Market Watch: BMW 5 Series surge

Price bulletin, 7 April 2021.

Classic Cars magazine

by Phil Bell |

E28-generation (1981-87) prices are up by an average of 22%.

Leading the charge is the M535i, with an 18% jump, enough to push it into our top 20 Price Guide Movers On The Up this month. Entry level for project cars is typically £3k but double that buys something you can use, then the price doubles again for mint examples with the best now typically £16k.

Compare those with last year's figures and we've seen a 22% growth based on an average of all condition levels, so they're accelerating right now. That's driven by ever-growing fascination with Eighties performance icons multiplied by scarcity of survivors – the DVLA records just 85 in the UK, though a £13,745 price tag at launch ensured these Munich hot rods were never exactly street furniture.

Stronger demand than supply extends right across the E28 range, so the non-M cars have jumped 7.7% in that same update, against a lower baseline. In equivalent condition, you'll typically pay £1.5k, £3.5k, £7.25k and £10.5k, with the more desirable six-cylinder models pulling up averages over the four-cylinder cars. There's something defining about a BMW straight six.

Talking of defining features, the E28 generation was the last shark-nosed 5 Series before Ercole Spada's more slippery E34 shape replaced it in 1988. Nostalgia for those ealrier aggressively-fronted BMWs is also driving prices of the E24 6 Series coupé and the original E21-generation 3 Series which at one point was being overlooked in favour of the Eighties E30 that brought the marque to such prominence in the Eighties. Some cars are coveted from new via their secondhand and twilight years, passing seemlessly into classic acceptance; others need to almost disappear from our roads before we appreciate what we're about to lose.

Price Guide Movers On The Up is part of 30 pages of market tips, analysis and buying advice in the latest issue of Classic Cars

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us