BMW M635CSi: Spotted

The general reception to the current BMW M6 hasn't been particularly positive on PH. Whilst the standard coupe scored a respectable 7.02 average on the PH O'Meter, the Gran Coupe has a mean figure of just 3.97. The Competition Pack driven by Chris Harris yesterday currently sits at 4.81.

Centre-exits exhausts = instant cool
Centre-exits exhausts = instant cool
So what's the problem? It seems to be an issue of involvement, M Division's latest products seeming to detach the driver as they deliver ever more impressive numbers. That and the two-tonne weight presumably...

It therefore seemed the perfect opportunity to feature a classic M-car, one of the models that forged its reputation as a builder of stunning driver's machinery and a rare classic to boot; the E24 M635 CSi.

As is the case now, the flagship 6 Series used the M5's engine and gearbox. For the M635 CSi and E28 M5, this was a 3,453cc straight-six based on the M1's unit but with a wet-sump and Bosch fuel injection. Its 286hp is around half the Competition Pack's 575hp, but it was capable of 150mph, much like the M6 (limited of course).

And you thought the outside looked good!
And you thought the outside looked good!
And in classic M tradition (okay, M3 GTS aside), the M635 was a subtle and restrained performance car. The front bumper was more aggressive, there's a couple of M badges and some different wheels but that really is it, with the vast majority of body panels carried over from the standard E24. It's discreet but still imposing; that shark-nose grille would still look pretty mean in any rear-view mirror!

The interior is much the same, with the M colours on the steering wheel and gearknob being the only giveaway that this isn't a boggo 635. There's no unnecessary trim, overly-bolstered seats or 'sports' steering wheel; it's just a 6 Series with a very potent engine and a manual gearbox.

This is a world away from the levels of M6 choice we have now. Would sir like his 4.4 V8 powering a coupe, convertible or four-door GranCoupe? How about that Competition Pack option for track use? You wonder what effect that's going to have on future values. This 1986 example of the M-badged 6-series (of course, not technically an M6) is perhaps able to command a strong £26,000 precisely because everyone knows this is the ultimate Six of its day.

What more is required for driving?
What more is required for driving?
What else is there to know about the M635CSi? With just 524 RHD versions ever produced and only around 100 left in the UK, it's rare. The fact that many are well over £20,000 where even very presentable non-M models struggle to make £10K indicates how covetable they've become. Of course, the manual helps given that most (but not all) the standard 6-series are automatics. For impressions on the driving experience, see Chris Harris's M5 video for some insight. We understand if you don't treat an M635CSi the same way...

Given the amount you now need for one of these, maybe a temptingly cheap V10 M6 is more your thing?

BMW M635 CSi
3,453cc straight-six
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Power (hp): 286@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 251@4,500rpm
CO2: N/A
MPG: 22
First registered: 1986
Recorded mileage: 77,675
Price new: £33,875 (1984)
Yours for: £26,000

See the original advert here


P.H. O'meter

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Comments (90) Join the discussion on the forum

  • fatboy69 31 Jul 2013

    Saw a beautiful Zinabar red M635 CSi in the Forest of Dean on Friday.

    Looked stunning - so wanted one of these years ago. Had the opportunity to buy one for silly money but didnt have the guts to take the plunge.

    Always regretted passing up that opportunity.

  • aarondbs 31 Jul 2013

    Always loved these. That front end, and, though you definitely wouldn't have said it at the time the (in hind sight only) simplicity of it all.

    And whilst not massively fast by today's standards it probably feels like your driving it not in it.

    The M535i of the same era does it for me too.

  • SuperHangOn 31 Jul 2013

    I had a 635 in exactly the same colour combo, even the stripes... can't believe I sold it AHGGRR!

  • Frances The Mute 31 Jul 2013

    £26k? Really?

  • Krikkit 31 Jul 2013

    Frances The Mute said:
    £26k? Really?
    Doesn't seem too mad given the condition it's in. Looks to have had a full engine loom done recently too, very neat and shiny.

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