Cars

THE BMW 6 SERIES WAS THE ORIGINAL LANDSHARK

Published On 08/12/2014 Published On 08/12/2014
The BMW 635 Sharknose
All Photos: BMW AG

The original BMW 6 Series is, in many respects, the pinnacle of late 1970s and early 1980s grand touring. In various option levels it has up to 280 hp, it's luxurious, and it has that steeply raked front end. It's commonly referred to among Bimmeristas simply as the Sharknose...so naturally it's worth a few moments' reflection while you're immersing yourself in Shark Week. Oops, sorry, #sharkweek. 

The car was more or less designed to be the replacement for the legendary 3.0 CSL, which itself featured pretty avant-garde styling, leading to the informal moniker of "Batmobile." It's therefore only natural that the inverted rake on the nose is simultaneously extreme and oddly refined, befitting a luxurious grand touring car.

In M 635 CSi guise, behind that acutely angled nose sits something even more distinctive: the M88 engine BMW previously used in the M1 supercar. With the top speed governor turned off, the car is capable of topping 170 mph.

On the Autobahn, that's a serene 170 mph drive to work, thanks to well-designed ergonomics and seats comfy enough to lull you to sleep if not for the scenery whizzing by so fast you half expect it to turn plaid.

In a very real sense, this original 6 Series is everything the Jaguar XJ-S wishes it could've been. It's powerful, comfortable, and some weird combination of wild and beautiful to look at. All other BMWs for a decade drew heavily on the car's lines, including some of the most iconic Bimmers ever produced. The E30 M3, anyone?

Not bad, for the shark-nosed Batmobile replacement.


Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor. Every time he sees one of these in person he's tempted to shell out money for it.

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