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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, just had a new baby and it's time to get a 4 door car. Used to own an E36 M3 coupe (loved the car), and am now in the market for an E36 M3/4...unless someone can convince me to go for a nice E28 M5 :haha: I haven't had the chance to drive one yet (hopefully soon), but I was looking for some feedback/comparisons between the two cars. The car will be a daily driver baby hauler, with maybe 2-3 track day excursions and maybe 5 autoX days a year. The E36 M3 (owned before) is quick, has great steering feedback, ok rear seat room (tight with baby seat but workable), great handling/balance, is newer and cheaper to maintain. The E28 M5 just seems like a much cooler car, maybe a bit more rear seat room, but older and possibly alot more in maintenence.

Thanks in advance,

Brad
 

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In terms of power output, the cars in US version are much alike and yes, being the younger car, the E36 M3/4 may be less troublesome for daily usage. The E28 M5 is capable of doing so either, but try to find a good one first and wenn you finally have, you end up paying a premium for condition/mileage.

Most of the E28 M5's are now being kept as weekend/fun cars or even in collections. As such, be prepared for damages caused by lack of usage (perished hoses / gaskets) ect. It definetelly is the cooler car to own, but for daily usage, you may be better of with an M3/4
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your reply Raymond. I'd definitely be willing to pay a premium (close to 20K US) for a nicer condition car, as I've been down that road with my old 73 Porsche 911S - which incidentally is why I'm considering an E28 M5 over the potentially more practical M3/4. As great as the E36 M3 is, I'm utterly spoiled by the more raw character, feel, and sound of the older Porsche. I hear the E28 has a similar character. I figured power was comparable between the two cars, but what about handling? Stock vs. stock, modified (street coilovers) vs. modified? I'm also a big fan of 'old' cars that kick new car butt :)
 

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I can't really compare with a US E28 ///M5 (DC93 model code) since it is so different then my Euro E28 M5 (DC91 model code). My experience with the Euro model is that it's low weight (1430kg) makes it light and agile. The US version is concederable more heavier which could influence handling. All I can say is that you'll have to acquire the driving experience.

As for the engines character, the E28 M5 is worlds apart from the US E36 M3. Start it, and you know where it's origins are. I suspect that the US version of the S38B35 engine is not so raw as the original M88/3 version that is used in the Euro variant, but at least the engines are very similar in construction.

I doubt that the US E36 M3 can do the same as it is too civilized, more an E36 328i with more grunt. If the raw character is what you want, the E28 M5 is the car for you and in that case can recommend one.
 

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raymondw said:
I can't really compare with a US E28 ///M5 (DC93 model code) since it is so different then my Euro E28 M5 (DC91 model code). My experience with the Euro model is that it's low weight (1430kg) makes it light and agile. The US version is concederable more heavier which could influence handling. All I can say is that you'll have to acquire the driving experience.

As for the engines character, the E28 M5 is worlds apart from the US E36 M3. Start it, and you know where it's origins are. I suspect that the US version of the S38B35 engine is not so raw as the original M88/3 version that is used in the Euro variant, but at least the engines are very similar in construction.

I doubt that the US E36 M3 can do the same as it is too civilized, more an E36 328i with more grunt. If the raw character is what you want, the E28 M5 is the car for you and in that case can recommend one.

Ray,

You need to get your car up on the bmwMregistery site.

http://www.bmwmregistry.com/models.php?id=20

MADBEAST,

I've owned both models and the Euro is much more M3 like, but I would put it in the E30 rather than the E36 category. The extra 200 lbs of the US model is noticeable.

I've autocrossed and tracked both versions and the Euro is preferable, but a good suspension goes a long way and is necessary to have to extract the most enjoyment.

Just remember, no matter what mods you do, this is not an M3 and you can not expect it to handle as well as the E30 and E36s.

The e36s should also be less expensive to maintain. If anything goes wrong with the M5 engine you will be looking at big bills.
 

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In my opinion, the E30 M3 is a better comparison to the E28 M5. The E36 M3 is just too refined and the E30 M3 is more raw and brutal just like the E28 M5. I have made cross country trips in my E28 M5s and I did an Austin TX to Las Vegas NV run in a friends E30 M3. I have also been in several E36 M3s, whether it be on the streets, highway and the tracks. The best trips have been in the E28 M5 and the E30 M3 trip was nuts.

The E36 M3 is a fantastic car, it has plenty of power, sounds great, and handles well. It is, in my opinion, not a raw car. The real thing is while it can outhandle my E28 M5, my M5 can out run it. A few buddies and I have done some "tests" and the E36 M3 cannot beat the M5 on the top end. That might be due to the US-Spec E36 M3 engine characteristics of low end power, while the E28 M5 just screams from 3500 to 6800+ rpms.

If you want a true enthusiasts car, a car that people will only know if they are truly into cars and at that point, truly into BMWs, get the E28 M5. They are expensive to own, fatiguing to drive on long trips, but they are the cream of the crop when it comes to BMWs. Very few other BMW reach the level of enjoyment and just all out balls to the walls driving experience that the E28 M5.

BTW, these cars do pique the interest of classy women. So if that is a selling point to you, then there you have it.

Those are my ramblings, hopefully they didnt get too out of control. What can I say, I own two E28 M5s and I want a thrid...
 

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And now for an alternative answer, parenting-magazine style rather than petrolhead:

The fact that the rear belts on an E36 saloon/sedan buckle on the outside make the job of installing a baby seat so much easier, especially when the seat is one of the big plastic-frame ones where the seatbelt passes through the structure. Not important? Try installing the baby seat in the E28 when it's dark and raining.....better still, get your partner to try it. The E36 also has much better interior lighting.

The E36 rear seat cushion is easier to remove and reinstall after you have cleaned up the baby puke (amazing how far it can travel).

The heating, ventilation and ride comfort of an E36 is far better than an E28. Baby will sleep more easily, making journeys far more pleasurable.

Make sure your baby buggy fits in the E28 trunk - the battery might get in the way. The E36 trunk aperture is smaller but the lip is much lower and the lid folds back further.

Being a more recent design (+9 years) then the E36 might also do a better job of protecting baby and parent/s in an impact....

Granted, these are not much to do with driving pleasure - but they might influence the ownership experience!

Have fun.....and don't forget the "Baby On Board" sticker!

Regards

Mfiver
E28 M5 (Euro)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Great information guys!

Regarding performance - I realized when I bought my 73 911S that absolute performance is not the end-all for me, it's the experience. The old 911 was no where near as fast as a newer 911 (although it did handle pretty well) but it was soooo much more fun to drive - the sound, the feel, the smell - loved it all. The E36 M3 might outhandle the E28 M5, but I'm sure it's not by all that much, and it sounds like I'll have more fun around the curve in the E28. The E36 M3 and the E28 M5 are very much apples and oranges.

E36 M3 - I believe this M3 to be the best 'all around' M3 out there. Can be had with 4 doors, handles extremely well (feels *much* better than the E46), has pretty good steering and chassis feedback without being too intense, and even with the 'neutered' US engine it goes plenty fast enough (faster might get me into trouble :) ). Of course it's no E30 M3, but then again I have a baby :) It's comfortable, safe, relatively new, and reliable.

E28 M5 - A real classic, I love the looks of the E36 M3, but I almost fall over whenever I see an E28. Just love the looks! And from what I understand, this is probably the closest mid-size 4 door automobile to my old 911 - which can be good or bad in some cases (my wife calls the 911 "the lawnmower"). Very good point on the belts, lighting, climate control, and safety differences between the two cars - my wife doesn't like the idea of no airbags either. After all that, there is also to consider the same things I consider with the 911 - rust (I live in New York), maintenence, reliability of an older vehicle etc.

So basically it comes down to a conservative & 'practical' decision on the more comfortable M3 vs. a more emotional decision on the less comfortable E28 M5. I'm still on the fence :) I'll have to drive an E28 soon. Thanks again for all the great feedback. In the end, I don't think I can go wrong with either car.
 

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Practical? If it helps keeps the partner quiet, that's a bonus, surely....

E28 M5? Always wanted one. Had mine for 6 years now. A garage queen, certainly - but a practical garage queen all the same: I'd love to drive a Z1, but it would probably have to be dismantled to get me out again.

You will have to look at my profile to see details of my (practical and economical) daily driver, I need to get out of here before I'm deafened by the laughter from across the Pond!

Regards

Mfiver
 

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Hi Brad,
A few general ramblings ... the E28 M5 is obviously a fantastic car and I think I'd prefer one over the E36 M3 (332is, laugh). But an E36 M3 will be more civilized for sure. And you said you're going to use the E28 M5 as a daily driver? That might get old in NYC where your profile says you're from. What kind of drives will you be making? You might not know this, but the S38 especially in the E28 M5's doesn't like a lot of stop starting, especially before the engine temperature has come up to the operating range. They can foul the plugs and become downright bitchy, or at least very tempermental. I'm speaking from 2nd-hand knowledge on that point, but I've been warned about the characteristics. The other issue is track events. I'm sure you know about the rear subframe failures in E36 M3's and after reading Mike Self's latest reply about this in Roundel (where he recommended an E30 or E28 for the track instead of an E36 or E46 because "they're built like tiger tanks) I would be inclined to steer clear of E36's.

The other option you have is the one I took, and that's an E34 M5. You have an E28 M5 engine (more or less) with more displacement, more power, and the car has more refinement. But there's more weight and it isn't as raw as an E28 M5. My friend here in Chicago just bought an E28 M5 with 60K original miles and I've driven it, and he's driven my E34 M5. My M5 is a euro 3.8 with a chip probably around 360hp and his E28 M5 has a Dinan chip and cam gear and pulls real strong. The E34 is clearly faster but the E28 feels so much more modern and plush than my other car, a 1980 E12 M535i. My friend liked the E34's up-to-date feel and luxury though and the speed. It doesn't feel like an 11-year-old car and it is a beast on my Chicago commute. I drive mostly highway 20 miles each way so it's a good excercise route for the M5. If I had a commute of 3 miles each way, it would be a complete waste and probably not ideal for the car.

Those are just some thoughts to share. There are some pictures in my profile gallery of the E34 (and my E12) if you want to check them out. Also go to my web page and under the friend's cars section there are a few M5's you might want to see (including my friend Blake's 60K mile E28 M5).
 

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flipwils11 said:
Hi Brad,
A few general ramblings ... the E28 M5 is obviously a fantastic car and I think I'd prefer one over the E36 M3 (332is, laugh). But an E36 M3 will be more civilized for sure. And you said you're going to use the E28 M5 as a daily driver? That might get old in NYC where your profile says you're from. What kind of drives will you be making? You might not know this, but the S38 especially in the E28 M5's doesn't like a lot of stop starting, especially before the engine temperature has come up to the operating range. They can foul the plugs and become downright bitchy, or at least very tempermental. I'm speaking from 2nd-hand knowledge on that point, but I've been warned about the characteristics. The other issue is track events. I'm sure you know about the rear subframe failures in E36 M3's and after reading Mike Self's latest reply about this in Roundel (where he recommended an E30 or E28 for the track instead of an E36 or E46 because "they're built like tiger tanks) I would be inclined to steer clear of E36's.

The other option you have is the one I took, and that's an E34 M5. You have an E28 M5 engine (more or less) with more displacement, more power, and the car has more refinement. But there's more weight and it isn't as raw as an E28 M5. My friend here in Chicago just bought an E28 M5 with 60K original miles and I've driven it, and he's driven my E34 M5. My M5 is a euro 3.8 with a chip probably around 360hp and his E28 M5 has a Dinan chip and cam gear and pulls real strong. The E34 is clearly faster but the E28 feels so much more modern and plush than my other car, a 1980 E12 M535i. My friend liked the E34's up-to-date feel and luxury though and the speed. It doesn't feel like an 11-year-old car and it is a beast on my Chicago commute. I drive mostly highway 20 miles each way so it's a good excercise route for the M5. If I had a commute of 3 miles each way, it would be a complete waste and probably not ideal for the car.

Those are just some thoughts to share. There are some pictures in my profile gallery of the E34 (and my E12) if you want to check them out. Also go to my web page and under the friend's cars section there are a few M5's you might want to see (including my friend Blake's 60K mile E28 M5).
Man, You just got me really excited to take my E28 M5 to the track next year. :wroom:
 

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flipwils11 said:
And you said you're going to use the E28 M5 as a daily driver? That might get old in NYC where your profile says you're from. What kind of drives will you be making?
This is important. I use one of my E28 M5s as a DD and experience stop and go traffic. The clutch is heavy, but it has a great pedal feel so...its not the big of a deal. You have to try it.

BTW...where is your "second-hand info" coming from hmmm :biggrin:
 

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de Witt said:
This is important. I use one of my E28 M5s as a DD and experience stop and go traffic. The clutch is heavy, but it has a great pedal feel so...its not the big of a deal. You have to try it.

BTW...where is your "second-hand info" coming from hmmm :biggrin:
Roger that. Daily driver here as well. 20 miles each way, which is not good for the pocketbook, but definitely good for the grin factor.
 

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de Witt said:
BTW...where is your "second-hand info" coming from hmmm :biggrin:
I have heard this on many message boards, from E28 M5 owners, a reputable BMW restoration shop in Chicago, and the guy I bought my E34 M5 3.8 from warned me that the problem still persists to a lesser extent in the S38b36 and S38b38 motors. In essence, don't stop and start the car too many times without driving it for a while to let it clear itself out and come up to operating temperature. These motors dump in a lot of fuel on cold startup and don't like to just get shut down without any excercise.

The best solution/rule of thumb I heard from a friend with an '85 Euro E28 M5 is "I don't even start the car unless I plan on driving it for at least 20 minutes.". I'd rather not have to swap fouled plugs and deal with a flooded engine so I try to follow this myself in my E34 M5 3.8. If my commute were 3 miles and not the 20 it is each way, I wouldn't have subjected an M5 to such a short operating interval knowing what the likely consequences would be.
 

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flipwils11 said:
I have heard this on many message boards, from E28 M5 owners, a reputable BMW restoration shop in Chicago, and the guy I bought my E34 M5 3.8 from warned me that the problem still persists to a lesser extent in the S38b36 and S38b38 motors. In essence, don't stop and start the car too many times without driving it for a while to let it clear itself out and come up to operating temperature. These motors dump in a lot of fuel on cold startup and don't like to just get shut down without any excercise.

The best solution/rule of thumb I heard from a friend with an '85 Euro E28 M5 is "I don't even start the car unless I plan on driving it for at least 20 minutes.". I'd rather not have to swap fouled plugs and deal with a flooded engine so I try to follow this myself in my E34 M5 3.8. If my commute were 3 miles and not the 20 it is each way, I wouldn't have subjected an M5 to such a short operating interval knowing what the likely consequences would be.

I know all that stuff...Im just giving you trouble! You need to get some first hand experience by stabling up your M535i with an E28 M5...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Ahhh just when I thought I was out, you guys pull me back in. Was leaning towards the 'safe' decision of the newer E36 but I just can't get over the E28. I've also considered the E34, but the extra weight and smoothness are things I'm looking to get away from. I say 'daily driver', but I actually probably won't be daily driving here in NYC. More of a weekend car and a car for making occasional runs in and out of the city, but I'm looking for 'daily driver' reliability. I know about stop and go finicky, my old 73 911 gives me plenty of that. I actually prefer it, gives me a good excuse to 'blow out the cobwebs' :1: Speaking of my old 911, that brings up another thought that may keep me from getting an E28 M5 in the near future: here in NYC the stuff they drop here to melt snow is pretty nasty - lot's of salt, sometimes gravel, and it stays on the road for a while. The 911 stays underground pretty much from December to April, and I'm starting to cringe at the idea of a beautiful, rust free E28 M5 surviving the unforgiving winters here. Not to say I'll need to drive it in the snow per se, just maybe worried about exposing such a rare and beautiful vehicle to salty roads. Wouldn't care quite so much about an E36 M3. I feel like I have a moral responsibility here guys... Anyway stay tuned, I'm actively looking at both at the moment, how much fun is that! :M5launch:
 

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de Witt said:
I know all that stuff...Im just giving you trouble! You need to get some first hand experience by stabling up your M535i with an E28 M5...
Tell me about it! How wicked would that be if I added a euro E28 M5 to the stable? Three Euro Motorsport 5's all in a line of succession? Course with our first baby on the way (just found out this morning, it's a boy!) I would be sleeping in the car if I bought another one. I need more garage space (and time, and money, and ...).

I LOVE this one that Saliya has featured on his website that he's bringing into the United States. It's just so wicked looking. He says he's not selling though ... but he goes through cars quickly so I bet it will be available for the right price. Of course Brad isn't allowed to buy this one and drive it in NYC salt!!

http://www.euromcars.com/85lsm5/

If anyone gets bored, here's a bunch of updated shots of my E12 M535i that I took with my film camera and then had put on a photo CD.

http://www.e12m535i.com/BMW_E12/myM535i/images/Sept_2005_pics/

I drove the E12 to work yesterday (a rarity with Chicago traffic, I'm usually a nervous wreck watching my rearview mirror for idiots not paying attention) and went by the BMW dealership to pick up a part and for some show'n'tell. The parts guys there know me very well and one had never seen the car. The pain, anguish, and money spent are all worth it when a genuine enthusiast like he is absolutely flips out seeing the car in person. It's a good feeling!


Back to the subject of what Brad should do, if he finds a higher mileage E28 M5 that isn't pristine, he might not feel quite as bad about driving it year round. Obviously Brad if you can avoid the nasty salt and stuff, that would be best but E28's aren't rust buckets the way E12's and early Bimmers can be. Just spray it off religiously in the winter at the power wash, especially the undercarriage, and it will likely be o.k. ..... for a while. Some things are inevitable though.

Adam Wilson
'80 //M535i 4145018
'94 //M5 3.8
www.e12m535i.com
 

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Don't know where all this plug-fouling stuff is coming from....

Garage queen or not, my Euro E28 M5 has been pressed into service recently as a daily commuter (8 miles each way), as the builders have been in at home (including the garage) and I didn't want it damaged.

Granted, extended urban use can mean throttle response gets a little fluffy until there's an opportunity to open the taps but mine has never failed to start when hot (touch wood), even after crawling through traffic (though maybe Reading UK isn't quite as bad as NYC - it just seems that way!).

If it's "over fuelling" then either it has been messed with and has a problem or a sensor has gone down and it has a problem.

Getting back into my modern daily driver (hope no-one died laughing) reminds me how heavy the controls are....

I forgot to add that one of the worst things for me about driving an E28 M5 daily is the fear that someone might crash into it....

Regards

Mfiver
 

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Mfiver said:
Don't know where all this plug-fouling stuff is coming from....
This is an inborn-problem with the E28 M5. Granted, I do not know the Euro E28 M5's ignition and timing characteristics. The E28 M5 at lower speeds, lower rpms, etc, tend to dump excess fuel into the cylinders, more than necessary. This is just the way the car is. The AFM is one culprit, but the DME is the bigger issue. The car just dumps fuel and fouls plugs. Cars that are relegated to city streets will have this issue in greater numbers than those on the highway. I never fouled plugs myself, but I have talked to people who have with these cars.

When I switched over to an Autronic DME set-up, the excessive fuel dumping was eliminated.
 
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