E28 M535i
Production Data
Special Versions
Colors and Upholstery
Production Versions
DC71: European-spec without catalyst (LHD manual), 02/85 through 12/87
DC81: European-spec without catalyst (LHD automatic), 03/1985 through 09/1987
DC72: European-spec without catalyst (RHD manual), 03/1985 through 10/1987
DC82: European-spec without catalyst (RHD automatic), 03/1985 through 11/1987
DC51: European-spec with catalyst (LHD manual), 03/1985 through 09/1987
DC61: European-spec with catalyst (LHD automatic), 03/1985 through 09/1987
DC52: Australian-spec with catalyst (RHD manual), 10/1985 through 03/1987
DC89: Japanese-spec with catalyst (LHD automatic), 03/1985 through 09/1987
DC78: South African-spec without catalyst (RHD manual), 01/1985 through 04/1988
DC88: South African-spec without catalyst (RHD automatic), 07/1986 through 05/1988
What makes the E28 M535i unique?
The E28 M535i is closely based on the mechanically identical E28 535i and therefore does not feature any unique BMW Motorsport-designed drivetrain components. However, in some worldwide markets, the M535i was equipped as standard with a close-ratio manual gearbox and/or M-Technic suspension, though these items could generally be optioned on the regular 535i, as well. Thus, the only truly specific features of the E28 M535i (when compared to the 535i) are its standard M-Technic aerodynamic package (not offered on South African models) and M tri-color lapels on the front and rear seats.
When was the E28 M535i introduced?
The E28 M535i was introduced at the 1984 Paris Auto Salon.
Where was the E28 M535i built?
Unlike the hand-built E28 M5, the E28 M535i was assembled on the standard E28 assembly line in Dingolfing, outside of Munich. An additional batch of cars was built at BMW's Rosslyn, South Africa factory using Complete Knock-Down kits supplied from Germany.
What was the role of the E28 M535i within the 5 Series model range?
Though the E28 M535i was the direct descendant of the E12 M535i, the two models fulfilled rather different roles within the 5 Series range. While the E12 M535i was an extremely low-production niche model in the vein of the M30-powered E12s that had been hand-assembled by special request at BMW Motorsport since the early 1970s, the E28 M535i was always intended to be a mass-produced car sold in much greater numbers than its earlier namesake.

With the hand-built M5 now fulfilling the role as the flagship of the E28 range, the M535i was repositioned to be essentially nothing more than a cosmetically-enhanced alternative to the mechanically-identical 535i. In this way, it is perhaps best looked at as the predecessor to the later M-Technic option packages that would soon debut on the E30 3 Series and ultimately become a permanent fixture within the BMW model line. And though the E28 M535i has often been criticized by the press for having a model designation that stands more for "Marketing" than "Motorsport", it is unquestionably a legitimate M Series model in its own right.
Why was the E28 M535i never officially sold in North America?
BMW did not import the E28 M535i to North America for two reasons: 1) the M brand had not yet been established in North America at the time and thus held little equity with the consumer and 2) the cost of adapting the M-Technic body panels to fit the contours of the government-mandated bumpers was highly prohibitive. Instead, BMW of North America created the 535is, essentially a standard 535i equipped with front and rear spoilers, sport suspension and sport seats, which was sold exclusively in the U.S. and Canada.
Production Data
How many versions of the E28 M535i were produced?
Ten different versions of the E28 M535i were produced. Eight were built on the Dingolfing line in Germany: seven to European specfication (in various manual, automatic, left-hand drive, right-hand drive, catalyst and non-catalyst iterations), plus one for Japan (solely in left-hand drive, catalyst, automatic-transmission form). In addition, two more right-hand drive, non-catalyst versions (one manual, one automatic) were assembled at the Rosslyn, South Africa factory from Complete Knock-Down (CKD) kits shipped in from Germany. (Note: An earlier South African version of the M535i that pre-dates the German-built model by several years was also assembled in South Africa. This "4709" model retains the drivetrain, body panels and some interior trim from the earlier E12 5 Series, yet features the E28-style dashboard, instruments and center console. See Speical Versions in the E12 M535i FAQ for more information.)
How many of each version were produced?
DC71 (LHD, non-catalyst, manual): 4,475 produced from 02/1985 through 12/1987
DC72 (RHD, non-catalyst, manual): 1,137 produced from 03/1985 through 10/1987
DC51 (LHD, catalyst, manual): 718 produced from 03/1985 thru 09/1987
DC52 (RHD, catalyst, manual): 224 produced from 10/1985 thru 03/1987 NOTE: Australian market only
DC81 (LHD, non-catalyst, automatic): 861 produced from 03/1985 through 12/1987
DC61 (LHD, catalyst, automatic): 216 produced from 03/1985 through 09/1987
DC82 (RHD, non-catalyst, automatic): 712 produced from 03/1985 through 11/1987
DC89 (LHD catalyst, automatic): 1,140 produced from 03/1985 through 09/1987 NOTE: Japanese market only
DC78 (RHD, non-catalyst, manual): 492 produced from 01/1985 through 04/1988 (assembled in South Africa from CKD kits)
DC88 (RHD, non-catalyst, automatic): 360 produced from 07/1986 through 05/1988 (assembled in South Africa from CKD kits)
What kind of engine powers the E28 M535i?
Like its E12 M535i predecessor, the E28 M535i is not powered by a special M-developed engine but by a standard BMW powerplant. In this case, it is the exact same M30 inline-six found in the E28 535i and later versions of the E23 735i and E24 635CSi, with a bore of 92.0mm and stroke of 86.0 mm for a total displacement of 3,430cc. This SOHC iron-block unit with Bosch ME-Motronic fuel injection was offered with and without a catalytic converter, either as a customer choice or to conform to local market regulations. Without emission controls, the M30 uses a 10:1 compression ratio and develops 218 hp (DIN) at 5,200 rpm and 224 lb/ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. The catalyst version, with an 8:1 compression ratio, produces 185 hp (DIN) at 5,400 rpm and 209 lb/ft of torque at 4,000 rpm.
What kind of gearboxes were offered for the E28 M535i?
There were three different gearbox options for the E28 M535i: two five-speed manuals (a close-ratio and an overdrive) and a four-speed automatic. The "standard" gearbox is the usual overdrive Getrag 265 unit also found in the E28 535i, E23 735i and the late version of the E24 635CSi. It has the following ratios: 3.82 (1), 2.20 (2), 1.40 (3), 1.00 (4), .81 (5) and is mated to a 3.25:1 rear axle with limited slip differential. The close-ratio option, also made by Getrag, features a "dogleg" shift pattern and was only offered in conjunction with the non-catalyst motor. It has following ratios: 3.72 (1), 2.40 (2), 1.77 (3), 1.26 (4), 1.00 (5). This gearbox is mated to a taller 3.07:1 rear end with limited slip. Finally, the E28 M535i is one of the few M Series models to have been available with an automatic transmission, in this case the ZF 4 HP 22 unit with Sport, Economy and Manual shift modes and the following ratios: 2.48 (1), 1.48 (2), 1.00 (3), .73 (4). Automatic cars are equipped with a 3.45:1 rear axle ratio with limited slip.
How is the E28 M535i's suspension different from that of the standard E28 5 Series?
The E28 M535i's basic suspension configuration is identical to that of other E28 5 Series models, with MacPherson struts in the front and a semi-trailing arm design in the rear. As an extra-cost option (standard in some markets), the M535i was offered with an M-Technic chassis package consisting of firmer Bilstein shocks, shorter springs and thicker anti-roll bars. The recirculating ball steering rack is identical to the one found in the E28 535i and E28 M5, with an overall ratio of 15:1.
What kind of brakes does the E28 M535i have?
The E28 M535i uses standard 5 Series brakes consisting of 11.2-inch vented discs in the front and 11.2-inch solid discs in the rear. ABS is standard.
What are the factory wheel and tire sizes for the E28 M535i?
The E28 M535i was offered with two different styles alloy wheels, both measuring 165mm x 390mm (about 6.5 x 15.3-inches) and carrying identical 220/55VR390 Michelin TRX tires. The standard M-Technic cast alloy wheels were shared with the European-spec 535i and were the only style offered on South African M535i models. Note: These wheels have black center caps on early European-spec examples and all South African-spec cars, while later European-spec models feature silver center caps. Forged alloy wheels, in the same 390mm size and shared with the M5, M635CSi and various other BMW models, were optional on German-built M535i models.
What distinguishes the exterior of the E28 M535i from that of a standard 5 Series?
The exterior of the E28 M535i is easily distinguished by its M-Technic body panels consisting of body-color front bumper covers front and rear, a deeper front airdam, side valance and rear diffuser (all in body color with a ribbed design), wheel arch extensions and a body-color rear spoiler with black rubber trim. This is identical to the bodywork fitted to all South African-spec E28 M5s as well as some European-spec examples. The E28 M535i also has M-Technic wheels (unless equipped with the optional forged alloy wheels) and "M" badges on the grille and trunk lid. The E28 M535i retains the chrome (non-Shadowline) window trim and black rear-view mirror housings of the standard E28 5 Series but is fitted with dechromed side rub strips and taillight surrounds. However, complete Shadowline trim was offered as an option on Diamond Black metallic, Delphin Grey metallic and Salmon Silver metallic cars. Finally, the E28 M535i was fitted with thin contrasting decorative stripes running down the side of the bodywork below the door handles and continuing along the bottom of the trunk lid.
What distinguishes the interior of the E28 M535i from that of a standard 5 Series?
The interior of the E28 M535i is essentially identical to that of other E28 5 Series models, with the exception of its M three-spoke steering wheel (also fitted to the 535i) and standard sport seats (in cloth or optional leather) that contain the M tri-color stripe (as used on the E28 M5 in some markets).
What features were optional on the E28 M535i?
Optional equipment for the E28 M535i varied from market to market but generally consisted of the close-ratio manual gearbox (standard in some countries), M-Technic sport suspension (standard in some countries), air conditioning, leather upholstery, power sunroof (steel or glass), power front seats, heated front seats, rear headrests, on-board computer, metallic paint, cruise control, headlight washer/wipers and various audio systems.
How is the South African-spec E28 M535i cosmetically different from the European-spec version?
South African-spec E28 M535i models are not fitted with any of the M-Technic body panels and can only be identified by their "M" badges on the grille and trunk lid.. Early examples were also fitted with special M-Technic alloy wheels featuring early-style black center caps, but these were later replaced by regular TRX alloys. Sport front seats in cloth or leather were optional on the South African model.
Special Versions
Color and Upholstery Selections

The following chart lists all regularly available paint colors for the German-built E28 M535i.

NOTE: The South African-assembled E28 M535i models (DC78 and DC88) are not included due their use of specific local paint colors.

Arctic Blue metallic 045 02/1985 through 08/1986
Polaris metallic 060 02/1985 through 08/1986
Cinnabar Red 138 02/1985 through 12/1987
Alpine White 146 02/1985 through 12/1987
Agate Green metallic 177 02/1985 through 08/1986
Diamond Black metallic 181 02/1985 through 12/1987
Royal Blue metallic 198 09/1986 through 12/1987
Salmon Silver metallic 203 09/1986 through 12/1987
Malachite Green metallic 205 09/1986 through 12/1987

The following chart lists all regularly available upholstery colors for the German-built E28 M535i.

NOTE: The South African-assembled M535i models (DC78 and DC88) are not included due their use of specific local upholstery materials.

Anthracite cloth 0129 / 0257 02/1985 through 12/1987
Pacific Blue cloth 0130 / 0258 02/1985 through 12/1987
Pearl Beige cloth 0170 / 0260 02/1985 through 12/1987
Nutria cloth 0169 / 0259 02/1985 through 12/1987
Pine Green cloth 0133 / 0261 02/1985 through 12/1987
Black leatherette 0005 02/1985 through 12/1987
Black leather 0203 02/1985 through 12/1987
Pacific Blue leatherette 0105 02/1985 through 12/1987
Pacifc Blue leather 0204 02/1985 through 12/1987
Nutria leather 0205 02/1985 through 12/1987
Pearl Beige leather 0206 02/1985 through 12/1987
Taurus Red leather 0208 02/1985 through 08/1985
Lama leather 0209 02/1985 through 12/1987
Cardinal Red leather 0256 09/1985 through 12/1987