BMW recently introduced to the Press its exciting new flagship, the 635 CSi, expected to be released in the UK in r.h.d. later this year at a price over £17,000. Based on the 633 CSi, it boasts an uprated straight-six engine of 3,453 c.c. using Bosch L-Jetronic injection and with a larger bore exhaust system. BHP is up from 200 to 218, with a considerable increase in maximum torque, but maximum revs are down from 5,500 to 5,200. The engine is derived from that of the mid-engined M1 . Mated to it is a 5-speed manual Getrag gearbox. A “longer” final drive of 3.07:1 gives a maximum speed of ’40 m.p.h. 0-60 m.p.h. takes 7.3 sec.
Suitably upgraded springs, shock absorbers and anti-roll bars look after this very presentable performance. Rim widths on the very smart RRS spoke type alloy wheels are incrc.ased to 6tJ, but 195170 VR 14 tyres are as on the 633 · Distinguishing factors other than the wheels are a deep front spoiler and a neat boot lid spoiler, wind tunnel designed for high speed stability. The interior of the 635 remains as that of the 633 (Motor Sport, August t 977 ), except that the test car I drove had superb leather Recaro bucket seats, to be changed to BMW “buckets” in production. The British Press took delivery of their test cars on the third leg of a Tour of Europe, whereby journalists from different countries took their turn at driving this superb car. Heading for Dover, such luxuries as the aforementioned seats, electrically operated sun roof, electric windows and stereo cassette player made for very comfortable driving. Fast driving around some narrow country lanes showed the remarkable cornering stability and gave me the chance to use the 5-speed gearbox to its best advantage; staying mostly in third and fourth gears the extra torque of this larger capacity engine was most apparent.
Even over some pretty rough roads the wide wheels and fat tyres were not too noisily obtrusive and the excellent power steering remains one of the best I have used, with progressive feel at speed. The pillarless windows of the coupe have been greatly improved since the days of the 3.0 CSi but can still give a little wind noise at times, especially in cross wrnds. The longlegged fifth gear surpassed itself across the French countryside, enabling comfortable cruising speeds of over 125 m.p.h. with less effort obvious from underbonnet than in the 633. The stability, tractability, comfort and sheer performance proved itself continually on the 256 km. autoroute journey to Antwerp. An in all this fastest BMW (except for the M1) felt much tauter, more of a sporting performance car than the 633. Very impressive. – A.B.