The BMW 3.0 CSI is a car widely considered to be one of the Bavarian automaker’s most beautiful creations. Since the car enjoys such a large following, BMW released a documentary-style video that’s all about the 3.0 CSI. First introduced in 1968 as the 2800 CS, the E9-chassis BMW coupe arrived with a highly stylized body and reasonable performance for the day. In 1971, the car evolved into the 3.0 CS, which later spawned the high-performance 3.0 CSI model. Boasting 200 hp, the 3.0 CSI’s fuel-injected 3.0-liter I-6 engine was pretty advanced in its day, and also made the E9 a competitive racer later on.
Tracing its origins back to the radically styled (for the time) 2000CS – which itself was derived from the same model range the iconic 2002 belonged to, BMW’s New Class – the E9 is a spiritual descendent of the modern 6 Series. Emphasized by its B-pillarless design, the 3.0 CSI’s greenhouse offered unparalleled visibility, and contributed to the car’s unique look. Apart from good looks, the CSI was also plenty quick for its day thanks to the fuel-injected straight-six, and was capable of hitting a top speed of 220 kmh (137 mph), according to the video. That performance led to the development of a racing version of the E9, the 3.0 CSL, which BMW campaigned in the European Touring Car Championship throughout the 1970s. A limited run of CSL models was made available to the public for homologation purposes, and is today one of the most sought after by BMW collectors.
With that kind of legacy, it’s really no wonder BMW is so proud of the E9. Setting the standard for how a BMW big coupe should look and perform, the 3.0 CSI and other variations of the E9 left a distinctive mark on the company’s style, helping to shape the 6 Series models that followed. The E9’s pacesetting performance and elegant coupe looks not only make it an interesting subject for a BMW promotional video, but also a vital piece of the company’s illustrious history.