The E24 was produced solely in a 2-door coupé body style. All models used petrol straight-six engines, with the majority (aside from the M635CSi/M6 model) using a version of the BMW M30 engine family. The E24 was initially based on the E12 5 Series platform, until it switched to the newly released E28 5 Series platform in 1982.
The E24's successor, the E63 6 Series, was released in 2004 after a 16-year hiatus. Although the E31 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.
Development and production
The E24 was designed by Paul Bracq. Unlike its E9 predecessor, the body of the E24 has a B pillar. 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 enter and exit the vehicle. However, Bob Lutz rejected the proposal, eventually leading to the shape of the E24 in its production form.
Originally the bodies were manufactured by Karmann, but production was later taken in-house to the BMW Group Plant Dingolfing. Early series one E24s in original condition are now quite rare, particularly Karmann assembled cars (look for the Karmann build plate in the left door frame) produced before August 1977.
|628CSi||1979-1987||2.8 L M30
|135 kW (184 PS)
at 5,800 rpm
|235 N⋅m (173 lb⋅ft) |
at 4,200 rpm
|630CS||1976-1979||3.0 L M30
|136 kW (185 PS)
at 5,800 rpm[a]
|255 N⋅m (188 lb⋅ft) |
at 3,500 rpm
|633CSi||1976-1979||3.2 L M30
|147 kW (200 PS)
at 5,500 rpm [b]
|285 N⋅m (210 lb⋅ft) |
at 4,300 rpm
|1979-1984||145 kW (197 PS)
at 5,500 rpm[c]
|280 N⋅m (207 lb⋅ft) |
at 4,250 rpm
|635CSi||1978-1982||3.5 L M90
|160 kW (218 PS)
at 5,200 rpm
|304 N⋅m (224 lb⋅ft) |
at 4,000 rpm
|1982-1987||3.4 L M30
|160 kW (218 PS)
at 5,500 rpm
|310 N⋅m (229 lb⋅ft) |
at 4,000 rpm
|1985-1987||136 kW (185 PS)
at 5,400 rpm [d]
|290 N⋅m (214 lb⋅ft) |
at 4,000 rpm
|1987-1989||3.4 L M30
|162 kW (220 PS)
at 5,700 rpm[e]
|310 N⋅m (229 lb⋅ft) |
at 4,000 rpm
|M635CSi||1984-1989||3.5 L M88/3
|210 kW (286 PS)
at 6,500 rpm [f]
|340 N⋅m (251 lb⋅ft) |
at 4,500 rpm
|1986-1989||3.5 L S38
|191 kW (260 PS)
at 6,500 rpm[g]
|330 N⋅m (243 lb⋅ft) |
at 4,500 rpm
- U.S. equivalent model (630CSi) rated at 131 kW (176 hp) and 251 N⋅m (185 lb⋅ft)
- U.S. version rated at 132 kW (177 hp) and 266 N⋅m (196 lb⋅ft)
- U.S. version rated at 130 kW (174 hp) and 255 N⋅m (188 lb⋅ft) for 1980-1981, and 135 kW (181 hp) and 264 N⋅m (195 lb⋅ft) for 1982-1984
- U.S. 635CSi and L6 models rated at 136 kW (182 hp) and 290 N⋅m (214 lb⋅ft)
- U.S. version rated at 155 kW (208 hp) and 305 N⋅m (225 lb⋅ft)
- The M88/3 engine remained in use in some markets after its (initially less powerful) S38 successor was introduced in 1986
- U.S. equivalent (M6 model) sold from 1987-1989 and rated at 191 kW (256 hp) and 329 N⋅m (243 lb⋅ft)
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.
M635CSi / M6 model
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, 5,855 M635CSi/M6 cars were built, 1,767 of which were for the North American market.
The new 6 Series coupe, using the model code E24, was introduced to the press in March 1976, suggesting production commenced in 1975.
Initially there where two models available, 630 CS and 633 CSI. Karmann constructed the 6 series coupe, as well as the earlier BMW coupes. There were a total of 2072 units of the 630 CS and 2862 units of the 633 CSi produced in the first year, amongst a total of 4,933 cars produced for the year.
Production of E24 continued in 1977 at Karmann as a complete assembly until August, when only the steel body shell was made by Karmann and then shipped to BMW's plant in Dingolfing for assembly.
Karmann bodied cars are now rare and highly collectable, particularly in original condition with early factory colours such as orange (028 phönix), green (079 Mitgrün), and yellow (070 Golf) - the later very rare.
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 engine was a single overhead cam version of the M1's M88 engine, its bigger bore and shorter stroke resulted in 160 kW (218 PS; 215 hp) and increased torque. The aerodynamic changes reduced uplift at high speeds by almost 15 percent over the other E24 models.
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 a new pitman arm to control camber changes. Meanwhile, the ventilated rear discs had proven a needless complication and were replaced with solid ones. The rust protection was improved considerably along with the facelift.
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.
E24s produced after June 1987 were fitted with ellipsoid headlamps, as per the recently introduced E32 7 Series. The front and rear bumpers and spoilers were redesigned to use a single design worldwide (prior to this, models sold in North America used a different design from the rest of the world).
North American and Japanese models
The extended bumpers required by U.S. crash legislation resulted in U.S models having an increase in length of approximately 180 mm (7.1 in) to 4,923 mm (193.8 in). Although other markets offered multiple E24 models, in North America only one model was available at any given time (aside from the M6).
The 6 series was released in the US as the 630CSi in March 1977, with the 633CSi replacing it during the 1978 model year. The US market version received larger bumpers and side marker lights, as required by federal legislation. The 630CSi is powered by a fuel-injected version of the 630CS engine. This 3.0 litre engine produces 176 hp (131 kW) and 185 lb⋅ft (251 N⋅m).
The 633CSi arrived in USA in September 1977 (for the 1978 model year), replacing the original 630. 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 1982, North American and Japanese market models received a major facelift, as per the models sold in the rest of the world.
In November 1984, for the 1985 model year, the 633CSi was replaced by the 635CSi for the North American Market. This model uses the M30B34 engine, which produces 182 hp (136 kW) and 214 lb⋅ft (290 N⋅m) 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.
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.
Achievements in championships and series:
- European Touring Car Championship; 3 titles (1981, 1983 and 1986)
- Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft; 1 title (1984)
- Belgian Touring Car Championship (Group N); 1 title (1984)
- Australian Touring Car Championship; 1 title (1985)
- Australian Endurance Championship; 2 titles (1985 and 1986)
- Australian Manufacturers' Championship; 1 title (1985)
- AMSCAR Series; 1 title (1985)
- European Hill Climb Championship; 1 title (1985)
- New Zealand Touring Car Championship; 2 titles (1985 and 1987)
- New Zealand Benson & Hedges Saloon Car Series; 1 title (1985)
- Nissan-Mobil 500 Series (New Zealand); 1 title (1985)
- Japanese Touring Car Championship; 1 titles (1985)
- RAC Tourist Trophy; 2 wins (1980 and 1984)
- 4h/500 km of Monza; 3 wins (1980, 1981 and 1983)
- Guia Race; 1 win (1983)
- Spa 24 Hours; 3 wins (1983, 1985 and 1986)
- 24 Hours Nürburgring; 2 wins (1984 and 1985)
- Sandown 500; 1 win (1985)
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