Unfortunately for BMW and the 528i, not all their competitors had been quite so willing to observe the full spirit of the law. Jaguar had managed to get their XJS coupe homologated where BMW had backed away from trying to use the 635. The bigger, V12-powered XJS was considerably faster than the 528i on a single lap, leaving the Germans to rely on a greater level of reliability to stay in touch.
And the tactic worked – the 528i dominated the first half of the 1982 ETCC, one car clinching victory the first five rounds while the second took the Spa 24 Hours. But after the fifth round of the championship the 528i would not taste victory again, and for 1983 BMW chose to take the fight to the XJS with the returning 635 CSi. The 528i's time at the front was over.
One of the 528i's will star in our Group A touring car demo at the 75th Members' Meeting, so we strapped our track tester Andrew Jordan inside to tell us just how it drives.
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Photography by Tom Shaxson