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BMW 528i


Year: 1999? 
Class: Mid-Size Luxury Car
Type: Sedan

Country: Germany
Host: GT2

Price: 61,500

Length: 187.9" // Width: 70.8" // Height: 56.4"
Wheelbase: 111.4"
Track: 59.5" [F] 60.1" [R]
Curb Weight: 3,472 lbs.
Weight Distribution: 54 / 46 %
Ground Clearance: 5.9"
Tires: ?
Front Suspension: MacPherson strut / coil / anti-roll bar
Rear Suspension: multilink / coil / anti-roll bar
Brakes: vented discs front & rear

Engine: 2.8 liter DOHC inline-6
Redline: 5,500 // RPM Limit: 6,000
Aspiration: normal
Fuel System: electronic fuel injection
Valves per Cylinder: 4
Bore x Stroke: 3.31" x 3.31"
Compression Ratio: 10.2:1
Layout: Front Engine / Rear Drive
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Tested HP: ```193 @ 5,500 rpm
Tstd Torque: 207 @ 2,000 rpm
Pound / HP ratio: 17.98
Hp / litre: 68.93

0-60 mph: 9.6 seconds
0-100 mph: 28.8 seconds
400 M: 17.171 @ 81 mph
1 KM:
31.371 @ 103 mph
Test Track time: 2:04.156
Top Speed: 137.72 @ 4,700 rpm


Ever wonder what it would be like to have a killer high-paying job, find yourself with enough cash to buy a luxury car, and then take it to the race tracks? Me too.

Being a naïve American, I somehow got the notion that all German cars (the pricier ones, anyways) are fully capable of taking on the Autobahn. In other words, I fully expected that this car would come loaded with at least 300 hp. This 3,472 pound car is therefore a bit underpowered. It's not really race-ready like an AMG E55 or Lexus GS300 is, but with a bit of work (and credits spent) we can take the 528i there.

Just so you know: many BMW's have a 3-number designation, and they're not just a random figure--they actually mean something. The first number (in this case, the number 5) designates the body style. The next 2 numbers (28) are the approximate engine size of 2.8 liters. And the 'i', of couse, stands for injection...as in fuel-injection. Some BMW's have a t or an e at the end of their 3-number model name, which stand for turbo or economy. I learn something new everyday making this dumb website!

Obviously, the first step is to take some weight off...as much as can be afforded. Reductions will take the 528 down to 3,008 pounds, which still seems a lot, but generally German cars have suspension systems built to withstand a lot of punishment and weight. With pounds minimized, the 528i handles itself quite well. Weight distribution is 54% up front, 46% rear, so there isn't excessive amounts of oversteer in this car like you'll experience in some other GT2 luxury sedans *cough cough* Jaguar! *coughAstonMartin!*

At $61,500, the 528 is expensive, but guess what? You're credit-rich, and racing a Beemer!

----------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN------------------

With a bit of research, one quickly realizes that Gran Turismo's data collectors goofed: the real BMW 528i comes standard with 193 horsepower, not 142! GT was quoting the PS figure, not the HP, and to me 142 seemed really low even before I got the correct power from the www.carfolio.com website.

As mentioned previously, the inline-6 in this car is a tad underpowered, but surprisingly adept at acceleration in the first two gears. 3rd and 4th are taller; made for smooth but fast Autobahn cruising, and 5th tops  everything at a bit of a slow 137 mph. At this point, you'll still have 800 rpm left on the tachometer before the car red-lines. The higher gears (3rd and above) can take the 528i's engine below the torque curve, especially if you've got a super-light flywheel, just so you know. You'll find this car's acceleration over 90 mph sluggish during racing situations. Smooth, but sluggish. A capable but mediocre choice for some of GT2's best races.

The close-ratio gearboxes improve acceleration, but sacrifice top-speed, so a serious enthusiast should invest in fully-modifyable gearing. The good thing about this Beemer's power is it starts out low enough that you can enter it in some B-license races, and the fun won't end till you've completed the Euro-Pacific Regionals, once you've got the power tweaked all the way to its max of 320 horses.

Unfortunately, the 528i is too weak to go any further, and only those who are adept at fighting off the competition in the Regionals will be sucessful at staying ahead. It's no big loss: there are several other lighter BMW cars available in GT2, after all.

----------------CHASSIS / HANDLING-----------------

As a 10-year old kid, I lived in Germany and got to see plenty of high-paced driving.

German society tends to be a bit rigid and controlled; the road (and the bierhäus) are some of the few places an adult can vent. There's a lot of tail-gating, a lot of headlight flashing on German highways...a lot of fist-shaking. It's not always a pretty sight to witness! On the contrary, I remember the Autobahn as being taken by many in a serious manner. People drove fast, but they also followed the rules of the road. Passing is only accomplished on the inside lane--and if YOU happened to be there when someone came up behind, they had every right to flash their lights, shake their fists, and beep their horn at you.

Anyways, the good thing is: German cars like the BMW 528i are made to withstand the pressure. Not only are they well-built... not only are they usually equipped with tires rated for fast driving, but these cars can ALSO handle the multitude of crappy cobblestone streets found all over Europe. What this means in Gran Turismo is we have a very well-bred automobile to play with here.

Install a semi-racing suspension, and the spring rates jump from 3.5 kg/mm (front) and 2.6 kg/mm (rear) to nearly twice these amounts, which will be fine for all of the racing you'll encounter. The 528i can handle everything from the mirror-smooth banks of Red Rocks to the schizophrenically bumpy streets of Seattle, and will do so WITHOUT help from an LSD unit or traction controls.

We can go a long way before needing to worry about excessive wheel-spin or oversteer, believe it or not, mostly since power isn't rated so high in this unfortunate situation. The brake balance controller is a good buy to diminish unwanted sliding when slowing though, so dont become too much of a spendthrift. You can even set the rear higher than the front if you want your car to slide & drift more.

Whatever you do, race this car hard! The 528i can handle it. It's a shame some earlier, sportier BMW sedans (like the 2002 series) aren't in GT2, and we're all still pissed that the M-series versions are absent from this game, but at least this German yuppy mobile is here. Let's have some fun with it.



1). For a RWD heavyweight, this car handles the road well. Oversteer happens, yet is very manageable. Very stable car on a wide variety of tracks.

2). Stock gearbox is tuned for a mixture of acceleration and speed, which becomes more apparent once the engine is tweaked.

3). The 528i is underpowered, but this also means it will qualify to enter in a wide number of races, right up to the high-paying Euro-Pacific Regionals.


1). Engine is underpowered, and can only be tweaked to 320 hp. Part of this is Polyphony Digital's fault for under-bidding the stock engine's power (149 versus the real-life 193).

2). Acceleration is a bit lacking unless you've got new parts under the hood.

3). Close-ratio gearboxes are both too short for lots of tracks. Stock gearing often is too tall to be competitively effective.

4). 5,500 rpm red-line seems low for a 6-cylinder. Gotta be another Polyphony goof?

5). Heavy.

6). Expensive. But at least we don't need to deal narcotics or practice law to afford one.

7). No race-kit.  

Originally Published: sometime in 2004
Edited: various times over the years.