’ but a number. We’re sure Ramiro won’t mind us mentioning the fact that he’s a touch north of 40 and, looking around the office at people of a similar vintage, that’s the sort of age where you settle into some sort of comfortable, sensible, practical saloon or estate, probably diesel (on this side of the Pond). Or maybe you go for some discreet, grown-up performance in the shape of an M5 or something similar. But not Ramiro. This is partly because once you’re into modified machinery it’s awfully hard to go cold turkey, and partly because, as the owner of MODjunkies Motorsports, he couldn’t possibly be driving around in something drab and dull and standard. Oh no, that would never do.

    The journey to massively-modified E60 began with a 1991 Acura (Honda) Integra, took in a seriously-played-with 1994 Honda Del Sol (which was featured in numerous magazine articles) and a Mercedes C320 that was involved in an accident. The latter car and incident set Ramiro looking for some new wheels and that led him squarely to the doors of BMW, a brand he has been interested in since the early ’90s and one he’s always wanted to own. “Originally I had my heart set on buying a 7 Series,” he says, explaining his choice of BMW. “After doing research on the availability of aftermarket products for the 7 platform, I discovered that there were more parts available for the 5 Series. That made it easy for me to change my mind and go with the E60.”

    Unlike a lot of our feature car owners, Ramiro at least knew that he was going to be modifying his BMW, but like almost everyone else he hadn’t planned on taking things quite this far…

    “My initial plan was to go with a simple setup which included a front lip, wheels and lowering suspension. Because of my association with the automotive industry, I could not just stick to the original plan. I could not stop myself from doing so much more,” he laughs. “The car was modified in stages with the help from my friends at Infinite Auto Design in Bellflower, California, and a good friend, Ernie Corrales, with each lending a hand in gutting the car down to its shell and slowly building it to its current state.” This gives you a rough idea of just how much work has gone into creating this monster of an E60.

    So, where to start? Well, the wheels are arguably the most striking aspect of the entire build, so that seems as good a place as any to begin. Like many of us, Ramiro knew from the outset that he didn’t want to follow the crowd when it came to wheel choice; he wanted something different for his build, and he’s certainly achieved that with these beauties. “With the help of my friend Brian Garin from Infinite Auto Design, I decided to custom build my wheels,” he says. The forged, three-piece wheels feature a classic cross-spoke design, gunmetal centres and vibrant copper outer barrels measuring 20-inches in diameter, a hefty 9.5 inches wide up front, and 11 inches at the rear – really filling out the E60’s big arches and nicely offsetting that large rear quarter panel. Wrapped around those gorgeous wheels is some Falken rubber, the 235 and 255 sizes selected to deliver the optimum amount of stretch to see the combo neatly and safely tucked up inside the arches. And for that to happen, you need some air suspension on board your ride.

    “I originally installed a coilover suspension kit on my car but was not satisfied with the stance of the vehicle and it was hard for me to drive in and out of driveways and over speed bumps,” explains Ramiro. The most obvious solution was to go down the air-ride route which, after doing his research, is precisely what he ended up doing. The strut and airbag assemblies are from D2 Racing while the management is Accuair’s e-Level height-based system. There’s an extremely smart install in the boot, comprising a pair of 2.2-gallon aluminium air tanks from Speciality Suspension, finished in metallic grey, copper hard pipes and twin 444c Viair compressors, all mounted on a piece of wood with an analogue pressure gauge between the tanks adding the finishing touch. Ramiro has also added a pair of Eibach anti-roll bars.

    A quick glance at the exterior will tell you that this is not your common-or-garden E60 and an in-depth study of the spec list will tell you why. When it comes to styling this E60 has had more work done than you can shake a stick at with a real mix of parts but everything comes together so well and the end result is a sheer visual spectacle.

    The bulk of the styling is made up of the Duraflex kit which compromises a 1M front bumper (arguably one of the most aggressive BMW bumpers around), M5 side skirts and a rear bumper. The front bumper has been filled with a diamond-cut mesh grille from Extreme Dimensions and a custom carbon fibre lip, and there’s a vented, bare carbon fibre bonnet by VIS Racing, complete with power bulge. Those side skirts have been embellished with a set of custom carbon side splitters, which seem to be very popular these days, and these are complemented by a pair of rear carbon splitters from Carbon Creations which cling purposefully to the edges of the rear bumper. At the back you’ll also find a Hamann roof spoiler and a CSL-style carbon fibre bootlid by VIS Racing, with just a sliver of carbon on show. The whole lot has been painted in Infinite grey with a fourlayer chromo clear coat. The colour might be a slightly unusual choice but it looks fantastic, a sort of warm grey that works really well with the wheels and various carbon elements, and is just different enough from a regular white to catch your eye and pique your interest. All the styling elements work so well together and this E60 looks like a slice of pure aggression. Heck, even the BMW Performance roof rack looks good and adds a quirky touch to the whole affair.

    Unsurprisingly, the interior has been given just as much attention as the exterior and it’s all rather lavish now. “I wanted my interior to have a rich yet sporty look,” explains Ramiro, “which made it easy to decide to go with the full custom interior.

    The seats and panels are upholstered in leather and perforated suede with a custom double-stitched diamond pattern. There’s also suede on the headliner and steering wheel and I’ve added carbon fibre accents throughout the interior, which give it a little bit of a sporty look.” The combination of suede, leather and carbon-wrapped elements is indeed both sporty and sumptuous and really takes the cabin to a whole new level of luxury and ensures the inside looks and feels just as special as the outside.

    Finally, we come to the engine and, while the 2.5-litre M54 straight-six under the bonnet might not be a particularly fire-breathing powerplant with a large range of aftermarket upgrades available, Ramiro has added a freeflowing intake and a plug ’n’ play Sprint Booster to get it performing at its best. This, then, is a really magnificent 5 Series, the kind of car that makes you sit up and take notice and it has clearly been built by someone who knows what they are doing as everything, from the styling to the colour and wheels, marries together perfectly. As exciting as it may have been to look at, Ramiro is clearly not one to rest on his laurels as, since the photoshoot, the car’s been given a complete makeover, with a new front bumper, side skirts, head and taillights, and a new colour for the wheel lips. By his own admission, Ramiro says that the car is never finished and we expect even wilder things in the future for this roller coaster ride for the eyes.

    Extremely elegant air-ride install features twin metallic grey 2.2-gallon air tanks, copper hardpipes and an analogue pressure gauge; custom Infinite Auto Design wheels boast copper lips and look absolutely stunning.

    TECHNICAL DATA Air-ride / #BMW-E60 / #BMW-525i / #BMW-525i-E60 / #AccuAir-E-Level / #BMW

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.5-litre straight-six #M54B25 / #M54 / #BMW-M54 , #AFE air intake and filter, Sprint Booster, custom exhaust to fit dual exhaust bumper utilising #Magnaflow components, six-speed auto’ gearbox #ZF6HP / #ZF

    CHASSIS 9.5x20” (front) and 11x20” (rear) Infinite #Auto-Design custom three-piece forged wheels with gunmetal cross-spoke centres and copper lips with 235/30 (front) and 255/35 (rear) Falken Azenis FK453 tyres, D2 Racing air-ride, #AccuAir #AccuAir-E-Level management, #Eibach anti-roll bars, #StopTech slotted discs, performance brake pads and braided stainless steel lines (front and rear)

    EXTERIOR Infinite grey with Dupont four-layer chromo clear coat, Duraflex body kit comprising 1M front bumper, M5 rear bumper, M5 side skirts, Extreme Dimensions diamond cut mesh grille, VIS Racing XTS carbon fibre bonnet and CSL-style carbon bootlid, Hamann rear roof spoiler, custom carbon fibre front lip and side splitters, Carbon Creations rear splitters, #BMW-Performance roof rack, Spyder Auto head and tail-lights, custom front LED bumper lights

    INTERIOR Seats retrimmed in leather and perforated suede with double stitched diamond pattern, suede headliner, OE steering wheel custom wrapped in suede, OE shift knob wrapped in 3M carbon fibre, custom suede shift gaiter, AC Schnitzer pedals, handbrake handle and gaiter, panels in suede with double stitched diamond pattern and 3M carbon fibre wrap, 3M carbon fibre-wrapped dash trims, Cadence sub and mid bass amps, subwoofers and mid-range speakers, twin 2.2-gallon seamless Speciality Suspension aluminium air tanks, twin #444c #Viair compressors

    THANKS Infinite Auto Design (, Duraflex (, Carbon Creations (, Magnaflow (, Stoptech (, Cadence Audio (, D2 Racing (, Falken Tire (, VIS Racing (, LR Auto Body, Art Induced, Accuair (, and special thanks to my family and my friends (you know who you are) for all the support and especially the patience

    “I wanted my interior to have a rich yet sporty look…”
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    BUYING GUIDE #BMW-520i-E28 , #BMW-525e-E28 , #BMW-525i-E28 and #BMW-528i-E28

    Buying Guide All you need to know if you’re looking at a smaller-engined version of the classic E28 5 Series.

    The E28 is fast becoming an appreciating classic and if you want one to enjoy on a regular basis, it’s the six-cylinder non-M versions you should be looking at… Words: Simon Holmes Photography: Dave Smith.

    It’s hard to imagine that BMW started work on the second generation of 5 Series some six years before it was launched, but there was good reason for the pre-planning. The previous E12 had been hugely successful and BMW was keen to maintain the lead it had pulled on its rivals. However, when the E28 arrived in the UK in early 1982 it was immediately criticised for its conservative styling that didn’t seem to look a whole lot different from the previous model launched some nine years before! But although the two models shared the same roof pressing, virtually every other panel, part and component was different and improved upon.

    For a start, the E28 platform was lighter, lower and more aerodynamic. It featured a shorter wheelbase and the suspension incorporated a double-pivot design at the front, borrowed from the E23 7 Series. At the rear, there was an improved axle design to increase both stability and ride comfort. Comfort was also a focus inside, as the seats were bigger and the rear cabin space increased for both headroom and legroom. The dashboard was also angled towards the driver and double door seals reduced road noise.

    Electronics played a bigger part this time round, as an on-board computer and a new sophisticated Service Interval Indicator were introduced, along with other optional, modern day luxuries such as power steering, central locking, electric windows and ABS. Power-wise, the E28 was launched with a number of engines ranging in size, all of which were carried over from the E12, but modern upgrades such as fuel injection ensured they were up to scratch. The straight-six range started with the 520i, powered by a fuel injected 1990cc ‘small-block’ #M20B20 engine, producing 125hp and 122lb ft of torque. This equated to a 0-62mph time of 11.8 seconds and a top speed of 115mph when connected to the standard manual gearbox. Next in the six-pot family came the #BMW-525i , which was fitted with the larger ‘bigblock’ M30 engine #M30B25 . Capacity was up to 2494cc and power output increased to 150hp and 159lb ft of torque, which produced a 0-62mph time of 9.8 seconds with a top speed of 125mph, again with the manual transmission option. Last up, fitting in before the more sporting M535i model was the #BMW-528i , which again used the larger M30 engine. In the 528i, the #M30B28 2788cc unit produced a gusty 184hp and 177lb ft of torque, which offered impressive performance thanks to a 0-62mph time of 8.4 seconds and a top speed of 134mph. A five-speed manual gearbox was standard but on all six-cylinder cars there was also an automatic option. At first, this was a ZF3HP three-speed transmission but that was soon replaced with an updated four-speed #ZF4HP in 1983.

    By #1984 , BMW was forced to address a demand by the public for more fuel-efficient models. This is where the 525e entered the picture. The ‘e’ designation stood for ‘eta’ and the model was based upon the American-spec #BMW-528e that had been introduced a year-and-a-half earlier. The #BMW-525e featured a unique 2.7-litre version of the ‘small-block’ M20 engine, fitted with a new Bosch fuel injection system for more accurate control of the engine, which improved performance and emissions. Power was down to 125hp but with 177lb ft of torque to match and in the UK it was only available with the four-speed automatic. This affected performance, which was listed as 0-62mph in 12.2 seconds with a top speed of 118mph.

    Other enhancement updates followed in the final years of the E28, and in #1985 the #BMW-520i received a mild revamp that saw an improved fuel injection system increase engine output to 129hp and 128lb ft of torque. To accompany the changes, the axle ratio was also lowered for manual transmission cars and low profile tyres were added for the first time. In 1986, the 520i was upgraded to discs at the rear, bringing it in line with the rest of the six-cylinder cars that already had them as standard and the interior received some minor changes across the range. A majority of cars from this time until the E28’s end were equipped with the ‘Lux’ specification pack, which included alloy wheels, electric windows and mirrors, central locking and a sunroof.

    The E28 outsold the previous E12 but the styling quickly aged the car, which meant its lifespan wasn’t as long as its predecessor. Production ended in #1987 after a six-year worldwide run to make way for the replacement E34 model.

    Buying one

    As a classic car to live with and enjoy on weekends, the E28 is ideal. It’s modern and practical enough to actually use whilst still feeling decidedly retro. And if you plan on using it regularly, then the six-pot cars make more sense than the less torquey four-pot, as the silky smooth engines suit their character. Plus they are usually better spec’d.

    If you do want one, be aware there aren’t many to choose from, so be prepared to make compromises rather than deciding on a particular model, in a certain colour. Also consider that there’s not a whole lot of difference between the 520i and 525e in terms of performance, it’s only the 525i manual and 528i that feel notably faster than the other models. You should be buy based on the condition over anything else. There is plenty to check so make sure you’re up to scratch and always take the car on a testdrive. An E28 that feels unresponsive and tired, both in terms of engine power and general handling, will indicate how well it’s been looked after and loved. Look for proof of that, too. A car that’s 30 years old should have a good amount of history to show it’s been treated well.

    Price-wise, it’s hard to find a working six-pot E28 below £1500 now. Decent cars that are in good shape will easily cost double that, so budget as much as you can or if you’re limited, at least be prepared to take on a car in need of work. At the top end of the scale, we found a mint looking 528i with 51,000 miles for a shade under £9000.


    The E28 wears its miles well, although the driver’s seat bolster tends to wear at high miles. A specialist trimmer can repair them but it’s not cheap. The other option is to find a good replacement, which is hard to do, although it helps that E30 3 Series seats bolt straight up to the E28 runners. With some modification the later E34 5 Series seats can also fit. Over the years, the sun can fade the parcel shelf colouring and crack the top of the dashboard. Both can be either repaired or replaced.

    Electrics are your next problem, so find out if everything works as it should. Slow or seized electric windows or mirrors will be down to either the motors or switches and these can both be cleaned and lubricated, which usually brings them back to life. Sunroofs can seize through lack of use, while a broken heater is more likely to be a faulty matrix or valve. If the central locking is showing signs of dying then check and replace its control module that is fitted in the driver’s side A-pillar.

    More serious issues can occur with the instrument clusters. If the service indicator is dead then there’s a good sign that other gauges will soon follow if they haven’t already stopped working, as the cluster incorporates a battery that corrodes and damages the circuit board its mounted to. The earlier, pre-1986 cluster boards cannot be repaired, so a good secondhand one has to be sourced, but supply is drying up. Later, face-lifted clusters can be repaired. The faulty cluster will also tend to knock out the OBC and, eventually, every other gauge.

    Steering and suspension

    There are plenty of reasons why an E28 might feel a bit vague, lifeless and tired when it comes to the handling and steering side of things. This tends to ruin the feel of the car but it can usually be cured relatively simply and cheaply.

    Starting with the rear, if there’s a light knocking noise when pulling away or if the car has fishtailing tendencies at speed, then the axle beam bushes are most likely worn and it will slowly get worse. However, it’s quite a tricky job to replace them unless you have the correct tools and it’s always worth fitting high quality replacements that will last. If the car experiences wheel hop or a harsh vibration when pulling away quickly, then the trailing arm bushes will need replacing.

    At the front end, TCAs wear out, as do the bushes fitted to them and a shudder when braking is a sign they are on the way out. A knocking noise when moving the steering wheel at stationary indicates the Pitman arm bushes or tie rods are worn. A light rattle when driving is more likely to be worn anti-roll bar bushes. Worn ball joints are a little more serious as, left to get worse, they can cause further damage to other components, so any strange handling tendencies should be investigated immediately.

    Another common fault that makes the car drive badly is the steering box mount failing, which causes a terrible wayward feeling from the front end. Although the mount can be welded back in place, it can break again, so it’s advisable to add a reinforcing locating dowel at the same time. Last of all, dampers often get tired and corrode if they haven’t been replaced in a while. Even if they aren’t leaking fluid it’s worth replacing them if they look a bit dilapidated, as the spring cups have been known to rot and fail, which is dangerous.

    Transmission and drivetrain

    The manual ‘boxes are near unbreakable, even after huge miles, but they can begin to feel a little loose and tired after time. This is due to worn linkages, selector shafts and bushes. Replacing these will make the ‘box feel tight again. Often just replacing the gear stick bush alone will cure most of the slack feeling, but it can be tricky.

    The ZF auto ‘boxes are generally pretty reliable units but they require regular fluid changes to remain in tiptop state so look for evidence of this in the service history. Otherwise, high mileage begins to kill them and the torque converters can also fail. Both the manual and automatics are prone to leaking a little oil, which is usually caused by faulty selector shaft and/or output shaft seals. #ZF4HP22 / #ZF3HP

    Elsewhere, the transmission, diff mounts, propshaft centre bearings and couplings all tend to perish over time, creating ‘donk’ noises and vibrations at low speeds. Also make sure that the clutch master cylinder mounting bracket is in one piece as they are known to break.


    Both the M20 and #M30 engines are very strong but they do require regular maintenance, especially as they get older. Oil changes are recommended every 6000 miles and coolant should also be changed regularly. The #M20 engine in the 520i and 525e uses a timing belt and this should be changed every 50,000 miles or so, though as these cars get older it seems popular to change them even more regularly than that. It’s always worth doing the water pump at the same time as it’s far more accessible with the belt off.

    The M30 engine in the 525i and 528i uses a timing chain instead of a belt, and it shouldn’t need replacing unless, for example, the engine has done 300,000 miles and it sounds rattly. The plastic chain guides are worth replacing if the engine is apart, though.

    If either engine has a hesitant idle then check for corroded vacuum lines first, before moving on to air-flow meter and the cold start valve. If there’s a smell of fuel either in the cabin or under the bonnet then it’s likely the fuel tank is leaking where it meets the filler neck, or the fuel lines are beginning to corrode, which doesn’t cost much to replace but take time.

    Other than that, it’s the cooling system on any E28 that needs close inspection. On the testdrive make sure the temperature gauge doesn’t read erratically. It should go up to and remain around the halfway point, even in traffic. If it does show strange signs then the viscous fan is the first place to look; make sure it is engaging and disengaging as it should. Then it’s time to check the radiator as these tend to corrode and then leak from the end caps. Also check that the hoses and expansion tank haven’t perished and are leaking coolant as, although it’s fairly rare, this could kill a headgasket.

    Wheels, tyres and brakes Secondhand E28s tend to wear either their original wheels, alloys borrowed from another model, or aftermarket replacements. As long as they fit properly and are in keeping with the car then it doesn’t make much of a difference. Be aware, though, that any wheel wobble at speed could be linked to the wheels and tyres, no matter how good they look.

    While you’re inspecting the wheels it’s always worth checking the tyres closely, both front and rear, as odd wear patterns are a certain indication that something is wrong suspension-, chassis- or steering-wise.

    When it comes to brakes, there are a few common faults. The calipers tend to seize over time, dragging on the disc. It this happens it will require a refurb to make them new again. A faulty master cylinder can also cause dragging brakes, and is likely to be the main culprit for a poor pedal-feel, too. Brake lines are known to corrode and replacing them front to back is a tricky job but should improve a lifeless brake pedal, as will lubricating the linkage to the master cylinder. If the ‘brake’ icon ever illuminates on the dashboard whilst braking then it’s most likely that the brake booster or power regulator, known as a ‘bomb’, is at fault. Warped discs will cause a brake judder, which will start at high speed but can get worse.

    Finally, there’s the ABS system, if it has one fitted. The easiest way to check if it does is by looking for the ‘anti lock’ or ABS light on the dashboard, or the ABS pump under the bonnet, although the washer fluid bottle hides it quite well. When you start engine the anti lock/ABS light should come on and then go off again quickly. If it stays on, or if goes out and then comes back on when you’re driving, it means there is a problem. It’s most likely to be the trigger rings, located in each of the hubs. These often rust up and so simply cleaning them with a wire brush can cure the issue. Otherwise, it could be down to a faulty sensor, pump, or control unit (which is located above the glovebox).

    If the anti lock/ #Bosch #ABS icon is on the dashboard but the light doesn’t come on at all then the bulb has been taken out or the entire ABS system has been removed. The latter is fine to pass an MoT still, the former is not, so physically check for the pump, control unit and sensors.


    As you might expect with an ’80s #BMW , rust is a major problem so it’s wise to inspect any #BMW-E28 vigilantly. That’s because most of the worst rot comes from the ground up, so get a good look underneath the car if you can. Look for crunchy-looking jacking points and sills. Then check the front floorpans where they meet the bulkhead and inner sills. Ideally, lift the carpets on the inside on both sides. If this is not feasible then just feel if it’s damp. This will indicate if the drainage holes are blocked (and further possible rot) or possibly there’s a broken heater matrix.

    At the rear, the axle mounts are prone to corrosion, which is costly to repair. Also check the rear panel around the numberplate lights, lock mechanism and below the tail-light area for bubbling paint, as this means rot is coming though. Then open the boot and look for signs of moisture. Both the bootlid and taillight seals are known to fail, leaking water into the boot area which will damage the carpet, trim and electrics. Inspect the boot floor and then take a look inside the spare wheel well for signs of corrosion. Working forwards, the doors can rot at the hinges and from the bottom up, as can the front wings – and this can continue along the lip of the arch. Up top, the sunroof panel can rot and any corrosion around the A-pillars and scuttle panel is particularly bad news as repairs here are complex and costly. Under the bonnet, rot can begin in between the inner wings and strut tops, again often due to blocked drainage holes. Finally, the plastics and any chrome work as these bits are hard to find and expensive to replace, if missing or damaged.


    The E28 is fast maturing into a BMW icon, and whilst the M5 models are already there, the more basic six-pot cars are becoming more sought after. Prices are on the up and the days of buying a tidy car for a few hundred pounds have long gone.

    There are plenty of things to look out for when buying one, but mechanically, there’s less to worry about as virtually everything is easy enough to sort. But getting into a full restoration of the bodywork quickly becomes time-consuming and wallet deflating so buy the most rot-free one you can find. That’s no reason to avoid an E28, just source a car wisely and enjoy it as a practical and wellpriced modern classic whilst you still can.

    E28 520i
    ENGINE: Straight-six, SOHC
    CAPACITY: 1990cc
    MAX POWER: 125hp
    MAX TORQUE: 122lb ft
    0-62MPH: 11.8 seconds (14.4)
    TOP SPEED: 115mph (111)

    E28 520i post-1985
    ENGINE: Straight-six, SOHC
    CAPACITY: 1990cc
    MAX POWER: 129hp
    MAX TORQUE: 128lb ft
    0-62MPH: 11.4 seconds (13.3)
    TOP SPEED: 118mph (114)

    E28 525i
    ENGINE: Straight-six, SOHC
    CAPACITY: 2494cc
    MAX POWER: 150hp
    MAX TORQUE: 159lb ft
    0-62MPH: 9.8 seconds (11.9)
    TOP SPEED: 125mph (121)

    E28 525e
    ENGINE: Straight-six, SOHC
    CAPACITY: 2693cc
    MAX POWER: 125hp
    MAX TORQUE: 177lb ft
    0-62MPH: 12.2 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 118mph

    E28 528i
    ENGINE: Straight-six, SOHC
    CAPACITY: 2788cc
    MAX POWER: 184hp
    MAX TORQUE: 177lb ft
    0-62MPH: 8.4 seconds (10.8)
    TOP SPEED: 134mph (129)
    Figures in brackets for automatic
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