ⓘ BMW 6 Series (E24)

BMW 6 Series (E24)

ⓘ BMW 6 Series (E24)

The BMW E24 is the first generation of BMW 6 Series grand tourer coupes which was produced from 1976 to 1989 and replaced the BMW E9 coupes.

The E24 was produced solely in a 2-door coupe body style. Aside from the M635CSi/M6 models, the E24 was powered by a range of BMW M30 six-cylinder engines. Initially based on the E12 5 Series chassis, the E24 switched to the newer E28 5 Series chassis in 1982.

The M635CSi is the first of the BMW M6 model line and is the third BMW M-badged car. It is powered by the M88/3 straight-six engine. In North America, the vehicle is badged as "M6" and uses the less powerful BMW S38 engine.

Although the BMW 8 Series was released as production of the E24 was ending, the 8 Series is considered a separate model line and therefore not a successor to the E24. The E24s successor, the E63 6 Series, was released in 2004 after a 16-year hiatus.


1. Development and production

The initial proposal for the E24 was based on a BMW E9 3.0 CS with an increased height, in order to make it easier for customers to get into the car. However, Bob Lutz rejected the proposal, eventually leading to the shape of the E24 in its production form. The E24 was designed by Paul Bracq. Unlike its E9 predecessor, the body of the E24 has a B pillar.

Production started in January 1976 with the 630CS and 633CSi in February 1976. A total of 86.216 cars were built prior to production ending in April 1989.

Originally the bodies were manufactured by Karmann, but production was later taken in-house to BMW.


2. Transmissions

Initially, the E24 was available with a 4-speed manual transmission Getrag 262, a 5-speed manual transmission Getrag 265, or a 3-speed automatic transmission ZF 3HP22.

In 1983 the automatic transmission was upgraded to a 4-speed ZF 4HP22.


3. Suspension and steering

Front suspension consists of MacPherson struts and the rear suspension is independent semi-trailing arms. In 1982, the front suspension was upgraded to include twin-pivot lower control arms and the geometry of the rear suspension was revised.

The steering uses a recirculating ball system with power assistance.


4. M version

The M635CSi model, introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1983, is the first in the line of M6 models. In 1987, the equivalent model for the North American U.S. and Canada market was introduced and badged simply M6.

The M635CSi is powered by a 210 kW 282 hp version of the BMW M88/3 straight-six engine. The North American M6 vehicle is powered by the detuned 191 kW 256 hp version of the BMW S38 straight-six engine, which has a lower compression ratio and uses a catalytic converter.

Over its production run from 1983 through 1989, 4.088 M635CSi /M6 cars were built, 1.767 of which were for the North American market.


5. Model year changes


In 1979 the carburetted 630CS was replaced with the 628CSi; this car had a fuel-injected 2.8L engine taken from the E12 528i. An anti-lock braking system became available as an option.


In 1980, the fuel-injection systems changed from Bosch L-jetronic to Bosch Motronic. The 635CSi central locking system could now be operated from the passenger door and trunk.


5.1. Model year changes 1978

In July 1978, the more powerful 635CSi variant was introduced. The 635CSi featured a close-ratio 5-speed gearbox and a single piece black rear spoiler. The M90 engines bigger bore and shorter stroke resulted in 160 kW 215 hp and increased torque in models without a catalytic converter. The aerodynamic changes reduced uplift at high speeds by almost 15% over the other E24 models.


5.2. Model year changes 1979

In 1979 the carburetted 630CS was replaced with the 628CSi; this car had a fuel-injected 2.8L engine taken from the E12 528i. An anti-lock braking system became available as an option.


5.3. Model year changes 1980

In 1980, the fuel-injection systems changed from Bosch L-jetronic to Bosch Motronic. The 635CSi central locking system could now be operated from the passenger door and trunk.


5.4. Model year changes 1982 facelift

In 1982 model year 1983 in the US, the E24 platform changed from the E12 5 Series to the E28 5 Series, resulting changes to exterior styling, engines, chassis, suspension, electronics and the interior. The struts in the new front suspension were double-linked ones, making the car less likely to dip under hard braking. The new rear axle was nearly identical to the trailing arm layout of the E28 528i, with the addition of an extra top-mounted link. Meanwhile, the ventilated rear discs had proven a needless complication and were replaced with solid ones.

The 635CSi engine was updated to the 3.430 cc 209 cu in M30B34, which used a smaller bore and longer stroke than the previous 3.453 cc 211 cu in M90 engine. The 635CSi became available with a wide-ratio 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission.


6.1. North American and Japanese model range 630CSi

In 1977, the 6 series was released in the US as the 630CSi. The 630CSi is powered by a fuel-injected version of the 630CS engine. This 3.0 litre engine produces 131 kW 176 hp and 251 N⋅m 185 lbf⋅ft.


6.2. North American and Japanese model range 633CSi

The 630CSi was replaced in September 1977 by the 633CSi. In United States/Japan specification, the 633CSi was powered by a 135 kW 181 hp version of the M30B32 engine. Output later dropped to 130 kW 174 hp.

In September 1980 1981 model year, the manual transmission for US cars was upgraded from a 4-speed to a 5-speed. A 3-speed automatic transmission was optional.

In September 1982, North American and Japanese market models received a major facelift, as per the models sold in the rest of the world.


6.3. North American and Japanese model range 635CSi

In 1985, the 633CSi was replaced by the 635CSi for the North American Market. This model uses the M30B34 engine, which produces 136 kW 182 hp and 290 N⋅m 214 lbf⋅ft at 4.000 rpm. An L6 "luxury edition" version of the 635CSi was available in North America for the 1987 model year. The L6 featured leather headliner and trim and an automatic gearbox.

In 1988, the engine was upgraded to the M30B35. This engine has a capacity of 3.4 Litres despite the model code and the "3.5" inscribed on the intake manifold and produces 155 kW 208 hp and 305 N⋅m 225 lbf⋅ft torque. This upgraded engine resulted in catalytic converter equipped United States models offering similar performance to European models. Self-leveling rear suspension was added to the 635CSi and M6 features list.


6.4. North American and Japanese model range M6

In 1987, North America and Japan received their equivalent of the M635CSi, called simply the M6. The main difference between the M6 and its European counterpart, is that the S38 engine is used instead of the M88. Compared with the M88, the S38 has a catalytic converter, the compression ratio reduced to 9.8:1, a double row timing chain, a shorter camshaft duration and a simplified exhaust manifold. The power output for the North American E24 M6 is 256 hp 191 kW, which is 22 kW 30 hp less than the European M635CSi.

Standard equipment on the United States market M6 cars included many features which were optional on the European cars, including heated power seats, self-leveling rear suspension, beverage chiller cooled by an air-conditioning system between the rear seats, air-conditioning vents for rear seat occupants, sunshade for rear occupants and an 8 speaker premium sound system.


7. Motorsport

Achievements in championships and series:

  • New Zealand Touring Car Championship; 2 titles 1985 and 1987
  • Belgian Touring Car Championship Group N; 1 title 1984
  • European Hill Climb Championship; 1 title 1985
  • Japanese Touring Car Championship; 1 titles 1985
  • European Touring Car Championship; 3 titles 1981, 1983 and 1986
  • Nissan-Mobil 500 Series New Zealand; 1 title 1985
  • New Zealand Benson & Hedges Saloon Car Series; 1 title 1985
  • AMSCAR Series; 1 title 1985
  • Australian Manufacturers Championship; 1 title 1985
  • Australian Endurance Championship; 2 titles 1985 and 1986
  • Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft; 1 title 1984
  • Australian Touring Car Championship; 1 title 1985

Race wins:

  • 4h/500 km of Monza; 3 wins 1980, 1981 and 1983
  • Spa 24 Hours; 3 wins 1983, 1985 and 1986
  • RAC Tourist Trophy; 2 wins 1980 and 1984
  • Sandown 500; 1 win 1985
  • 24 Hours Nurburgring; 2 wins 1984 and 1985
  • Guia Race; 1 win 1983

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