1988 BMW 5 Series 535i SE 3.5 from UK and Ireland


An absolute monster of a car for no money at all


The air filter needed replacing after a few days.

The car hadn't been serviced for a while so it needed all the usual parts.

Drivers windscreen wiper arm snapped, £120 from the dealers or £35 from an on-line factor.

General Comments:

I have fitted a K&N 57i Induction Kit to the car which has made some amazing performance increases. She now sounds very meaty and when in high revs it really screams at you.

Split fire Triple Core Platinum spark plugs and leads have also been added which have given the car a real responsive feel.

She is lowered on Spax springs and shocks and sits on BM Motor sport 18 inch rims.

After fitting all of the above I found it rude not to add a Super chip to her, the car will wipe any M3 off the road with no problems at all.

The car comes equipped with an on-board computer which conveniently has a 0-60 timer on. I have 0-60 stored as 5.1 seconds and the top speed so far is 153MPH.

The interior is amazing, it comes in full cream leather with electric heated memory seats, air conditioning which believe it or not actually works.

As I drive the car mostly on urban ground my fuel economy is not very good to say the least, I average about 14MPG. It may have something to do with me always having it in sports mode!!!

For it's mileage and age I have to say this car is truly amazing, they really don't make cars like this anymore.

I was very lucky s I found this high miler in a local paper for £300 with six months MOT, but no tax.

Insurance is very steep, hardly surprising as it is insurance group 18.

I do plan to have a new competition head, uprated pistons and cams thrown under the bonnet along with a complete sports braking system.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th December, 2003

16th Oct 2010, 20:42

Oh dear. I love my 535i Sport - I've had it for 15 years. But if you visit BMWE34.net, you will find that the K&N 57i loses power on this car (sounds quicker to ears of a certain age) and Splitfire plugs show absolutely no advantage at all (I believe they were sued in the US for false claims). I tried a Superchip - no noticeable effect. As for 'throwing' a competition head (?), camshaft (there's only one), pistons and a complete sports braking system (whatever that is) at it, it'll cost at least ten times what you paid for the car! And as your 0-60 time of 5.1 seconds makes your car quicker than BMW's own legendary 345bhp M5, why bother?

1988 BMW 5 Series 528e 2.7 Litre I-6 (M20) from North America


Classic styling and flawless reliability


The odometer broke a month or two ago, not the worst thing in the world, but a bit irritating.

Driver's side seat is a bit worn out.

Has a minor oil leak.

General Comments:

I'm fairly amazed by this car, the engine is absolutely indestructable it seems, and after 170,000 miles runs quite well. If I keep it on the highway I average about 25mpg, which is quite good (especially for a BMW), though in city traffic the gas mileage is terrible.

My main complaint is that the car has exceedingly poor acceleration, I may be biased, since my previous car, a 300zx was a little rocket, but for a v6 (even a 2.7 liter one) there isn't much oomph (this seems to be a common complain about certain 5-series bimmers). That being said, once it does get up to speed it is quite nimble, I can get it up to 100mph with no problems at all, and the faster it goes the better it seems to handle (yes, everything I've heard about that legendary BMW handling is true, for a fairly large passenger car it handles better than my old 300zx). I'm a devoted convert to RWD now.

The interior is ergonomic, and has lots of little toys to play with (I love the little computer that reads out the average mpg and mph). Unfortunately, the driver's seat being a bit worn out can make long trips slightly uncomfortable, but its tolerable none-the-less.

I'm surprised sometimes, but the car does tend to turn heads, mainly because, perhaps, people expect to see someone my age in a more utilitarian vehicle, but I love my bimmer and would happily buy another (if I can ever find one in decent shape that is).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th June, 2003

26th Jun 2003, 09:42

A BMW doesint have a V6 engine, It is a straight 6!

9th Nov 2006, 09:47

Yes, my thoughts exactly regarding the V-6 comment. In fact, the company NEVER made a V-6. Typically, V-6's were only installed in Front-Wheel Drive vehicles, for space. (naturally, BMW never made a FWD production vehicle)

3rd Apr 2007, 17:08

And 300zx is a RWD car too...

8th Dec 2007, 13:03

My '88 528E was the best car I ever had. I say WAS because the transmission finally died at 302,000 miles. It was probably all my fault as the seals had been leaking for some time. Dropping in another used transmission with this many miles on it probably wouldn't be very smart. But it was a great car and could still turn heads after each wash. Driving it down the highway at 70 was always a pleasure because it never got under 25 mpg, allowing me to get over 350 miles before the next fill-up. My only justified real complaint were the brakes. While they worked great, they seemed to wear out way too often.

19th Aug 2008, 11:13

UH, the 300zx is RWD AND has a V6..

3rd Sep 2009, 15:11

The odometer is easy to fix if you are reasonably patient and detail oriented.

Check out http://www.mye28.com/viewtopic.php?t=26424

If you are not mechanically inclined, this repair can be accomplished inexpensively.

Replace the gears with graphite impregnated ones, and you will never have to replace them again.