The first BMW 6 series appeared in the mid-1970s to replace the 2800 CS, 3.0 CS and 3.0 CSi coupes. The new E24 chassis was introduced in 1976 and that first 6 series would remain in business until the late 1980s. The clean, crisp styling by Paul Bracq was certainly up to the job, remaining virtually unchanged throughout and looking as pleasingly modern at the end of the production run as it had at the beginning.
The forward-leaning front end with familiar twin-kidney grille imparted a strong sense of purpose, supported by a wide bonnet, raked windscreen and rear window and neat boot. The side glass was divided by thin B-pillars that were unobtrusive. The cars had independent suspension and disc brakes all round, together with variable power steering for good road feel and the pioneering Check Control system that monitored engine systems, fluid levels and bulbs. The interior was luxurious, with twin bucket seats at the back separated by the extended front console, which joined the impressive angled ‘Cockpit Design’ dashboard.
There would inevitably be engine changes during the life of any such extended production run, but the 6 Series had more than most other long-lived European lines as the models evolved. The 630CS had a 3 litre carbureted six, whilst the 633CSi was fitted with a 3.2 litre six with Bosch fuel injection, adding serious power to style. The 1970s lineup was completed by the 2.8 litre 628CSi and 635CSi, each with fuel injection. The latter was fitted with an uprated 3.4 litre engine in 1982, and the final model was the awesome M635CSi introduced in 1983. These cars were so well built and satisfying that many are still in everyday use, driving as well today as when they came out of the box.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1976 (until 1989)
Various, from 2,788 cc to 3,453 cc Straight Six
630CS – top speed of 131 mph (211 km/h); 0-50 mph (80 km/h) in 5.9 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
There can be slight confusion about model identification because BMW released just one 6 series car at a time in markets with tough emission controls like Japan and the USA, so the 630CSi sent there was actually a standard 630CS with a fuel-injected 2,986 cc engine.