BMW 630i (E63) | PH Private Area

A classic two-door, with a manual and a straight six, for less than £6k? The bargains are still out there…

By Matt Bird / Sunday, 20 August 2023 / Loading comments

It doesn’t feel like a great time to be a BMW fan. The current generation of M cars is better than ever, but also really expensive. Even the M Performance 240i, great though it is, remains the best part of £50k. So much of what previews the future looks more than a little strange, too. And all the while the classics, the cars that made us love BMW in the first place, are getting more and more valuable. Car companies must adapt and change to survive, yes, though it seems that no maker is going through quite such a drastic transformation as Bee-Em.

Not all hope is lost, however. Because while the original shark nose 6 Series remain eye-wateringly pricey – we’ll let you find the £115k example yourself – there are still affordable, attainable, desirable examples of the second-gen, E63 6 Series out there. Now, sure, they’re not directly comparable (not least thanks to so much time between them), and it seems unlikely the later car will ever have the iconic rep of the first, but like so many of the Bangle designs the second Six now seems to be coming into its own.

It’ll never meet with the same universal love (and some lightheadedness) as an E24, but for a car that once left folk so aghast this 6 Series is ageing nicely. It still looks contemporary, which is no mean feat for a big coupe that launched 20 years ago. The proportions are right, the grilles are correctly sized – even the rear end that came in for such derision looks quite cool. Or perhaps BMW fans (us included) are just desperate to see the good in any old, rear-drive, vaguely affordable two-door with the blue-and-white roundel on it.

Most 6 Series of this era are V8 or V10 powered, it seems, the brawnier 650i and M6 models arguably more befitting of a car that was BMW’s flagship coupe at the time. The 635d that came a few years after launch was popular, too. This is powered by none of those engines, however, as it’s a 630i. Down on power compared to the rest, sure (and not that much cheaper in period, either), but this is BMW’s N52 3.0-litre straight six, so the sound is going to be great. And it’s known as a pretty sturdy old motor, here with just 90k miles on it and the major jobs – water pump, thermostat, PCV/CCV – all sorted.

Adding to the rarity of this 6 Series is its six-speed manual gearbox. Yes, really – can’t be many spindly BMW gearlevers out there next to that original iDrive twirler, but there’s one here. It’ll mean both proper engagement with a much loved BMW straight six, plus none of the frustration that comes with an old auto, whether that’s driving them or fixing them.

Now, of course, this is now an 18-year-old BMW, it’s not going to be perfect. On the other hand, this must be least bork-prone powertrain of the entire 6 Series lineup, and there’s plenty to be encouraged by in the advert, too. Both interior and exterior, even the engine bay actually, look fantastic; it’s seldom that the more affordable old BMWs out there are presented this well. It has an MOT until October (with only a couple of advisories last time around), there are 15 stamps in the book, it’s from before the more expensive tax brackets and, handily, it’s ULEZ compliant as well. A manual 630i would probably be one of the rarest cars in the capital…

Oh yeah, and it’s five grand. Alright, £5,850 to be precise, but really not a lot of money at all when values for everything still seem so berserk. Indeed, for a BMW that looks this good, should sound great and comes with the added appeal of a manual gearbox, the courageous might even deem it a bargain. And when was the last time you heard that in the same breath as ‘BMW’?


Engine: 2,996cc, straight six
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 258@6,600rpm
Torque (lb ft): 221@2,500-4,000rpm
MPG: 31.4
CO2: 216g/km
First registered: 2005
Recorded mileage: 90,000
Price new: £45,255 (2005, before options)
Yours for: £5,850

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