I like to think that I was pretty aware of automotive model lines in the eighties. Somehow, I completely missed the BMW L6 coupe until 2022.
“Contempt for Compromise”
For 1987 only, BMW bifurcated the 6-series coupe line into two distinct versions: the sporting M6 and the luxury-oriented L6.
The L6’s only powertrain was the M30B34 182 bhp 3.4 liter/209 ci inline six with fuel injection paired with a four-speed automatic. 0-60 came in a little over 9 seconds in a car with a 3,490-pound curb weight. Fuel economy was rated at 16 city/21 highway by the day’s standards (15 city/20 highway by modern measures). With an 18.5-gallon gas tank, an L6’s proud new owner could expect a range of between 290 and 310 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.
The $49,500 L6 came well-equipped—a good thing, as that is about $131,200 in 2022 dollars, which is substantially more than a 2023 840i XDrive coupe. Exterior and mechanical features included a sunroof, power steering, four wheel disc brakes, and 220/55-390 Michelin TRX tires (available from Coker Tire) on 390 mm aluminum wheels. Inside, automatic air conditioning, cruise control, power leather seats, power windows, and power mirrors were included. Distinctive features included a rear center console with individual climate controls, a leather headliner, and a unique leather dash that was notorious for peeling off and warping due to windshield heat.
Options & Production Numbers
With all that standard equipment, few options were available. A limited slip differential was $390.
The L6 did not sell very well in its single year—BMW moved 1,217. For comparison, the M6 sold 1,767 in the same year.
The View From 2022
Many vintage BMWs have strong forum support, and there is definite collector interest in the 6-series coupes. L6 coupes are sometimes available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds, on eBay Motors, and at online auctions such as Bring a Trailer that cater to the eighties car market.
According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1987 BMW L6 coupe in #1/Concours condition is $69,100, with a far more normal #3/Good condition version going for $23,500.
Make mine Salmon Silver Metallic, please.
BMWs I have written about other than the 1987 L6 and M6 include the 1983 633CSi coupe, the 1984 325e coupe, the 1988 M3 coupe, and the 1988 750iL sedan.