BMW 5 Series (E12)

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BMW 5 Series (E12)
Bmw e12 v sst.jpg
Overview
Production1972–1981
AssemblyGermany
Body and chassis
ClassExecutive car (E)
Body style4-door sedan/saloon
LayoutRear-wheel drive
RelatedBMW 6 Series (E24)
Powertrain
EnginePetrol:
Dimensions
Wheelbase2,636 mm (103.8 in)
Length
  • 4,620 mm (181.9 in)
Width1,690 mm (66.5 in)
Height1,425 mm (56.1 in)
Chronology
PredecessorBMW New Class
SuccessorBMW 5 Series (E28)
E12 Interior

The BMW E12 is the first generation of 5 Series mid-size luxury sedans, which was produced from 1972 to 1981 and replaced the BMW New Class sedans.

Initial models were powered by four-cylinder engines, using either a carburettor or fuel-injection. A year after launch, the first model powered by a six-cylinder engine was introduced. By the final years of E12 production, most models used a six-cylinder engine.

There was no M5 model for the E12, however the E12 M535i is considered to be the predecessor to the M5.[1][2] The E24 6 Series coupes were built on the E12 platform up until 1982.

The E12 was replaced by the E28 5 Series in 1981, although E12 assembly continued until 1984 in South Africa.

Styling[edit]

Rear view

The E12 5-series Chief of design was Paul Bracq,[3][4][5] with Marcello Gandini of Bertone co-designing the exterior.[6][7]

At the 1970 Geneva Motor Show, BMW unveiled the 2200ti Garmisch concept car, a 2-door sedan which was developed in conjunction with Bertone.[8] Although the 2200ti Garmisch concept car was shown as a potential replacement for the New Class sedans, the eventual E12 production model utilized many design elements from the Garmisch.

BMW had previously located turn signal stalks on the right hand side of the steering wheels, and the E12 was their first model to have the stalk on the left side.[9][10]

Engines[edit]

Model Engine Power Torque Years
518 M10 (M118)
4-cyl
66 kW (89 hp)
at 5,500 rpm
142 N⋅m (105 lb⋅ft)
at 3,500 rpm
1974–1981
520 M10 (M17)
4-cyl
85 kW (114 hp)
at 5,800 rpm
162 N⋅m (119 lb⋅ft)
at 3,700 rpm
1972–1977
520i M10 (M64)
4-cyl
92 kW (123 hp)
at 5,700 rpm
172 N⋅m (127 lb⋅ft)
at 4,350 rpm
1972–1975
96 kW (129 hp)
at 5,800 rpm
178 N⋅m (131 lb⋅ft)
at 4,500 rpm
1975–1977
520/6 M20B20
6-cyl
92 kW (123 hp)
at 6,000 rpm
160 N⋅m (118 lb⋅ft)
at 4,000 rpm
1976–1981
525 M30B25
6-cyl
107 kW (143 hp)
at 6,000 rpm
211 N⋅m (156 lb⋅ft)
at 3,700 rpm
1973–1976
110 kW (148 hp)
at 5,800 rpm
208 N⋅m (153 lb⋅ft)
at 4,000 rpm
1976–1981
528 M30B28
6-cyl
121 kW (162 hp)
at 5,800 rpm
234 N⋅m (173 lb⋅ft)
at 4,000 rpm
1974–1976
125 kW (168 hp)
at 5,800 rpm
234 N⋅m (173 lb⋅ft)
at 4,000 rpm
1976–1978
528i M30B28
6-cyl
129 kW (173 hp)
at 5,800 rpm
235 N⋅m (173 lb⋅ft)
at 4,300 rpm
1977–1978
(US only)
126 kW (169 hp)
at 5,600 rpm
230 N⋅m (170 lb⋅ft)
at 4,500 rpm
1979–1981
(US only)
135 kW (181 hp)
at 5,800 rpm
235 N⋅m (173 lb⋅ft)
at 4,200 rpm
1978–1981
530 M30B30
6-cyl
130 kW (174 hp)
at 5,800 rpm
250 N⋅m (184 lb⋅ft)
at 3,500 rpm
1975–1978
(South Africa only)
530i 131 kW (176 hp)
at 5,500 rpm
251 N⋅m (185 lb⋅ft)
at 4,500 rpm
1975–1978
(US only)
530 MLE 147 kW (197 hp)
at 5,800 rpm
251 N⋅m (185 lb⋅ft)
at 3,500 rpm
1976
(South Africa only)
533i M30B32
6-cyl
147 kW (197 hp)
at 5,500 rpm
290 N⋅m (214 lb⋅ft)
at 4,250 rpm
1979–1981
M535i M90
6-cyl
160 kW (215 hp)
at 5,200 rpm
310 N⋅m (229 lb⋅ft)
at 4,000 rpm
1979–1981

The data above are manufacturer claims.[11] All power and torque figures are measured according to the German Standard DIN 70020.

M10 4-cylinder engine

The 518, 520 and 520i models were fitted with the 1.8 L and 2.0 L M10 four-cylinder engines, as per the previous New Class sedans. The 525, 528, 530, 530i and 533i models were fitted with M30 six-cylinder engines, as used in the New Six large sedans and E9 coupes.

The 518 had its fuel supplied by a Solex carburetor,[12][13] while the initial (four-cylinder) 520 model used twin Stromberg 175CDET carburettors.[14][15] The six-cylinder 525 and 528 models used dual Zenith INAT two-barrel carburettors up until the 1976 facelift.[16][17]

Fuel-injected models have the letter i at the end of their model designation. The 520i used the Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection system from the 2000tii and 2002tii.[18] The 530i (only sold in the US) was powered by an M30 engine using Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection.[19]

Drivetrain[edit]

The 4-speed manual transmission options consisted of:[20]

  • Getrag 242 4-speed (for M10/M20/M30 engine models)
  • Getrag 262 4-speed (M30 engine)
  • ZF S4-18/3 4-speed (M30 engine)

The 5-speed manual transmission options consisted of:

  • Getrag 235 5-speed (M10 engine)
  • Getrag 245 5-speed (M10/M20 engines)
  • Getrag 265 5-speed (M30 engine)

The automatic transmission options- all 3-speed transmissions- consisted of:

  • ZF 3HP12 (M10 engine)
  • ZF 3HP20 (M30 engine)
  • ZF 3HP22 (M20/M30 engines)
  • BorgWarner BW65 (M30 engine)

Special models[edit]

Motorsport versions[edit]

Beginning in 1974 BMW Motorsport offered the Motorsport 530 or 530i as a special order upgrade for the 525/528/528i. The 530 model used the carburetted 132 kW (177 hp) engine from the BMW 3.0S[21] and the 530i used the fuel-injected 147 kW (197 hp) engine from the BMW 3.0Si.[22][23] Other modifications were a rear axle ratio of 3.45:1 (3.25:1 for the 530i),[22] a 25% LSD, vented disc brakes, Bilstein shock absorbers, Scheel or Recaro sports seats, a sports steering wheel, light alloy wheels on lower profile tyres plus optional (often omitted) front-rear air-dams/spoilers.[23]

Later, the similar Motorsport 533i and 535i packages were available for the 528i but featuring the 3.2L and 3.5L engines from the 633CSi and 635CSi.[24][25]

M535i[edit]

The first M-badged 5 Series was the M535i,[26] which began production in 1979. The M535i is powered by the 3.5 L (214 cu in) M90 straight-six engine which produces 160 kW (215 bhp). The sole gearbox choice is a 5-speed manual and 1,650 M535i cars were produced.[27] Features include front and rear spoilers, sports suspension, Recaro sport seats, the steering wheel from the BMW M1, a dogleg close-ratio transmission, a limited-slip differential and larger brakes.[28][29][30]

530 MLE[edit]

In South Africa, the 530 MLE was produced as a homologation special for racing, with 218 cars produced.[31][32] The engine is a 3.0 L (183 cu in) M30, producing 132 kW (177 bhp).[33] Significant weight reduction measures were undertaken, included body panels made from aluminium or thinner steel.[34]

Alpina B7[edit]

Alpina B7 S Turbo

The Alpina B7 Turbo and B7 S Turbo were based on the E12.

Model year changes[edit]

1974[edit]

  • 518 and 528 models introduced,[35][36] producing 66 kW (89 hp) and 121 kW (162 hp) respectively.[37](p89)

1975[edit]

1976 facelift[edit]

With the introduction of the E23 7 Series, the E12 received a facelift in September 1976. The styling was overseen by Claus Luthe.[39] The rear-mounted gasoline filler door was relocated to the side of the car and the taillights were widened. The hood was redesigned to a give a 'power bulge' which accentuated the BMW kidney grille, and the dashboard ventilation was repositioned to improve air distribution.

As part of the facelift, the 520 model switched from the M10 four-cylinder to the M20 six-cylinder engine, with the post-facelift 520 model often referred to as the 520/6. However, the four-cylinder 2.0 continued to be used in South Africa, due to local content laws. Even after the M20 entered local production in 1979, the 2-litre M10 continued to be available with "518" badges in South Africa.[40]

For the 525 and 528 models, the dual Zenith carburettors were replaced with a single Solex 4A1 DVG four-barrel,[41][42] which increased power to 125 kW (168 hp) in the 528.[43](p25)

1978[edit]

  • The 528i model, using Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, begins production in July[44] as a replacement for the 528 (carburettor engine) which was discontinued in September 1977.

1979[edit]

  • 533i and M535i models introduced

North American models[edit]

Initially, only the fuel-injected six-cylinder 530i was sold in the US. Changes for American-market E12s include lower compression pistons, exhaust gas recirculation, an air pump and modified exhaust manifolds called Thermal Reactors.[45] The North American E12 models had larger bumpers (designed to withstand a 5 mph (8.0 km/h) collision without body damage), which increased the overall length by 206 mm (8.1 in).

In an attempt to convince BMW that a more powerful air conditioner was needed for the United States market, two BMW engineers were subjected to a long trip to Texas in the rear seat of a black BMW 530i with the power windows disabled.[citation needed]

For the 1979 model year, the 528i replaced the 530i.[46] To reduce emissions, the thermal reactor and air pump system were replaced with a 3-way catalytic converter and the car's Bosch L-jetronic fuel injection system was now fitted with an exhaust gas oxygen sensor.[47][48] Power was reduced by 5 kW (7 bhp), and the presence of the catalytic converter meant that unleaded gasoline (petrol) was required.[45]

Critical reception[edit]

While being commended for its acceleration and build-quality, Modern Motor criticised the 1978 528i for unpredictable handling and excessive body roll.[49][50] Steering corrections during cornering meant the car's body "lurches back annoyingly and messily", in part due to the soft springing and hard damping combination. In comparison to the Jaguar XJ6 and Peugeot 604, the car was viewed as narrow and cramped in the rear and prone to wind noise.[51]

Production[edit]

Production of the E12 occurred from June 1972 to 1981[52] and was located at the plant in Dingolfing, Germany.[53] The production total for the E12 is 699,094 units.[54]

Complete knock-down assembly of German-produced kits took place in Rosslyn, South Africa[55] and Jakarta, Indonesia (by Gaya Motor)[56]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ramey, Jay (ed.). "Watch BMW look back at the M5's predecessor [BMW commercial]". www.autoweek.com. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  2. ^ "The Seven Best BMW 5-Series of All Time". www.roadandtrack.com. 2016-11-09. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  3. ^ Norbye, Jan P. (1984). "Expanding on Excellence: The 5-Series and 3-Series". BMW - Bavaria's Driving Machines. Skokie, IL: Publications International. p. 209. ISBN 978-0-517-42464-3. Dimensionally, the 5 Series differed only slightly from its New Class predecessors, but Paul Bracq's modern, stylish four-door body was far less boxy in appearance.
  4. ^ "Legendary Car Designer Paul Bracq Remembers His BMW Years". www.carscoops.com. 2014-12-18. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
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  11. ^ Models table data sources:
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