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  Article Image gallery (13) E28 RA1-05 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Germany
Produced in:1982
Numbers built:20
Price new:DM 85,000
Internal name:E28
Successor:BMW 635 CSi Group A
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:April 08, 2015
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Click here to download printer friendly versionGoing into the 1982 season, BMW was faced with the new Group A regulations for Touring Cars. These stipulated that in order for a model to be homologated at least 5,000 examples had to be produced in one year. Originally developed under the Group 2 regulations, the 635 CSi was BMW's Touring Car of choice in 1981. As the German manufacturer was sure, the luxury two-door coupe would never pass the Group A homologation requirements, the latest 528i was earmarked for the European Touring Car Championship instead.

Together with specialists Eggenberger, BMW developed a kit that converted a standard, road-going E28 5-Series into a Group A Touring Car. The new regulations included a sliding scale of minimum and maximum tyre width based on the engine size, to balance performance. Accordingly, the 528i was stripped from the all the unnecessary components to bring it down to the 1,035 kg weight limit for its displacement bracket. The fuel-injected straight six engine was carefully tuned to produce close to 240 bhp compared to the 180 bhp by the production engine.

While BMW's 528i complied with the letter and the spirit of the regulations, at least one of its rivals was more controversial; the Tom Walkinshaw Racing developed Jaguar XJ-S. Powered by a big V12 engine, this Coupe was similar in many ways to the 635 CSi, BMW was convinced could not be homologated. Fortunately for BMW, it was still early days in the development of the XJ-S, and while it proved quick over a single lap, it was not nearly as reliable as the 528i.

Leading the charge for BMW in 1982 European Touring Car Championship was the two-car BMW Italia effort, which had direct support from Eggenberger. The #1 car piloted by Umberto Grano and Helmut Kelleners dominated the opening rounds of the championship, winning the first five races in a row. Although they did not score another victory, they were crowned champions ahead of Walkinshaw himself. A sister BMW 528i also won the blue ribband Spa 24 Hours race, which was now part of the ETCC.

It is understood that BMW and Eggenberger produced 20 examples of the 528i Group A car. Taking a page out of TWR's book, BMW switched to the 635 CSi and once again beat the Jaguars in 1983. In an era dominated by two-door Touring Cars, the four-door formed an evocative exception.

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  Article Image gallery (13) E28 RA1-05 Specifications