The 3200 CS, launched in 1962, was in many ways , a watershed car for BMW.

The 3200 CS’s arrival marked the end of the traditional large V-8 cars, yet it was also the earliest ancestor of today’s BMW coupés, which offer high style, high performance, and exceptional comfort in equal measure.

The styling by Giorgetto Giugiaro for Bertone was crisp and tailored, with wide windows and a spacious interior, and it appeared very modern for its era.

Numerous styling cues used on the 3200 CS during its four-year lifespan were carried over to later BMWs, with the most notable being the “Hofmeister kink” on the C-pillar.

In addition, the 3200 CS was the first BMW to feature the hallmark “roundie” tail lamps, which were made famous on the ever-popular 2002.

Designed as the successor to the BMW 503, the exceedingly handsome 3200CS four-seat sports tourer was BMW's top-range model in 1962.

The 3200C's body was designed and built by Italian car stylist Gruppo Bertone then freighted to BMW in Germany for mounting on a 503 chassis.

The 3200 CS was the first BMW fitted with front disc brakes, and it had twin Zenith carburettors, a tweaked V8 engine, four-speed transmission and rear-wheel drive.

The original 3200S and 3200L, introduced in 1961, were joined this year by a new 3200CS (Coupe Sport), intended as a belated successor to the Type 503 of the late 1950s.

The Bertone-styled coupe rode a long V-8 chassis, thus serving as the last of the big V-8 BMWs. That engine produced 160 horsepower, as in the 3200S.

The body displayed a sizable expanse of glass and a low beltline.

A character line ran along each side of the body at mid-height, all the way from headlamp to deck, taking a bit of an upturn at the rear edge of the quarter window (a feature that would become customary on subsequent BMW coupes).

At the centre of the front end was the customary small two-section "kidney" grille, but alongside that were two wide horizontal-bar grilles.

Rectangular parking lights sat below the round headlamps. A circular BMW emblem was almost horizontal, just above the grille.

On the rear panel was a '3200 CS' nameplate, along with round tail lamps. Front vent windows were installed. as well as rather large quarter windows.

To auto historians of the Sixties, the BMW 3200CA arrival and departure marked the end of an era.

The 3200 CS was far from a commercial success, remaining in production for less than three years, with just over six hundred produced.

One of the most outsatnding among the six hundred was a single-edition 3200 CS convertible custom built and presented as tribute to BMW's legendary shareholder, Herbert Quandt, whose late intervention saved BMC from the ignominies of insolvency at the end of the Fifties.


Back to the homepage- and don't spare the horsepower.