Just picture, if you will, a sleek and modern body, featuring huge side windows, a kidney-shaped radiator grille, and four round headlights. You might mistake it for one of BMW's fancy new models, but this beauty was actually crafted nearly half a century ago in 1968.
Glory of the Past
Behold the BMW 2800 CS – a car that evolved from the 2000 CS and solidified BMW's reputation as we know it today – an automobile designed not just for getting from point A to B, but for those who crave speed, a luxurious driving experience, and a touch of sporty character.
In the 1950s, when BMW was primarily known for its luxury cars, the company faced a serious threat of bankruptcy. To overcome this challenge, they had to temporarily produce something entirely uncharacteristic – a small bubble car known as the Isseta. While it may have looked amusing and had the performance of a slow-moving rock, it actually helped BMW regain its status as a top player in the automotive industry. This resurgence led to the creation of their new models, starting with the Neue Klasse saloons and coupes, and eventually culminating in the 2000 C – a series with impressive performance and an elegant design, crafted by the renowned company, Karmann, the same company that created the famous Karmann Ghia.
The 2800 CS model had a brief production run of only three years. In 1968, BMW made the decision to consistently update its lineup, resulting in the birth of the 2800 CS. This newborn was even more comfortable, boasting power windows and an air conditioning system – considered a luxury in the late 60s. It was precisely these features that led to the 2800 CS being exported to the United States, albeit with some adaptations, such as the addition of ridiculously large bumpers to comply with the safety requirements in the USA.
German engineers also forced 2000 C to go the gym – 2800 CS was lighter than its predecessor. Other body change was lengthened wheelbase. Length was grown purposely – to fit new, bigger than ever engine. It was straight 6 cylinder M30 power unit and 2800 CS was the first BMW model powered by it. Later it became the legend in automotive world and sometimes is even considered as one of the best engines of the 20th century.
This Bavarian masterpiece produced 170 hp at about 6000 revs per minute and was combined with the 4-speed gearbox. E9 (factory codename of 2800 CS) was capable to reach more than 200 km/h speed and it was an astonishing result in late 60‘s. Like its acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h, which took roughly 8,1 second – at the time a good result was considered t when car could have done it in 15 seconds. 2800 CS had excellent road holding qualities and was preferred by drivers, who needed not only comfort, but chilling performances too.
For this reason, it was no wonder that race-drivers noticed E9th. And thus, the even faster car was created – BMW 3.0S CSL. It was introduced back in 1972 and was especially designed to compete in European touring car championship. Due to the homologation requirements of FIA, BMW had to make few hundred street legal versions of the racing car – more than thousand was produced.
That thousand was called 3.0 CSL and this name must be mentioned when talking about 2800 CS – it was like M version of modern BMW nowadays. There were more differences between it and “civilian” version of 2800 CS than East and West Germany. 3.0 CSL had aluminum doors, boot lid and bonnet. Soundproofing and trim were removed to make car even more lighter. Racing body-kit was the main reason why 3.0 CSL was called the Batmobile.
Fun fact – the road versions 3.0 CSL, sold in Germany, were delivered with a surprise in a boot for customers – rear wings. This was smart decision by BMW because driving a car equipped with these wings in Germany was illegal and customers had to install them on their own. But soundproofing and trim was not a big loose as combination of light body and powerful engine enhanced thrilling performances.
And race drivers used that with a great success – 3.0 CSL, driven by Toine Hezemans, won European touring car championship back in 1973. Hezemans also was first at his class in 24 Hours of Le Mans the same year – a really great result! And he even won second place German touring grand prix, which took place at the Nürburgring – one of the toughest racetracks in Europe. First place was also taken by the 3.0 CSL that year.
But it was only first steps in a winning path – various pilots driving BMW 3.0 CSL, won every single European touring car championship four years in a row from 1975 to 1979. Success on the racetracks, combined with great performances of standard model, made the BMW as it is known today – a luxurious and sporty car, which could only be bridled by an experienced driver.
Current Reality in the Present Day
A total of 30,546 units of the BMW E9 were produced, encompassing all versions from the 2800 CS coupe to the 3.0 CS USA. Today, various registers indicate that only around 2,500 E9s remain in the entire world. Due to their rarity, the prices of E9s have been steadily increasing over the past few years. A well-maintained 2800 CS can cost approximately $40,000 or a little over 30,000 pounds.
If you're interested in purchasing one of these beauties, having the money might not be enough; you'll also need a stroke of luck. There are only a few 2800 CS models available for sale at any given time, and it's even harder to find other versions, like the 3.0 CSL. However, acquiring one of these cars could prove to be an excellent investment, as all versions of the E9 are expected to appreciate in value in the future.
In 1975, the last E9 rolled off the assembly line, making way for another iconic automobile – the BMW 6 series, also known as the E24. Today, E9s are widely admired among BMW fans, having achieved classic car status and being regarded as one of the most beautiful BMW cars ever created.
BMW E9 - FROM ZERO TO HERO !!!