1988 BMW 5 Series 535is 6 cylinder from North America
An indestructible machine that will outlast all other 1988 cars
Replaced center link in alignment- 175000.
Replaced slave cylinder in clutch- 145000.
Radiator needs work.
Gas tank has rust/corrosion.
My father gave me this car with the intent on it lasting no longer than the drive home (3000+ miles-New Hampshire to Oregon). It is now three years later, and it is still going strong.
The paint is faded, the interior is worn, and it has numerous aesthetic flaws. Being driven mainly in the north, it is quite rusty around the edges.
But I swear I cannot kill this car if I tried. I haven't added coolant in about two years. I've gone 6-7 thousand miles between oil changes. My alignment got so bad that I was advised not to drive on the highway (until I finally got it repaired). I've let it sit for two months between starts and it cranks right up. I've only changed the spark plugs once.
This car just keeps starting every time I turn the key. Around town it runs a bit rough after a lot of stops and starts, and it gets tired pretty easy. Fuel economy is my main complaint--only about 18-22 around the city. On the highway it's a different story: this vehicle was obviously made for the open road, as it hums along at 90 mph (however briefly) without supreme effort. I can keep up with all the speed demons on I-95 if I'm so inclined (but usually I top out at about 75). Keeping the RPMS at 3000 will get me good speed and decent fuel economy (between 25-29 mpg).
This is a heavy duty car that feels like a small tank. I never feel vulnerable to bigger/faster cars due to the ultra-solid construction. Sometimes this translates to sluggish acceleration and handling, but that may have as much to do with its age.
When problems do occur, they can be expensive to fix (which is why I delay as long as possible), so beware the high cost of maintenance if you're like me and have limited knowledge. Still, for a car this age I've been very happy with its reliability, as I've driven over 35,000 miles and spent maybe $1250 in repairs and maintenance the past 3 years.
I'm buying a used car that is more fuel efficient and cheaper to fix, but I think I will hold on to my trusty BMW for those times I want to cruise the interstate with the sunroof open in springtime. I fully expect to drive it when it turns 20.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 14th August, 2006