I think it’s fair to say that there are quite a few of our readership that came of age in the 1980s, and the cars from that era hold a special appreciation in our minds; this author included. As we work our way through our celebration of “Coupe Week”, I went bank into my memory banks a bit. Growing up flipping through car magazines every month, I studied and memorized the horsepower figures, the 0-60 times and scrutinized the driving impressions of every single car, but there were some that caught my attention. Admittedly, in the early 1980s I had a predisposition to the Porsche 928. It looked so futuristic, and with its big aluminum V8 the performance figures seemed otherworldly to someone who grew up with Toyota Tercels and learned to drive on a early ’60s Beetle with no clutch. But towards the late 1980s, a car came to my attention that I had largely ignored up to that point; the E24 BMW. Sure, they were good looking 2-doors, but to a young man power was everything and the 928 was top trump. But then my father sold his RT1100 BMW motorcycle and bought something the family could enjoy; a 1982 633CSi. My appreciation for the BMW instantly grew. The long hood and delicate A and C pillars were a symphony of design; the sharply angled nose and BBS Mahle wheels hinted at a connection to motorsports. Inside, I still remember the smell of the luxurious leather and the sound of the M30 heading its way up the tach. Solidly in “Camp 6” now, my new favorite car was the fastest version of the E24 that was available to U.S. customers – the M6.
Later on, my father’s priorities changed slightly and heading to the track more, he opted to get into a 1988 BMW M5. But as much as I respected and liked that car, the M6 still had my fascination. I still remember the first time I got to drive one; I detailed the car for a friend of the family. It was not my car to drive with reckless abandon, but still I was able to revel in the growl of the S38, the directness of the steering, the way the transmission seemed to perfectly slot into each gear. It was driving bliss and I felt invincible. Unfortunately, at that time M6s commanded a strong premium over the M5 and M3, and all were far outside of my income bracket. Fast forward to today, and the M6 has become perhaps the best performance bargain from BMW in the 1980s; find a good example, and they’re sure not to disappoint still: