BMW M635 CSi E24 - Best BMW M cars
The shark nose M635 CSi exudes retro charm today but still packs a mighty punch
Powered by the same 3.5-litre straight-six as the M1, but with fuel injection and, therefore, a touch more power, the 286bhp M635 CSi first appeared in 1984, when Filofaxes were the things to be seen carrying and mobile phones had yet to be invented for the masses. It was the era of big hair and wide shoulder pads, which meant a suave-looking coupe such as the M635 CSi fitted right in – if indeed you could afford to buy one.
At £45,780 it was eye-wateringly expensive for its time, yet in the end BMW made 5,855 examples, the identically powered E28 M5 selling in far fewer numbers (2,241 in total) but gaining more credibility in the process among the M-car cognoscenti.
On the surface, it’s not difficult to see why. Whereas the E28 M5 was a tautly suspended weapon of a car, and was the first genuine super-saloon, the M635 was a far softer, less aggressive, more chilled machine with packaging that would be deemed laughable today.
What’s the BMW M635i like to drive?
Steve Sutcliffe tries it out on track
To drive, it still feels relevant, even if it’s ultimately a relic from a bygone age. The ride is deeply soothing, the power-steering light and accurate enough to allow you to place that big, charismatic nose with reasonable precision through any corner. It’s relaxed but not remote, and its engine and five-speed manual gearbox are both an absolute delight, sweeter and more potent than those of the M1. The cleaner response of the fuel-injection system undoubtedly makes a big difference to its driveability.
Truth is, I thought the M635 CSi would feel old and irrelevant next to more modern M cars, but in the end I loved it and was once again amazed at how well it has stood the test of time.
BMW M635 CSi (1983-1988) specs and prices
- Price new: £45,780
- Value now: £20,000
- Production: 5,855 (1983-1988)
- Engine: 3.5-litre 6cyl
- Power/torque: 286bhp/340Nm
- 0-62mph: 6.1 seconds
- Top speed: 158mph
- Gearbox: Five-speed manual
- Weight: 1,450kg
- 1IntroductionWith a legendary roster of fabulous performance cars in its illustrious history, here's our pick of the M power crop...
- 2BMW M1The M1 was a racing supercar for the road, and still sets pulses racing today
- 3BMW M3 E30Hailed as one of the best-handling cars ever, the original M3 is a nailed-on classic
- 4BMW 3.0 CSL E9Known as 'The Batmobile' the BMW 3.0 CSL was a proper homologation special for the road
- 5BMW M3 E46Great looks, great performance and a hardcore limited-run model to boot, the E46 BMW M3 had it all
- 6BMW 1 Series M CoupeM car fans had been crying out for a return to the ethos of the E30 M3, and the 1 Series M Coupe was it
- 7BMW M635 CSi E24 - currently readingThe shark nose M635 CSi exudes retro charm today but still packs a mighty punch
- 8BMW M5 E60/E61 Touring M car estates are a rare breed but the E61 M5 Touring has an F1-inspired V10 engine to make it well worth seeking out and the E60 saloon wasn't bad either
- 9BMW M5 F10The F10 M5 moved from V10 to V8 power, proving that downsizing isn't all bad
- 10BMW M3 GTS E92 Huge performance came at a huge cost but the M3 GTS remains one of the most focused M cars to be let out of the box
- 11BMW Z3 M CoupeThe M Coupe is unlike any M car before or since and it still holds a place in the hearts of many fans, while others can't stand the sight of it.
- 12BMW M3 G80The G80 M3 offers huge performance and a massive technology count to go with its grille of epic proportions
- 13BMW M5 E39The E39 BMW M5 was the car that started the German saloon horsepower war
- 14BMW M5 E28The mighty BMW M5 E28 remains one of the finest performance saloons ever