There are certain cars throughout history whose looks age far more gracefully than others. One of those happens to be the E24 6 Series, the original 6 Model Range. With that long, shark nose, short rear deck, skinny pillars and a largely pronounce Hofmeister Kink, the E24 still manages to charm you, forty plus years later.
What was a replacement for the 30CS/i in 1976, the E24 6 Series managed to give high performance straight six engines in a gorgeous, two-seater package to make the ultimate Grand Tourer of the time.
In 1976 there were two options available for the 6 Series, there was the 630CS (CS stood for Coupe Sport) and the 633CSi. The 630CS used a 3.0 liter, carbureted straight six engine, while the 633CSi used a, far more powerful, 3.3 liter, fuel injected straight six. Both engines were paired either to a 5-Speed manual or 4-Speed automatic.
A larger, more powerful engine wasn’t the only upgrade the 633CSi had over the 630CS. A very innovative, for the time, Check Control system was developed for the 6 Series. This CC system would allow drivers to check for oil level or brake fluid levels at the push of a “Test” button. It could also report problems, such as brake linings being low. It was also one of the first cars to have an onboard computer and service interval indicators. This was very innovative and rare in its time.
In 1978, the top-of-the-range 635CSi debuted, as did the entry level 628CSi. Both were fuel injected, as indicated by the “i”. However, the big news came at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1983, when BMW pulled the wrapping off of the M635CSi (which seems where BMW’s alphabet soup naming system started).
The M635CSi (dubbed M6 in America) was a revelation for the time. Using the legendary M1’s 3.5 liter straight-six engine, the M635CSi produced 286 hp and could hit 60 mph in the low six seconds. It was only available with a 5-Speed manual, had stiffer Bilstein shocks, larger ventilated disc brakes and a limited-slip differential as standard.
With that glorious engine, limited-slip differential and those gorgeous looks, the E24 M6 cemented itself into history as one of the better Grand Tourers of all time. It just such a romantic car. From the looks to the interior to the wail of that straight-six engine, the M6 was a Grand Tourer in the truest sense of the term. It also spawned two other successors, although it took quite some time for them to do so.
The E24 6-Series left the conveyor in 1989, and to this day is considered among BMW fans and automotive journalists alike to be probably the best looking post-WW II production BMW. As two Germanys were replaced by one that year, so was the E24 replaced by its ideological but indirect successor – the 8-Series. Waiting for a revival of the 6-Series took until 2003, when the world was given the 6-Series under the code E63.