When the first M5 was still a few years away…

In 1984 at the Paris motorshow BMW introduced the M535i, a bodykitted version of the already pretty nice 535i. M-technic suspension, aerodynamic front and rear bumper, side skirts and bootlid spoiler completed the transformation. The car shown here is not fitted with the original equipped wheels (with metric TRX wheels & tyres), but with a beautiful set of staggered Alpina 16″ wheels.

Power is unchanged from the standard 535i, a very welcome 218 hp and 310Nm from the good old M30B34 “big six”. Due to the high capacity, power is already available from low revs. But when requested, it will actually go all the way to the 6,300 rpm rev limiter without hesitation, producing a very intoxicating sound along the way. The fitted Getrag 265 “dogleg” gearbox is not the quickest box in town, but will give a very satisfying clunk with every next cog selected.

The M-technic bodykit might not be to everybody’s taste, but it was the next best thing in car design those days, leaving the “old-fashioned” chrome bumpers and side-strips behind. That was already possible when choosing colorline (or shadowline), but in that case you were still stuck with the chrome bumper styling. Besides a complete new look, it also made a much more interesting top-speed possible. When a few years later the first M5 came to the scene, the bodykit was ditched and only a new plastic front airdam was introduced to reduce front-end lift and to distinguish it from lesser brothers. Of course people choose many other modifications like M-technic rear spoiler, wheelarch extensions or the complete M535i bodykit. We at Wheelmen like the look of both; they all have their own particular charm!

After the E26 M1 and E12 M535i, this is the 3rd BMW with the now legendary Motorsport “M logo”. Even though this one was not hand-assembled by the BMW Motorsport division, but at the standard E28 production line in Dingolfing, it still carries the most famous letter in automotive history.

But whatever the history, the legacy, the correctness of using the M badge, just take a look at these pictures and you know enough. This is a great car in its own right!

Pictures by Max Earey, taken during the BMW Car photoshoot in july 2010.

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