The idea that BMW doesn’t make cars like it used to isn’t novel. BMW enthusiasts have been complaining about the lack of steering feel, the odd designs, and the aggressive lean toward luxury and technology, instead of sportiness. But is that really true? What happens if you actually drive an old BMW? Is it really better than the new stuff or is nostalgia just getting in the way? In this new video from The Fast Lane Classics, they drive an E28 BMW 5 Series to see if BMW really has lost its way.
In the video, they drive an E28 BMW M535i, the sportiest non-M5 you could get in America and it looks fantastic. I’ve always had a soft spot for the E28 5 Series, as the E28 M5 is probably my favorite BMW of all. That boxy, wedgy shape is just perfect and makes modern BMW design look downright horrid by comparison. Everything about the E28 looks perfect; its proportions, its shapes, its body lines, and—and this is the important bit—its lack of absurd kidney grilles.
Under the hood is a 3.5-liter inline-six that makes around 185 horsepower (for U.S. spec models). That might not sound like much but it’s more than enough to make the lightweight E28 5 Series fun. You have to remember, the ’80s were a different time, as BMW wasn’t making its cars out of lead. I don’t know what BMW’s doing with its modern cars to make them so heavy but the BMW iX feels like it’s made from depleted uranium. Not for the E28, though. It’s light, easy to drive, has great visibility, and it’s a heckuva lot cheaper.
It also sounds great. That 3.5-liter engine sounds incredible, especially when compared to modern turbocharged engines. And, in between the two front passengers, there’s a tall lever thing that’s somehow connected to a third pedal. Apparently, customers are asking for manuals back so BMW is going to give it to them.