My E28’s Visibility Is Intoxicating


My E28’s Visibility Is Intoxicating

Earlier this Summer, my long hunt for a project car came to an end when I found a rust-free, manual E28-generation BMW 535i with a newer M30B34 swapped in for sale a scant 500 miles from where I live. The car has seen at least 323,000 hard miles in its life, but, after one questionable drive down California’s central valley and a long week at a vintage BMW mechanic, it is back to being the solid, delightful car I had expected. The balanced chassis and the brilliant “big six” have lived up to all of my expectations. One thing, however, absolutely blew me away.

All of my cars before the E28 were either newer things (a base Hyundai Veloster and an E84-generation BMW X1) or much smaller sports cars that prized a short wheelbase at the cost of visibility (a Porsche 914 and an early SLK). The X1 and Veloster shared the worst traits of modern cabins: high beltlines, massive pillars, and a seating position meant to trick you into thinking you are in a far more sporty car. The targa bar in the 914, and to a lesser extent the roll bars in the SLK, actually created a somewhat similar illusion when looking over my right shoulder, an obstruction in an otherwise-clear line of sight. All four had well-bolstered bucket seats that significantly restrict shoulder movement by design.

But the E28 has none of these problems. Instead, this midsize sedan from the early 1980s has such exceptional visibility that this mundane trait has somehow become a major part part of the car’s appeal. For the full story, check out this article from Road & Track.

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