The BMW M635CSi was a funny car back in its day. It was called an M6 in North America but in Europe, its home continent, it got the M635CSi label. Despite having the same engine as the BMW M5 of the time, the M635CSi was actually about ten thousand British Pounds more expensive. However, it was the fastest BMW on sale at the time and it packed more tech and luxuries than any other Bimmer, too. In this new video, Harry Metcalf checks out the old 6er to see if it’s truly peak ’80s BMW.
It still looks great today. The long sharknose grille, tall windows, and delicate pillars all look so wonderfully simple compared to modern cars. That simplicity makes its way to the cabin, as well. Those same tall windows give it a wonderful greenhouse inside, with excellent visibility, and the dashboard is simply laid out with easy to read gauges. It’s classic ’80s BMW.
However, the star of the show is its engine. The M635CSi used the same 3.5-liter naturally aspirated inline six-cylinder engine as the BMW M5 and the BMW M1. It was a proper race car engine at the time, with six individual throttle bodies and 286 horsepower. It was paired with a five-speed manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive. The best part of the engine, though, is its noise. Even by today’s standards, it makes a wonderfully subdued growl that has more character than almost any modern BMW engine. Plus, thanks to its normal aspiration and individual throttle bodies, its throttle response could still be envied today.
The BMW M635CSi can be seen as the M Performance car of its time. It was incredibly quick but it wasn’t a sports car. It was more comfortable, more relaxed, and more refined than a sports car. In many ways, the M635CSi is the spiritual predecessor to cars like the BMW M850i Coupe. But is it peak ’80s BMW, when there were so many other great Bimmers from that decade? Watch the video to find out.