BMW recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of the M5 with a very limited, special edition of the super sedan. And even before the original version was transporting German executives at ludicrous speeds down the Autobahn, the folks in the M department tried their hand at improving the 5 Series with the M535i. Only offered in 1980 and 1981, the company made just 1,650 of these top-spec models, but they sowed the seeds for the future.

In this video looking back at the M535i, you really see the automaker from a completely different era. As an outgrowth of the company's touring car racing efforts, the special model packs a 3.5-liter inline-six rated at 218 horsepower, a powertrain capable of accelerating the M535i to 62 miles per hour in 7.5 seconds via a dogleg five-speed gearbox. This take on the 5 Series is also a visual treat because it mixes the standard version's skinny A-pillar and thick C-pillar styling with some era-specific upgrades. The corduroy-covered Recaro seats and groovy multicolor stripes down the side, on the air dam and at the rear are especially fun touches. While the video's announcer is a bit dull, there's nothing boring about this rare, vintage BMW. Take a trip back in time with this clip, it's a nice bookend to the Petrolicious E28 5 Series family video we showed you yesterday.


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