- 1 BMW E9 – The Iconic Sharknose 3.0 CSL and CSi
BMW E9 – The Iconic Sharknose 3.0 CSL and CSi
The BMW E9 chassis code represents the German automaker’s legendary classically styled coupes spanning the late 1960s through the mid-1970s. In 3.0 CSL and CSi trim, the pillarless E9 models stand out as defining performance coupes merging power, handling, and distinctive style into an iconic package. The long hood/short deck “shark-nose” proportions encapsulated BMW’s sporting heritage and racing success, burnishing the roundel’s formidable reputation. Today the E9’s effortless performance and unmistakable style make these coupes enduring classics.
Sharknose Style Hints at Performance
The E9’s long nose and raked roofline cut a quintessential sporting profile that came to characterize these definitive BMWs. The chrome kidney grille loomed large and forceful up front over the low body. Subtle fender flares accommodated larger wheels and tires. Chrome window surrounds accented the pillarless greenhouse for an airier cockpit. Out back, the inward-sloping hatch and quad taillights finished off the elegant shape. From every angle, the E9 looked ready to devour miles with grace.
Suspension BMW E9 Sophistication for Comfort and Control
BMW understood suspension excellence as central to its trademark handling. The E9 brought McPherson struts up front with sophisticated semi-trailing arms at the rear. This ensured compliance for a comfortable highway ride yet firm control when cornering or braking forcefully. Tuned by genius engineer Alex von Falkenhausen, the balanced suspension afforded confidence pushing the E9s near their limits. Handling lived up to the sharknose styling’s dynamic promise.
Race-Tuned Variants for Enthusiasts
Building from the formidable 3.0CSi, the lightweight aluminum-bodied 3.0CSL introduced in 1971 brought true racing upgrades. A sharp front air dam, rear wing and fender vents optimized aerodynamics. Thinner steel added chassis rigidity. Engine output climbed to 200hp in the fuel-injected inline-six, enabling 0-60mph in 6.9 seconds. The CSL won its class at Le Mans and remained the E9 range’s pinnacle – the enthusiast’s choice for unfettered capability.
Charismatic Straight Six Performance
displacing 3.0L initially, the E9’s sohc Inline six-cylinder engines had a character all their own. The free-revving nature combined with rear weight bias imbued excellent handling. Later 3.2 and 3.5-liter versions added power while retaining the peaky delivery and handling poise. No matter the displacement, these silky smooth inline sixes defined the E9 coupes with effortless motivation and an unforgettable sound when run through the gears.
Pillarless BMW E9 Elegance and Practicality
The E9 coupes shared their pillarless “hardtop” window design with other upscale models of the era, but few pulled off the look as elegantly. Uninterrupted side glass gave an airy feel and a handsome profile. Front quarter windows enabled easier cabin ventilation. The CSL retained this styling advantage even with its aluminum doors. Form and function came together beautifully in the E9, encapsulating a tasteful BMW design.
The Defining BMW Coupes
Spanning E9 production from the 1969 2500CS to the 1975 3.0CSL, these coupes established BMW’s identity for combining power, precision, and grace into a complete package. They set the template for models like the 6 Series and 8 Series coupes to follow. For BMW, the E9s showcase an era when design and engineering excellence intertwined flawlessly. Today the E9 remains coveted by collectors and holds a special place in BMW‘s history.