Launched in 1965 as an elegantly styled pillarless coupe with a two-litre four-cylinder engine, it wasn’t until 1968 that BMW reworked the model with the Munich company’s refined and powerful SOHC straight six to create one of the finest grand tourers ever made. Codenamed E9, the CS’s Karmann-built bodywork featured revised styling with a much-improved frontal aspect and an interior expensively finished in either cloth or leather, with wood facia and leather-rimmed steering wheel. A twin carburetor 3.0 version was announced at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, with the fuel injected CSI launched a couple of months later using the latest Bosch D-Jetronic system.
With its beautiful lines, purposeful stance and pillarless doors, styled by famed German coachbuilder Karmann, the CS grabbed instant attention. Powered by a superbly engineered straight six, three litre engine, this fast, sharp-handling cruiser had performance to match its looks. BMW now had a new face look that would come to define the company's image for the rest of the century.
It seems every car company has a springboard car, a vehicle that put them on the map and announced it had arrived. For BMW that car may well be the E9. The E9 chassis was so modernly styled that its basic shape and styling elements sustained through 1989, when the last 635CSi rolled off the assembly line. Today, the E9s have become exceedingly collectible with both purists and racing enthusiasts alike.
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY:
BMW's low-budget Isetta 300 microcar had been instrumental in providing BMW with necessary cash flow for the struggling company. The 3.0 CS was also a very important vehicle for BMW, as it helped change the company's image from makers of low-budget automobiles, to quality, performance vehicles. Starting in the late 1960s, BMW introduced the 1600 and 2002, cars that helped create the sports-sedan category and redefine BMW performance. These were followed by the BMW Bavaria, a full-size sedan that combined elegance and performance. Hence, the 'Ultimate Driving Machine' mantra was born, and BMW set its sights on producing a personal sports-luxury car known as the BMW 3.0 CS. This was a low-production automobile with only 1,172 units produced in model-year 1972. The inline 6-cylinder engine was sourced directly from its counterpart full-size 3.0 sedan and could paired with either a 4-speed manual or automatic transmission. The coupe body was labor intensive to build, and thus was sent out to Karmann—a coach builder of impeccable reputation. The result was a beautiful personal luxury car that offered comfort, handling and status.
Produced from 1968-75, the 1972 model had a 3.0L engine that produced 180 HP, an improvement over its predecessors that carried a smaller-displacement engine with less horsepower. Considered to be BMW's pride and joy, the three-liter was in production for the following two decades. Replacing the 2800CS, the 3.0CS was introduced in March of 1971 and featured a bigger 180bhp engine and 4-wheel vented disc brakes. In September of 1971, the 3.0CSi was introduced and featured Bosch Fuel Injection, 200bhp and Longer Final drive. A total of 8,199 3.0CSi's were produced. The 3.0CSL was introduced in May of 1971 and introduced a 3.0 Carb engine, plexi-glass windows, stiffer suspension and sports seats and alloy panels. The following August the 3003cc 3.0CSL replaced 2985cc 3.0CSL.
Each and every coupe was built by Karmann at Osnabrück, in north-west Germany, though saloons were all assembled at Munich. These models used running gear and were shipped 600km from Munich by train. The Karmann business is responsible for building numerous VW Golf's and Ford Escort cabriolets in the more recent years.
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