Capsule Review: 1984 BMW 733i (5-Speed)

Posted on 15. Oct, 2011 by in Auto News

In the highly unlikely event that my father hurried to the grave, I will come up with another way to describe it besides "the late Kevin Baruth". The old man has never been in his life for a little too late. Also, he even has a terrible, say, easy-going Guy. One of the medals he received in Vietnam, was, if I remember right to unilaterally stop the retreat of a disorganized Marine unit after the death of the commander of the unit, forcing them to turn around and promote the direction of the enemy. I have no trouble imagining how this could have happened, I would rather shoot with a company of NVA regulars than contradict my father.

I mention all of the above for a reason. When I tell my friends that I learned how to ride in a black 1984 BMW 733i, they say, "That's pretty cool." If I further explain that it is the relatively rare manual transmission variant, they say, "That's even cooler is was." It is difficult to make them understand that it's hard to learn how to drive in a stick-shift car harder to get it in a $ 36,000 to do it ($ 77K in today's money), BMW, and what is worse, to do it with someone sitting next to you who might, just might rip your head at any moment.

How should we describe the "E23" 733i? One way to describe it would be like this: in terms of size, weight, power and transmission choice, it's about the same as a 2011 Honda Accord EX four-cylinder. Here's another: like any full-size BMW because of the "New Six" of modern 750Li, there was an alternative, but poor choice of the S-Class Mercedes, at a significantly reduced price: $ 36,000 compared to $ 51,200 MSRP from 1984 500SEL. That was in the days when you pay more, and got more for the three-star. W126 benzos are quite able to travel one million miles or more in their lifetimes. In contrast, most of the E23 Bimmer tell-assed were buy-here-pay-here food 75k by the time they clocked. They were disposable garbage and this is one of the few traditions continue to respect the BMW 7-series to this day.

Not that it is not a pleasure to drive, especially after I found out how to use a clutch and roll it up to highway speeds. Back in 1987, the year I was sixteen, the average car on the road was a four-cylinder Chevrolet Celebrity, Plymouth Reliant and Nissan Stanza. Compared to them, the 181-horsepower BMW was a rocketship with a polished leather and fascinating red-lit gauges. The shifter was long throw but it was easy to negotiate, the brakes were grabby and forceful without the engine simply radiated Competence and character. Derek Kriendler notes on accelerating the prosperity apply here, in 1987, a "seven" BMW was still a relatively rare and prestigious view. As a teenager, I feel, Someone has moved.

How did it come to be treated? In a pair of words, not good. The aforementioned 2011 Accord EX have no trouble showing it a clean rear bumper in a back-street battle. No need to worry, because racetrack prowess was besides the point. The purpose of the car was on the ground along the rocket 'in an easy 130 mph, sweeping the Gulf and Astras from your path with a series of graded-size quad halogen low beam. Unfortunately, we did not here because of U.S. regulations and had instead with the normal small round DOT-legal quads. One feature that BMW would be smart to have left in Europe: the ridiculous Michelin TRX metric wheels and tires. Many BMW owners, including my father discovered to their chagrin that the tires for BMW 390mm TRX wheels hard to find and crazy expensive were you when you could they find.

The US-spec E23s even from large, clumsy shock absorbers, completely trivialized the "shark nose" profile with its far more iconic 633i sibling suffered together. Also, we were entitled to have the 745i, which is not a 4.5L, but simply a 3.2 turbo six. Perhaps the best was E23. South Africa's exclusive "M7" normally-aspirated 745i, which replaces the turbo twelve valver found with the fabulous 24-valve six also the M6 and M5

This was the time when BMW driver had angled center stack, and I'm ashamed to admit that I was very impressed with this as a child impressed. At that time, most cars are wide, flat dashboards. Hell, the Porsche 911 is not even a full console back then, but the BMW 733i definitely has. It was cool, and it seemed at the time especially. BMW would do well to distinguish itself again. From the competition by the reintroduction of the angled center console

BMW tireless efforts to revise the history of the mid-eighties have painted as a seamless part of the company's relentless climb, but at the time of the Munich men seemed a bit helpless. The 3-series was at its all-time low point (the eight-valve 318i), the five with the 127-horsepower "eta" low-rev six, and seven was the car you see above, stuck a distant also-ran to Almighty W126. The products were not convincing, was the marketing ridiculous faux-upscale and the Acura Legend was about to debut and make the mid-size Germans seem a bit over-priced and under-specified. It was not a foregone conclusion at all, that BMW would succeed, really.

Given this grim situation, the company began working on quick-fixes. The 325e showed that the 528e lackluster six could shine in a smaller car, while the 533i and 535i subsequent pulled the same trick on a larger and faster scale. A slightly de-powered 256-hp version of the M1 six-cylinder found a home in the BMW M5 and M6, and the race was won by a twelve-cylinder engine in a German luxury car set with the E32 750iL. It was all uphill from there.

If the 733i failed to make a terribly lasting impression on the market, it is certainly a made for my dad. He ran a series of black BMWs in the coming years interrupted by the occasional Jaguar or Infiniti, before returning to BMW for its current 528i. I was upset that he not buy a 550i or 535i at least one, but he points out that it has more features than the old 733i, costs less in the current money, and is a little faster. "Fast enough to get me to the airport on time," he notes. Not that I expect it to arrive too late.