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  • Writer's pictureMike Kent

Ode to the OG M5

Yes, OG. An acronym for Original Gangster and a definition/slang for incredibly exceptional/authentic. I believe both to be extremely apropos...

When you think of M5 it's common to think of "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" or Clive Owen tossing Madonna about in the backseat. Soaking in the perception of it being a subtle sedan with enough firepower to embarrass those willing to challenge it. A yearning to be the one providing a smirk as you drive past other muscle/sport cars wrought with compromises to accomplish like numbers be it horsepower or lap times. Most importantly it's an overwhelming feeling of driving the very best of what BMW has to offer in a road-going four door vehicle, no matter if you agree with the business's direction. For North America this began in 1986 and we have the E28 to thank for all the following memories. 

To truly understand something you must know its history. To know its history you must understand the venue. 1988 was long before you were privy to a million different personalities grant you their in-depth ownership experience. Your dose of automotive information was reserved for localized groups, magazines and the neighborhood. The average horsepower for Car and Driver's TOP10 vehicles was 140.40. A list that included some underachievers, no question, but a list that also touted the Chevrolet Corvette and Ford Mustang. The Saab 9000 Turbo was praised for offering ABS as a standard option. Instrument clusters abound that look like like speaking to you by David Hasselhoff. I both apologize for the image and trust it defines the confines of late 80's automobiles. This wasn't a time where the super saloon segment was bleak, it was non-exsistent... BMW M5 to the rescue...  

Horsepower? 256. Torque? 243. Impressive considering the company it kept in the "sedan" category. However, more impressive than any digit can express was how it was produced. Exterior styling won't offer any clues. No DOHC, SOHC, TuRbOO, OMG fuel injected(!) or any engine attributes found in label form on any panel. Just a ///Mysterious letter accompanying the "5". A letter that stands for Motorsport but may as well have been Magic.

Six individual throttle bodies ready to gulp air at a rate that creates an audible snarl throughout a rev band that just continues to climb until a limiter reminds you to shift. A responsibility entrusted to the driver. The exhaust pops with a genuine symphony of fuel and heat getting to know each other. The world around you is normally in complete view given the vast greenhouse qualities the E28 chassis offered, but now you're focused on the next turn, eyeing up the apex while naturally reacting to what task is immediately on deck. Truly a mark of a proper machine working WITH its owner. A feeling normally reserved for a race car driver on the track is now available to family while running Sunday errands. 

The automotive landscape changed. It took some time. It took sacrifice. It took taking chances. It took the E28 M5. It's unfortunate a moderate amount of succumbed to the sands of time. If the opportunity to drive a properly sorted, modified, or preserved example presents itself, just say yes. It's truly a chance to revel in the revered. 

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