Clean 1-owner car, everything works, runs great, loaded with options, nice!
- Make: BMW
- Model: 6-Series
- SubModel: 635 CSi
- Type: Coupe
- Year: 1988
- Mileage: 127,823
- VIN: WBAEC8415J3266609
- Color: Gold
- Number of cylinders: 6
- Power options: Air Conditioning
- Fuel: Gasoline
- Transmission: Automatic
- Interior color: Tan
- Options: Leather Seats
- Vehicle Title: Clear Want to buy? Contact seller!
1988 BMW 6-Series 635 CSi
Although BMW made its name in the US by delivering boxy little sedans that drove like sports cars, the concept of a low, sleek BMW 2-door is not new. Reaching back to the 328 of the 1930s, the 507 of the 1950s, and the first of the CS series coupes in the 1960s, they’ve long delivered on personal transportation with a sporty edge and little regard for practicality. They were not pure sports cars, but rather grand touring machines capable of consuming vast landscape in a single drive and delivering entertaining road manners at the same time. The culmination of this effort delivered the 6-Series coupes in the 1980s, absolutely lovely machines with luxury, performance, and comfort all seamlessly blended in a way that BMW seems to have forgotten how to create. There are some who will argue that these are the most attractive, pure BMWs ever built, and I don’t think I would argue that point.
This 1988 BMW 635CSi was built near the end of 6-Series coupe production, a moniker and a body type that would disappear for a while as BMW focused 4-door sedans, only to reappear as the automaker desperately tries to be all things to all people. Looking at this long, lithe coupe, you can see that there’s nothing extra, nothing installed merely for style’s sake, and a purity of line that reminds us that there was a time when BMW really was the “ultimate driving machine.” This is a one-owner car purchased by a gentleman who understands performance and luxury, and who, interestingly enough, eventually sought to replace his lovely 6-Series with another BMW. Year after year, decade after decade, he went to the dealer and tried them on for size and found, unsurprisingly, that none of the new cars spoke to him the way this lovely coupe did. Its condition today reflects the simple fact that someone believed this was the finest car ever built and eventually realized that he would never be able to replace it.
As a result of all this, it remains in very good condition, considering that it’s approaching 30 years old. It wears original Beige Metallic paint (not a terribly interesting name, but it’s lovely in person) that showcases just what you got for what was a substantial chunk of money in 1988. BMW finish quality was exceptional back then, with expert panel fit that looks crisp and a sound to the doors that resembles well-oiled machinery. The paint certainly shows well for its age, but I’m not going to pretend that the past 30 years haven’t happened and there are certainly a few signs of use. Most notably, the chin spoiler is a little scuffed and there are one or two nicks on the hood, but for the most part it looks quite good and does not need any major work to be enjoyed with pride. Things like the rubber bumpers, the window gaskets, and taillight housings are excellent and the blue and white BMW roundel on the nose and tail still stands out like a beacon, perhaps more-so here than on the late-model cars.
The handsomely finished tan leather interior is far more luxuriously trimmed than I remember BMW offering in the 1980s, lacking the hard edges and crude details that seemed to define their single-minded pursuit of driving excellence. None of those shortcomings are evident here. The seats, including the driver’s chair, are in great condition with only light comfort marks and may some wear on the outer bolster, both well in line with the car’s age and mileage. The carpets are excellent, having been protected by BMW-logo mats almost from new, and you’ll feel special when you climb inside, crossing over that lovely bright chrome threshold every time. The driver’s door panel has some damage where it rubs against the seat latch, but otherwise, both door panels are quite good. And perhaps the most remarkable feature is that everything works. The A/C is cold and uses a cool center console set up for back seat passengers, the windows all power up and down, the seats are adjustable in a dozen different directions, and all the gauges are bright, clear, and snap to attention when you turn the key. Even the original radio and power antenna work as they should! Overhead there’s a power sunroof to make the airy coupe feel wide open and the arrangement of the controls again reminds you that grabbing the wheel, moving the shifter, and dancing with the pedals are your primary responsibility when you’re in a BMW. This is a coupe, but it’s a big coupe, designed to cross great distances with ease, so it includes a good-sized trunk for all your luggage and includes a complete original tool kit (with fuses, polishing cloth, and bulbs intact!) as well as the factory-issued spare tire that looks like it’s never been used.
In the 1980s, BMW’s 3.5-liter inline-six really needed no introduction. Turbine-smooth, torquey, yet willing to rev, it was their senior engine until they bucked tradition and started building V8s. In this application, it’s exactly right, starting with an expensive-sounding whirr from the starter motor and settling into a rumbling idle that’s muscular but sophisticated. It’s so smooth you can barely feel it running, but there’s no question that there’s a powerful machine at work here. It’s been properly maintained from the beginning, so it runs superbly and doesn’t have any vices or need any excuses. Turn the key and go, every time. The engine bay is clean, albeit not detailed (this was a daily driver for years, of course) but exhibits conscientious care over the years and lots of recent work to keep it in top condition. And you can thank that engine for the awesome profile and long hood, because it’s a tight fit!
It’s linked to a 4-speed automatic overdrive transmission, which makes for a fine dance partner in a grand touring BMW. Shifts are crisp and it never hesitates to drop down a gear to keep the big six spinning in the fat part of its powerband. BMW’s all-independent suspension is tuned for handling as much as comfort, so if you’re expecting a plush, pillowy ride, this isn’t your car. But for something this big to enjoy hustling this much is a fairly remarkable feat and, of course, with giant 4-wheel disc brakes at the corners, it offers plenty of stopping power to match its performance. It carries alloy wheels in very good condition and a set of 215/60/15 blackwall radials for the perfect look.
Documented with books, manuals, and other factory paperwork, this is a beautifully maintained car that some sources have already named a blue-chip collectable (Hagerty, Sports Car Market, and Hemmings Motor News have suggested that the 6-Series is The Next Big Thing). This is a car that’s been loved its entire life and it shows. It’s not perfect, but it is a car that you can get in and drive as if it were 1988 all over again. Experience what the Ultimate Driving Machine really felt like before computers and SUVs wrecked the whole show.