1988 BMW E28

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By 1988, the BMW E28 5 Series had matured significantly since its inception in 1981. As the last production year for the E28, the 1988 models showcased the culmination of seven years of refinement and technological advancements, offering a combination of performance, luxury, and state-of-the-art features that set them apart in the mid-size luxury sedan segment.

Design and Aesthetics

The 1988 E28 embodied BMW’s commitment to timeless design. The iconic twin-kidney grille, quad round headlights, and clean, aerodynamic lines defined the car’s exterior. It was both sporty and elegant, seamlessly merging BMW’s performance pedigree with luxury sedan aesthetics.

Inside, the 1988 E28 continued the driver-focused design philosophy that had become a hallmark of the series. The center console, angled towards the driver, ensured all controls were within easy reach. High-quality materials and finishes were used throughout the cabin, while sportier trims like the M5 and M535i featured sports seats and bespoke trim.

Engine and Performance

The 1988 E28 offered a diverse range of engines to cater to different markets and performance requirements:

  • The entry-level 518i was powered by the reliable 1.8-liter M10B18 inline-four engine, delivering 105 horsepower.
  • The 520i featured the 2.0-liter M20B20 inline-six engine, producing 129 horsepower.
  • The 525i came with the 2.5-liter M30B25V inline-six engine, outputting 150 horsepower.
  • The 528i had the powerful 2.8-liter M30B28V inline-six engine, generating 184 horsepower.
  • The M535i was equipped with a 3.5-liter M30B34 inline-six engine, producing 218 horsepower.
  • The flagship M5 continued to feature the 3.5-liter M88/3 or S38 (for North American models) inline-six engine, providing 282 horsepower (256 horsepower for the North American S38).

All models were offered with either a manual or an automatic transmission, depending on the market.

Innovative Features

The 1988 E28 was equipped with an array of advanced features, exemplifying BMW’s dedication to innovation. Alongside standard safety equipment, all models came with ABS, underlining BMW’s commitment to safety. The advanced “check control” vehicle diagnostic system was another innovative feature, allowing drivers to monitor the vehicle’s condition and performance.

Performance and Reception

The 1988 E28 was praised for its impressive driving dynamics, combining performance and comfort in a way few competitors could match. The high-performance M5 and M535i models, in particular, offered outstanding performance and handling. The M5, with its high-performance engine derived from the legendary M1 supercar, redefined the capabilities of a luxury sedan.

The E28’s build quality and reliability were notable, with the car maintaining BMW’s reputation for engineering excellence. The wide range of engine options and models ensured the E28 appealed to a diverse range of customers, from those seeking fuel efficiency to those desiring high performance.