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Tag: 850CSi

Facebook Feud: 1994 Porsche 928GTS v. 1994 BMW 850CSi

Recently on our Facebook page I posted a poll to see what our fans would like us to write-up. The choice in that poll was between two different generations of Grand Tourer; cars with the same purpose but very different execution. The Porsche 928GTS was at the end of its illustrious production run, the ultimate evolution of the V8 transaxle design. On the other hand, the fairly recently introduced 850CSi wasn’t quite the ‘M8’ BMW had teased, but in a post-Recession economy it was still pretty special. The 928GTS clocked in to work with a slightly revised exterior, 17″ Cup wheels, giant Brembo brakes and a stonking 5.4 liter 4-cam V8 capable of 345 horsepower. The 850CSi was, of course, also naturally aspirated, but a 5.6 liter V12 lay under its computer-designed angular bodywork. The E31 was heavily breathed upon by BMW’s Motorsport division, the S70 laughed at Porsche’s V8 by channeling 372 horsepower to the rear wheels solely through a 6-speed manual gearbox. Like the 928, bodywork revisions, M-System II forged wheels and mega brakes along with suspension updates helped justify the lofty price.

In their days, both of these cars could eclipse $100,000 easily with options. The thing is, they’ve never really come down in price. Both were quite limited production; a total of 1,510 850CSis were made with only 225 sent to the U.S., while 2,877 928GTSs were made, with I believe 451 landing in North America.

The Facebook poll came down to a dead heat between the two, each with 44 votes. So, I did my best to come up with two worthy examples priced closely to consider today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW 850CSi on Hemmings.com

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1994 BMW 850CSi Colorline

Considering just how rare they are, it’s quite special that we get to look at a second Colorline 850CSi in such short order. And this one is quite a bit more rare to find than the prior Tobago Blue example. Only 13 were ordered in the rarest combination – Calypso Red Metallic with Trinidad Red and Black Nappa leather. This is really about as rare as an E31 gets.

Since I didn’t cover the differences between the EG91/2 (Euro) and EG93 (US) 850CSis, it’s worth taking a look at that. Euro-spec 850CSis got additional oil cooling for the differential and engine, along with 13.6″ floating rotors and different side mirrors. The front end also got special smoked lenses. I covered a bit more about what made all 850CSis special in the last post:

1994 BMW 850CSi Colorline

There are a few reasons to really prefer today’s CSi over the Tobago Blue. Beyond the increased rarity, this one has far fewer miles and the presentation is much better. There’s a lot more information provided, too. And, it’s already on this side of the Atlantic, though you’ll need to wait a few more months until it’s ready to roll into the U.S.. Of course, there is one drawback…and it’s a big one:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW 850CSi Colorline on eBay

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1994 BMW 850CSi Colorline

Continuing on the theme of defacto M cars started with the South African 745i, today let’s look at the much more famous example of the 850CSi. I came of driving age during the reign of the E31, and I still remember magazines taunting that the ‘M8’ would soon be with us. Of course, it never came – at least, not until today. But we still did get an E31 breathed upon by the Motorsports division in the spectacular 850CSi.

Like the SA 745i, the heart of the CSi was a special “S” motor. In this case, BMW Motorsport GmbH took the M70 and beefed it up seriously. Bored out to 5.6 liters and with compression bumped up and revised electronic programing, the resulting S70 took BMW’s V12 from 296 horsepower to 372 with 420 lb.ft of torque on tap. Macht schnell, indeed! But there were a host of other changes; offered only with a manual 6-speed gearbox, the CSi also got a quicker steering rack, Euro M5 brakes, shorter and stiffer springs, and M System II ‘Throwing Star’ 17″ staggered wheels. A new body kit made the elegant E31 look much more menacing, too. Europeans even had the option of 18″ M Parallels and, amazingly, 4-wheel steering.

In 1994, this car cost almost $110,000. Today that’s nothing, as you can spec a special-order M3 up to that amount. But back then? That was nearly the price of three M3s. These super coupes have never really come down in price, as like their contemporary the 928GTS, they have maintained an aura of unobtainium and sacredness to a generation of motoring enthusiasts. With only 225 brought stateside, perhaps it’s worth considering importing this one?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW 850CSi on eBay

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1994 BMW 850CSi

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Following on to the Mercedes-Benz SL600 Silver Arrow that Andy featured yesterday, here’s an equally rare German flagship from the 1990s: the BMW 850CSI. While a BMW M8 was never officially produced, if you wanted your 8 series coupe with a bit of M flavor this was as close as you were going to get. The E31 8 series wasn’t as popular as its predecessor, the E24 6 series. A little over 30,000 E31s were manufactured in comparison to the longer production run of the E24, which saw over 86,000 examples produced. Out of those 30,000 8 series, only 1,510 were the model you see here. With an increase in capacity to 5.6 liters, the 850CSi cranked out 375 horsepower and was mated exclusively to a 6-speed manual gearbox. With uprated brakes, suspension and Style 21 throwing star alloys, this was a fetching package. This example for sale in North Carolina has yet to cross the 30,000 mile mark, good for those seeking a collector piece.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW 850CSi on eBay

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1993 BMW 850CSi

A long while back in 2011, I took a look at one of those rare BMWs from the 1990s, the 850CSi. But the car I featured wasn’t any normal 850CSi, if you could even consider this super coupe “normal.” This was one of the few painted in Daytona Violet. It also had a lovely contrasting Lotus White/Violet leather interior. I did a double take when I saw this almost identical 850CSi for sale near Freiburg, Germany. The interior is a bit more purple than the one we saw here for sale in the US, but if you want to be bold, there are few better ways to do it than with a purple V12 powered pillarless coupe.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 BMW 850CSi on Classic Trader

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