1986 BMW M5 3.5 6 cylinder petrol from UK and Ireland


Dated, rusty but what a drive!


Propshaft UJ exploded (!)

Rough idle.

Head gasket blew.

Rust making an appearance.

General Comments:

I can't believe it still goes at all, never mind well enough to see off almost anything on the road. 215k on the clock and it's still a rocketship.

Handling is interesting, especially in the wet where you kind of get used to exiting corners with a dollop of opposite lock. No nannying traction control or ESP in 1986, and a fine thing it is too. The straight six still sends shivers up my spine as it howls to the red line, and by the feel of it, it hasn't lost much of its 286 bhp either.

It's an easy car to get in to trouble in because it is so effortlessly and amusingly fast, yet the chassis isn't really up to the job. Being RWD it makes it entertaining rather than annoying though, and I have driven various newer cars (including the latest M5) which just aren't as much fun. Quicker maybe, but nowhere near as involving.

I should sell this car. It's old, rusty and a bit tired these days. The problem is, what else combines RWD, 0-60 in under 6 seconds, and such involving handling and bombproof build quality for less than £30k?


Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th January, 2002

15th Dec 2005, 14:29

"...yet the chassis isn't really up to the job."

Maybe it's that you have 215k on the clock and drive the car hard. The entire front end should have been rebuilt 60k ago if you want it to handle anywhere close to how it did new.

1986 BMW M5 3.5 24V injection from UK and Ireland




I jet-washed the engine and got water in the electrics, the car misfired for the weekend and returned only 20MPG during a trip to the Brecon Beacons from Epping.

Had to replace the exhaust system (£680), propshaft donut and bottom suspension arms (ball-joints).

The boot-lid seal leaks despite being replaced.

The instrument cluster and service lights mysteriously failed after being serviced by a BMW 'expert' - not a dealer, ever since I have relied only on BMW dealers.

General Comments:

I've never owned a BMW before nor wanted to, but this car has radically altered my view on that.

The service staff at Godfrey Hall in Coventry are extremely polite and efficient plus a 6000 mile service costs less than £100.

Other spare parts are pretty expensive but the car has been so reliable that average running costs are comparable with anything I've owned previously.

Insurance is astronomical as the car is a group 20, but fuel economy is surprisingly good at 25.4MPG average. Unlike later M5's the car does not have a speed limiter and a top speed of 165MPH is supposedly attainable.

One downside is that the leather Recaros are not as comfortable as they look - although 12-way electrically adjustable, they don't have adjustable lumbar support and I've experienced back-ache on some long journeys.

The worst thing about the car is that it has raised my expectations so high that I have no idea what to buy next - anything would seem disappointing compared with the 'M'.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th November, 2000