We have 15 years of archives. Links older than a year may have been updated to point to similar cars available to bid on eBay.
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 outfit 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. That vision ultimately became the manual-only 850CSi, but upgrades later in the run saw the introduction of the V8 840Ci and the revised M73 5.4 liter V12 in the 850Ci. This one is a bit special, having run through the hands of BMW’s Individual department before being sent to Mexico:
The question of badges, badge engineering and car’s values are always interesting to me. Obvious car values vary considerably, but some times enthusiasts really gravitate towards one particular year or sub-model within a lineup and choose that model for value. Yesterday’s 1995 M3 raised that point; while it was a neat color and lower mileage with good overall condition, it was the OBD1 status that had some claiming that it should be worth more than later models. In the case of the E31, it’s obviously the big-dog 850CSi that stands out with its BMW Motorsport heritage and build. But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that there was arguably a nicer example of the lesser 850i 6-speed with some light modifications available at the same time – is the M badge that important?
By the time the 1990s were coming to a close, the writing was on the wall for the BMW 8 series. This was never a volume seller for BMW and while it lasted until 1999 in some markets, the last year in the US market would be 1997. Available in its twilight with the 4.4 liter V8 or the 5.4 liter V12, this example, purchased by Tom Cruise for Nicole Kidman, carries the twelve cylinder lump under the hood. Under 200 850ci coupes made it stateside in its final year, making this one very special Bimmer.
If one word could describe the 8 series, I think it would be “masculine.” This black 850Ci for sale in California adds on to that aura with the V12 engine, 6-speed manual and beloved M-parallel wheels. With the sleek low hood, concealed headlamps and flared haunches, this coupe has a stealthy look about it. Short of exotic Italian machinery, there aren’t a lot of cars from the modern era that pair a V12 with a manual gearbox. For a while in the 1990s, however, BMW was more than happy to provide this drivetrain combination to the enthusiast who just wanted to go fast.