The BMW E9, a coupé produced from 1968 to 1975, is a model that made history in the world of grand touring cars. Known for being a fast and elegant vehicle, the E9 was based on the four-cylinder BMW 2000 C/2000 CS models, which were enlarged to accommodate the six-cylinder BMW M30 engine. The body design of the E9 was done by Karmann, achieving great aesthetics on the outside.
The BMW E9 was designed by Wilhelm Hofmeister in collaboration with Italian coachbuilder Michelotti, and began life as the 2800 CS model that replaced the 2000 C and 2000 CS models in 1968. In order to accommodate the new straight-six engine called the M30, the E9 increased its wheelbase and length, while the front of the car was redesigned to resemble the E3 sedan. In addition, the E9 featured superior performance thanks to its smaller front end and reduced weight, although the rear brakes were initially drum brakes.
In 1971, BMW introduced the 3.0 CS and 3.0 CSi, models that replaced the 2800CS and featured a larger displacement of 2,986 cc. In addition, the 3.0 CSi featured a 9.5:1 compression ratio, Bosch D-Jetronic electronic injection and produced 149 kW (200 hp) at 5500 rpm, while the 3.0 CS had a 9.0:1 compression ratio, two carburettors and produced 134 kW (180 hp) at 6000 rpm. The models were available in four-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission options.
One of the most iconic BMW E9 models was the 3.0 CSL, a special homologation car produced in May 1972 in order to make the car eligible to race in the European Touring Car Championship. A total of 1,265 units were produced, and its design was focused on lightness. The “L” in this model’s designation stands for “leicht” (light), and was achieved through the use of thinner steel in the bodywork, eliminating cladding and sound insulation, as well as employing aluminium alloy doors, bonnet and tailgate and Perspex side windows.
Although the 500 CSLs exported to the UK were not as light, as the importer insisted on keeping the sound insulation, electric windows and standard E9 bumpers on these cars. The 3.0 CSL was not sold in the United States.
The BMW E9 is a high quality, high performance vehicle that has made its mark in the world of grand touring cars. Its sleek and elegant design, coupled with its high racing performance, make it a motoring legend.