BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Advertisement feature
View the latest news
Long-term review

BMW M635 CSI - long-term review

Cheaper than a kitchen
Published: 20 Apr 2020


  • SPEC

    BMW M635 CSi

Feeling the heat of running a fleet of BMWs

Newton’s third law states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. There are many ways to demonstrate this – balloons, skateboards, even rowing a boat. But there’s one way I’d never seen before, one exclusive to M-Powered cars from Germany.

In Essex, a six-cylinder E24 M6 was firing back into life for the first time in five years... meanwhile, in Northamptonshire, a 10cyl E61 M5 Touring decided it also wanted a fire, albeit one with many more flames and no movement whatsoever. Annoyingly, that M5 was mine.

Advertisement - Page continues below

I’ve no idea what caused the fire (yet). I’ve got my suspicions, but while it’s being investigated, we’ll attribute it to ‘just being a V10 M5’. In the five years I’ve owned it, there’s been over 20 recoveries, an entirely new engine and some £50,000 of warranty work. The dealer, Sytner Leicester, once delivered it back to the wrong address. And then posted the keys through the letterbox.

Anyway, in more positive news, that E24 M6 firing back into life was also mine. You’ll have to excuse the quality of the pics – a worldwide pandemic and country on lockdown has hampered any form of movement. To be fair, the last time I left the house, my car caught fire, so
it’s probably best not to tempt fate. Instead, we’ll make do with some low-res pics from Ron at RK Tuning. It’s good he’s handy with a spanner, put it that way.

While the M6 now starts and runs, it’s not what you’d call entirely roadworthy… yet. It’s running fantastically rich for a start, which Ron suspects is a faulty airflow meter. It’ll need a damn good service too, as the plug leads are also showing signs of corrosion and/or broken. Small issues in the grand scheme of things, but at least the engine isn’t a dud.

The real trial will come MoT test time, depending on when that’s actually allowed. I’m expecting a whole world of rust-shaped problems to say the least. But it’s a marathon, not a sprint. And, quite frankly, if the damn thing doesn’t catch fire, I’ll take that as a win.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine