Monday 29 November 2010
The first BMW M5, based on the E28 5 Series, made its debut at Amsterdam Motor Show in February 1984. It was the product of demand for an automobile with the carrying capacity of a saloon (sedan), but the overall performance of a sports car. It utilized the 535i chassis and an evolution of the engine from the BMW M1. At its launch, the E28 M5 was the fastest production sedan in the world.
The first generation M5 was hand-built in Preußenstrasse/Munich prior to the 1986 Motorsport factory summer vacation. Thereafter, M5 production was moved to Daimlerstraße in Garching where the remainder were built by hand. In May 1987, the keys to the 1000th car were presented to Mr. and Mrs. Krampertz from Eichenau near Munich by Wolfgang Peter Flohr, the director of BMW Motorsport GmbH. It is worth noting that production of the M5 continued until November 1988, well after production of the E28 chassis ended in Germany in December 1987.
The M5 was produced in four different versions based on intended export locations. These were the left-hand drive (LHD) Euro spec, the right-hand drive (RHD) UK spec, the LHD North American (NA) spec for the United States and Canada, and the RHD South African (ZA) spec.
The LHD, RHD Euro Spec M5s and the ZA spec M5s had the M88/3 powerplant which delivered 286 bhp (213 kW) DIN (210 kW) whereas the North American 1988 M5 was equipped with a variant of the M88/3 called the S38 B35 which was equipped with a catalytic converter, which, combined with slightly lower compression of 9.8:1 versus 10.5:1 for the M88/3 reduced the power output to 256 PS (188 kW; 252 hp). The S38 also differed from the M88/3 in that it had a dual-row timing chain as compared to the M88/3's single row timing chain. The S38 B35 was used in the NA-Spec E28 M5 and E24 M6. Late production catalyst equipped versions (117 examples) of the European M635CSi were also equipped with the S38 B35. Initially 500 were to be made for the US Market, BMW later increased production to as many as 1,370 units for the US and Canadian markets, although the generally accepted figure is 1,244 units sold.
The North American spec models are unique, in that technically they were all finished in Schwarz (Black) with Natur (Tan) interiors. The otherwise virtually identical Canadian spec M5s were also available with Black interiors as an option, however a limited number of US Models were also equipped with Black interiors
United States Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) range from 2791000-2792000 and 2875000-2875320. Car # 2791000 is not known to have been built, and not all VINs are known to have been used. The first few cars built in November and December 1986 were issued Federal compliance labels showing a 1/87 build date. As has been speculated earlier, physical confirmation of the VIN of the United States M5 kept in BMW North America's Mobile Tradition collection is a 287 series car, a later 1987 build date car.
While every North American spec E28 M5 was a 1988 model year car, production of North American specification M5s commenced in November 1986 and ended in November 1987. Excepting 96 units that were assembled in kit form at BMW's Plant in Rosslyn, South Africa, all E28 M5s were assembled by hand at BMW Motorsport in Garching, Germany.
With a total production of 2,191 units, the E28 M5 remains among the rarest regular production BMW Motorsport cars - after the BMW M1 (456 units), BMW E34 M5 Touring (891 units), and the BMW 850CSi (1510 units).
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 3500 cc
- horsepower: 282 HP
- gearbox: 5+1
- top speed: 230 km/h