BMW 6 Series (E24)

The BMW E24 series was the first BMW 6 Series coupé, produced by the German automaker BMW between the 1976 and 1989 model years. The 6 Series name reappeared with the BMW E63 chassis beginning in the 2004 model year. The E24 borrowed heavily from contemporary 5-series cars (E12, later E28).
1976–1989 (86,216 built)
Dingolfing, West Germany
Rheine, West Germany
Body style
2-door coupé
FR layout
2.8L−3.5L I6
2,626 mm (103.4 in)
4,755 mm (187.2 in)
4,923 mm (193.8 in) (US)
1,725 mm (67.9 in)
1,365 mm (53.7 in)
1,354 mm (53.3 in) (M6)
Curb weight
1,450 kg (3,200 lb)–1,520 kg (3,400 lb)
Paul Bracq

Model history

The E24 was a replacement for the CS and CSL coupés first produced in 1965. The CS 3.0 was almost changed by adding a few centimeters in height to make it easier for customers to get into the car. However, Bob Lutz rebelled against the decision and rough drafted an alternative version that soon became the 6 series. Production started in March 1976 with two models: the 630CS and 633CSi. Originally the bodies were manufactured by Karmann, but production was later taken in-house to BMW.
In July 1978 a more powerful variant, the 635CSi, was introduced (for the time being not available in North America and Japan) that featured as standard a special close-ratio 5-speed gearbox and a single piece black rear spoiler. The bigger bore and shorter stroke facilitated max 218 hp at 5200rpm and a better torque curve. For the first year, the 635CSi was offered in three colors (Polaris, Henna Red, Graphite), and could also be spotted by the front air dam that did not have attached fog lights. These simple cosmetic changes reportedly worked to reduce uplift on the car at high speeds by almost 15% over the non-spoiler body shape. This early model shared suspension components with the inaugural BMW 5-series, the E12.In 1979 the carburetted 630CS was replaced with the 628CSi; this car had a fuel injected 2.8L engine taken from the BMW 528i.In 1980 the 635CSi gained the central locking system that is also controlled from the trunk. Also, the E24 body style converted from L-jetronic injection to a Bosch Motronic DME.In 1982 (Europe) and 1983 (US), the E24 changed slightly in appearance, with an improved interior and slightly modified exterior. At the same time, the 635CSi received a new engine, a slightly smaller-bored and longer-stroked 3430 cc six to replace the former 3453 cc engine and became available with a wide-ratio 5-speed manual or an automatic.This slight change in 1982 (Europe) was in fact a major change as pre 1982 cars were based on the E12 5 Series chassis and later cars were based on the much improved E28 chassis. The only parts that remained the same were some of the exterior body panels. This fact can be verified by studying the parts lists.E24s produced after June 1987 came with new, ellipsoid headlamps which projects beam more directly onto road surface (newly introduced E32 series also sporting them). The sleeker European bumpers were also discontinued. Previous cars had either a European-standard bumper or a larger, reinforced bumper to meet the US standard requiring bumpers to withstand impact at 5 mph (8 km/h) without damage to safety-related components. 1989 was the last year for the E24 with production stopping in April. The E24 was supplanted by the considerably heavier, more complex, and more exclusive E31.

M version

BMW M88 engine
BMW Motorsport introduced M 635 CSi in Europe at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1983. It is essentially an E24 powered by the powerplant of the BMW M1 - the M88 (286 PS (210 kW; 282 hp)). Most of the cars were equipped with special metric 415 mm diameter wheels requiring Michelin TRX tires. A catalyzed, lower compression ratio version of the car with the S38 engine (260 PS (190 kW; 260 hp)) was introduced in the U.S. in 1987. All M6 cars came standard with a 25% rear limited slip differential. U.S. models included additional comforts that were usually optional on models sold in Europe such as Nappa leather power seats and a dedicated rear A/C unit with a center beverage chiller. Car and Driver tested a U.S. M6 in July 1987 and achieved a 0-60 time of 6.1 seconds, better than the BMW published 6.4 and 6.8 second times for the European and U.S. versions respectively. 4,088 M 635CSi cars were built between 1983 and 1988 with 1,767 U.S. M6 built.

Model years

630 CS
1976 – 1979
633 CSi
1976 – 1982
630 CSi (US)
1977 – 1978
633 CSi (US)
1978 – 1984
635 CSi
1978 – 1989
628 CSi
1979 – 1987
M 635 CSi
1983 – 1989
635 CSi (US)
1985 – 1989
L6 (US)
M6 (US)
1987 - 1989

Technical data

Manufacturer's figures except where stated (does not include North American and Japanese models).
628 CSi
630 CS
633 CSi
635 CSi
635 CSi
M 635 CSi
Max. Power @ rpm: 
184 PS (135 kW; 181 hp) @ 5800
185 PS (136 kW; 182 hp) @ 5800
197 PS (145 kW; 194 hp) @ 5500
218 PS (160 kW; 215 hp) @ 5200
218 PS (160 kW; 215 hp) @ 5200
286 PS (210 kW; 282 hp) @ 6500
Max. Torque @ rpm: 
235 Nm (173 lbft) @ 4200
255 Nm (188 lbft) @ 3500
284 Nm (209 lbft) @ 4300
304 Nm (224 lbft) @ 4000
304 Nm (224 lbft) @ 4000
333 Nm (246 lbft) @ 4500
Fuel tank capacity: 
70 L (18.5 US gal; 15.4 imp gal)
4-speed manual, from 1979 5-speed manual (wide- or close-ratio)
on request 3-speed automatic, from 1983 4-speed automatic
rear wheel drive
5-speed manual
rear wheel drive
Front suspension: 
McPherson axle, coil springs, stabilising bar
Rear suspension:: 
Trailing arms, struts, coil springs, stabilising bar
ZF recirculating ball steering, power assisted
Dry weight: 
1,450 kg (3,200 lb)
1,475 kg (3,250 lb)
1,495 kg (3,300 lb)
1,520 kg (3,400 lb)
1,470 kg (3,200 lb)
1,510 kg (3,300 lb)
Track front/
1,422 mm (56.0 in) 1,487 mm (58.5 in)
1,422 mm (56.0 in) 1,487 mm (58.5 in)
1,422 mm (56.0 in) 1,487 mm (58.5 in)
1,430 mm (56 in) 1,460 mm (57 in)
1,430 mm (56 in) 1,460 mm (57 in)
1,430 mm (56 in) 1,464 mm (57.6 in)
2,626 mm (103.4 in)
2,626 mm (103.4 in)
2,626 mm (103.4 in)
2,626 mm (103.4 in)
2,626 mm (103.4 in)
2,626 mm (103.4 in)
Top speed: 
215 km/h (134 mph)
210 km/h (130 mph)
215 km/h (134 mph)
222 km/h (138 mph)
225 km/h (140 mph)
255 km/h (158 mph)

Models for North America and Japan

While in most markets several E24 versions were usually available, markets with strict emission control regulations received only a single model (except for the M6 that was later offered additionally). This meant that in North America and Japan, BMW offered the following models:
1988 US version BMW M6 with 5mph bumper
1980's US market 635 CSi, rear view
  • 630CSi (MY 1977 through 1978½)
  • 633CSi (MY 1978½ through 1984)
  • 635CSi (MY 1985 through 1989)
  • L6 (MY 1987 - Luxury Edition 635CSi NA-only)
  • M6 (MY 1987 through 1989)
In 1977, the 6er was released in the US as the 630CSi. This was a fuel-injected version of the carburetted 630CS available elsewhere. Its 3-litre engine developed 176 horsepower (131 kW) and 185 lbft (251 Nm) of torque.
In mid-model year 1978 the 630CSi was replaced by the 633CSi. US/Japan specification 633CSi cars had the M30 3.2-litre 181 hp (135 kW) engine until 1984. In 1985 the car was renamed 635CSi, displacement was increased to 3.4 litres and horsepower increased slightly to 182 hp (136 kW). The big difference, however, was torque. Whereas the 3.2-litre had 195 lbft (264 Nm) at 4,000 rpm, the 3.4 litre powerplant managed 214 lbft (290 Nm) at 4,000 rpm.
From model year 1983, North American and Japanese versions benefitted from the technical revisions and changes to the interior introduced elsewhere in spring or summer 1982. Its chassis was now based on the E28 and no longer on the E12. The front and rear suspension was also revised. Later a self-levelling rear suspension was added to the 635 CSi and M6 features list in 1988.
The US received its own M series E24 in 1987 called the M6. The S38 powerplant found in the US model had several modifications from the M88 powerplant in the European model, most notably: a double row timing chain, modified cam tray, different valve lengths, a slightly different cam profile, less elaborate exhaust manifold (rather than full headers), Bosch X5DC copper spark plugs (instead of Bosch Silver plugs on the M88) and the introduction of an oxygen sensor for the EFI. These changes coupled with the introduction of a catalytic converter for emission regulations reduced the output to 256 hp (191 kW). The US model also included a variety of options usually available on European models, to include: heated power seats, sport tuned self-levelling rear suspension, A/C cooled ice box between the rear seats, A/C vents for rear seat occupants, sunshade for rear occupants and an 8 speaker "premium" sound system.
In 1988, the US E24 was now available with the newest version of the M30, the 3.4L (first used in the E32 735i). Even though the intake manifold states 3.5 it's technically a 3.4 (3430cc) like the previous 3.4. This engine had an increased compression ratio, and updated Motronics/DME. The result was 208 hp (155 kW) and 225 lbft (305 Nm) torque. In effect, this engine was identical to the catalyzed version newly available in Germany and other markets.

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Last updated on 16 June 2013 at 13:05.


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