It was produced between 1972 and 1981, initially with four-cylinder engines, fuel injection or carburetor, offered as a 4-door sedan. A year later, a six-cylinder engine was introduced. E12 was the first model of BMW with a stalk on the left side. 518, 520 and 520i were using1.8-2 liters M10 with four-cylinders, while 525, 528, 530, 530i and 533 were with M30 with six cylinders. 528 and 525 were with dual Zenith INAT two-barrel carburetors. The letter I was set on the models with fuel injection. They were offered with 3-speed automatic transmission, and 4 and five-speed manual transmission. Particular models with more powerful engines were introduced such as 530, 530i with the 177hp engine from 3.0S and 197hp from 3.0Si respectively. M535i was another special version produced in 1979. It was with 3.5 liters M90 straight-six engine with 215bhp with a five-speed manual transmission. It had Recaro sports seats, larger brakes, and dogleg close-ratio transmission. 530MLE was introduced in South Africa with 3 liters M30 with 177bhp and lighter weight. In 1976 facelift was added and the hood was redesigned. M10 was substituted with M20 with six cylinders in 520 but remained in 518. 525 and 528 were improved with a single Solex 4A1 DVG four-barrel with 168hp. 518i was criticized for unpredictable handling and wind noise. Approximately 700 000 vehicles were produced.
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