1981 BMW 635CSi Coupe
Easily one of the best German high performance coupes of the latter part of the Twentieth Century was BMW's E24 6-series, an elegantly styled, extremely rapid grand tourer powered by the Bavarian marque's superb range of straight sixes. Initially launched in 1976 in either carburetted 630CS form, or with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection as the 633CSi, the definitive E24 was the 635CSi announced two years later, with an appreciable lift in power output from the 3.5-litre engine. The 635CSi boasted a discreet front air dam, bootlid spoiler and was available with a five-speed manual gearbox for the first time, although most of BMW's customers opted for the refined ZF automatic transmission. Inside the beautifully appointed cabin, the 635CSi could accommodate four adults in genuine comfort while the cockpit-style dashboard layout and instrument panel set the standard for generations of future BMWs. A new feature was the Check Control System, monitoring light bulbs, fluid levels and brake pads - commonplace on today's luxury cars but a real innovation at the time. The 6-series, engineered to cruise the autobahns of Germany at high speeds in comfort and safety, also enjoyed a long and successful competition career. Competing in Group A events across Europe and here in Australia, where the likes of Jim Richards steered the sinister looking 'John Player Special' liveried BMWs to several fine results. Refined, fast and discreetly luxurious, the 6-series has aged well and remains an extremely rewarding driving experience today.