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.

General Comments:

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

24th Mar 2007, 20:13

BMW needs to start making trucks.

8th Jun 2014, 20:22

I hope you got a Corolla by now or at least gave your 5 Series to someone who will actually care for it. Shame really!

1988 BMW 5 Series 528e 2.7 inline six from North America


A reliable vehicle that is extremely economical


Exhaust was rotting from the day I purchased the car; this culminated in the exhaust system falling off of the vehicle over the course of an overnight drive.

Odometer broke the day after I purchased the vehicle; as a result of this, all mileage figures have been approximated.

Driver's seat has begun to wear extremely quickly.

General Comments:

I purchased this vehicle for $1000 from a local dealer. The initial reason why I was drawn to this vehicle was a functioning climate control unit. The climate control continues to work well to this date, which is a necessity when one spends dozens of hours on the road each week. As a result of the low price of this vehicle, I had low expectations and would have been contented if the car started and ran for six months of light driving. However, the car now makes lengthy journeys regularly, traversing the state of Michigan.

Although the driver's seat is in rather poor condition, the springs are not yet exposed and the seat still has a reasonable amount of padding. Pending a new job, I may have available the finances to further repair the interior of my vehicle.

I will not deny the fact that the 2.7L straight six is lethargic at best, even when connected to a five-speed manual transmission. The engine labors under even modest acceleration as a result of abnormally long gearing to provide good gas mileage. Although 60 miles per hour may not come for the better part of ten seconds, I do not mind as I usually get approximately 29 miles per gallon, consisting of mostly highway driving.

For a car of its vintage, I am surprised that all of the electronic devices continue to function, excepting the locking petrol receiver door.

For a car of relatively small stature, the boot is surprisingly large; I am an orchestral musician and an orchestral size tuba can fit easily, so long as it is not in a case.

Although my BMW 528e will win no races with similar petrol-powered German vehicles, it serves well as a basic mode of transportation that is much more accommodating than the current budget offerings from Korean automakers.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th June, 2005

23rd Mar 2007, 15:56

My son purchased a 528e a few months ago for $400.00. We knew that we had a few problems. One was it didn't run, however after a constant commitment to finding out why we narrowed it down to the fuel pump relay. after driving it for a while and by the way it runs great when it runs, but we're experiencing it stalling and won't start after it stalls. Does anyone know what might be the problem? Thanks to anyone with a place to start looking. Thanks!