The second M car photographed today at the very-much-not-a-ghost-BMW-dealership is a dolphin grey E28 M535i. Like the M635CSi in the previous post, it’s an import in perfect condition, but it has been extensively restored to reach its current state. The garage guy said its owner has spent some serious dollar and the car’s faced extensive welding, but the end result is staggering. The slightest little nick on the M badge on the front is the sole imperfection I could find. Unlike the M635, this BMW bears plates. The right thing to do was to opt out of Euro plates; a car this old needs to be period correct in this respect. The admittedly bloated E90 on the canvas behind it shows how far BMW has come while trying to maintain a connection to its past. I don’t want to know how much more the 3-series weighs. This 1987 car is the last hurrah of the vintage, slimmer shape that the preceding E12 also bore. The following E34 was spiritually closer to the E32 7-series introduced in ’87, and it looks a world away with its fat flanks. While it’s true the E34 still looked modern when it was phased out in 1996 and the E28 couldn’t have cut it much longer than it did, it’s still a watershed moment when it comes to BMW design. Behind the aggressive grille is a 3.4-litre 211hp six, which continued to live on in the E34. The M535i isn’t as much about absolute power, but M fahrwerk. It gained no extra hp in comparison to the regular 535i, but had a significant amount of aerodynamic improvements and outward detailing to make it a M car. It’s no M5, but it earns its M badge. And yeah, when it comes to fahrwerk this BMW has definitely had some aftermarket improvements done. It sits low to the ground, and the original M wheels have been ditched in favour of wide-ass Hartge wheels (Hartge is one of the best names in German tuners. Just spell it out, Hart-ge. Up there with Zender and Treser in my opinion) that would fit the car rather well were they not so damn wide. My only E28 driving experience comes from behind the wheel of a friend’s excellent 518i Bavaria. That car barely had more than 100 hp; while I really liked it, I can’t fathom how it would feel like to grab the leather wheel of this beastly BMW, wearing 245/40 Marangoni rubber on 17″ wheels – with almost double the horsepower. I wonder what’s with the red calipers? The car’s had clear indicators swapped on it. I’m on favour on it, but I do appreciate the originality that amber blinkers give. The exhaust looks like very few gases have passed through it. Which one of these two M BMW:s is the one you’d go for, given the choice?
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