Without a shadow of a doubt one of BMW’s greatest hits, the 635CSi is appreciated even by diehard Mercedes and Audi fans. The sports coupe has withstood the test of time as it still looks drop-dead gorgeous more than four decades since its launch back in 1978. It was updated throughout the years, but the United States generally got the shorter end of the stick since North America had a less powerful version.
A later example manufactured in 1988, a year before the E24 generation was retired, has been spotted recently at a car show sitting next to another interesting car – a Nissan 300ZX. Riding on period-correct BBS wheels, this 635CSi appears to be in mint condition inside and out. It rides a bit too low to the ground for our tastes, but other than that, it’s a fine example of the iconic Sharknose.
While it’s no M635CSi, it is a 1988 model with the upgraded 3.4-liter engine producing 208 horsepower (155 kilowatts) and 225 pound-feet (305 Newton-meters) of torque that gave it similar performance to the version sold in Europe. It’s no surprise this particular car has the automatic transmission as three out of four 635CSis sold in 1988 and 1989 had only two pedals, according to Hemmings.
Being built during the final years of the E24 generation, it’s a more luxurious version of the 635CSi, wearing a Quebec license plate. It’s certainly one of the well-maintained examples we’ve ever seen since many have been abused and crashed. The car’s history is not known so it’s unclear whether it has been restored or previous owners took great care of it during the last 33 years.
The 635CSi reminds us of an era when BMW styling was universally appreciated, which sadly isn’t the case nowadays as the company’s most recent design language has generated a lot of controversy among fans.