The BMW 6 Series is one of the most iconic and successful grand tourers in the history of the German automaker. It debuted in 1976 as a successor to the legendary E9 3.0 CSL coupe, which had won several touring car championships and earned a cult following among enthusiasts. The E24 6 Series was designed by Paul Bracq, who had also worked on the E9 and other BMW models, as well as Mercedes-Benz and Peugeot cars. The BMW 6 Series (E24) offered a combination of luxury, performance, and style that appealed to a wide range of customers, from business executives to sports car lovers.
The Precursor To The BMW M6
But among all the variants of the 6 Series, there was one that stood out as the ultimate expression of BMW’s engineering and motorsport prowess: the M635CSi. This model, introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1983, was the first in the line of M6 models that would continue to this day. It was powered by a 3.5-liter straight-six engine derived from the BMW M1 supercar, which was developed by BMW Motorsport GmbH, the high-performance division of BMW. This engine, known as the M88/3, featured a double overhead camshaft design, four valves per cylinder, individual throttle bodies, and a Bosch Motronic fuel injection system. It produced 282 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque, making it one of the most powerful engines of its time.
Fast Even By Today’s Standards
The M635CSi could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 158 mph, making it one of the fastest cars of its time. It also had a sporty chassis with stiffer suspension, larger brakes, limited-slip differential, and a close-ratio five-speed manual transmission. The exterior was distinguished by a deeper front spoiler, a rear spoiler, flared wheel arches, and M badges. The interior featured Recaro sport seats, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an instrument cluster with an oil temperature gauge and a voltmeter.
The M635CSi was not only a fast and agile car, but also a comfortable and refined one. It had power windows, power sunroof, power steering, air conditioning, cruise control, central locking, and an onboard computer. It also had a high-quality sound system with a cassette player and an equalizer. The trunk was spacious enough to accommodate luggage for long trips.
The M635CSi was sold in most parts of the world under that name, but in Japan and North America it was called the M6. However, the North American version had a different engine, known as the S38B35, which was based on the regular 635CSi engine but with some modifications to meet emission standards. The S38B35 had lower compression ratio, catalytic converters, and less aggressive camshafts. As a result, it produced 256 horsepower and 243 lb-ft of torque, which was still impressive but slightly less than the European version.
Called The M6 In The United States
The M6 was also slightly heavier than the M635CSi due to additional equipment such as airbags and anti-lock brakes. The performance figures were slightly lower as well: 0 to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds and top speed of 155 mph. The exterior and interior features were mostly identical to the European version. The M635CSi/M6 was a rare and exclusive car, with only 5,855 units produced worldwide between 1983 and 1989. It was also an expensive car, with a price tag of around $60,000 in the US market and £37,000 in the UK market. But it was worth every penny for those who wanted to experience the ultimate driving machine.
A Timeless Classic
BMW’s M635CSi is now a highly sought-after classic car by collectors and enthusiasts who appreciate its beauty, performance, and heritage. It is a car that represents the best of BMW’s engineering and design in the 1980s. It also faced some fierce competition from other high-end coupes at the time, such as the Porsche 928 S4, the Jaguar XJ-S V12 HE, and the Mercedes-Benz SEC AMG.
The BMW M635CSi is a car that still captivates people today with its timeless design and thrilling performance. It is a car that deserves respect and admiration from anyone who loves cars. And in these photos, courtesy of BMW UK, we get to see a fine example of the BMW M635CSi. [Photos: BMW UK]