The E31 was BMW’s first real attempt at integrating lots of computer designs and controls into one of their road cars. The clean-sheet design resulted in a 2-door grand tourer that shared some visual similarities with the great M1, but stood apart as a more practical cruiser. Unlike the E24, the windows could fully drop, revealing a graceful pillarless design to match the sweeping greenhouse. The sharp nose amazingly hid an even larger motor than its predecessor; in fact, it was basically two conjoined M20s. That configuration certainly has some drawbacks, but there was no denying that the 850i had serious presence and credentials with the M70 V12 kicking out 300 horsepower.
However, BMW softened the character of what potentially could have been a screamer. Many were outfitted with 16″ wheels for a better ride and tied to an automatic transmission. This was truly a GT car and not the supercar slayer that BMW teased with its M8 Concept. Over 30 years on from its introduction, there is still something captivating about this design – it was a take-it-or-leave-it car. Just take a look at the window sticker; there were basically no options outside of the wheels, color, and transmission. This one has two desirable items; the forged and directional Style 9s, and it was ordered in the great shade of Calypso Red. Although it’s got an automatic transmission, it also has just 23,000 miles. Let’s take a look!
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW 850i on eBay
Engine: 5.0 liter V12
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 23,000 mi
Location: Southampton, New York
Price: $49,000 Buy It Now
Offered for sale is a 1991 BMW 850i with only 23k miles. This example comes with all original books, the original window sticker and a clean Carfax. Finished in Calypso Red over a Parchment leather interior, this car is in exceptional condition. Optional equipment includes:
• Automatic Air Conditioning
• Heated and Adjustable Rearview Mirrors
• Memory Front Seat
• Central Locking System
• Electric Rear Window Defroster
• Electric Windows
• Cruise Control
• Leather Upholstery
For more information, please call 631-318-7052.
What a great-looking car. They just look so different from pretty much everything else out there; though I do admit there’s a strong resemblance to the third-generation Supra, the E31 was fantastically executed. It does not look cheap because it wasn’t. This car retailed at $77,600 in 1991; that’s roughly $166,500 today. When you look at how relatively little you got in terms of tech features, equipment, driver aids, and relative performance, it’s amazing they sold any of them – and keep in mind, these basically launched straight into a recession, if that wasn’t enough. Compare this car to today’s 8-Series; the new 840i has more power, is substantially faster, gets much better fuel economy, is more comfortable, and is cheaper – inflation corrected, it only costs about half of what the E31 hit the market at. Want the M version that has over twice as much power as the E31? Well, that one is also cheaper proportionately, and it does 0-60 in 3 seconds.
Which would I rather have? The E31, each and every time – at least for me. But this one, to me, is probably priced a bit aggressively. Look around and you can get a really nice example for far less, including manual-equipped models that are much more desirable. Granted you may have to accept more mileage than this one has, but all things considered I’d take that exchange.