Tuner Tuesday: 1995 Alpina B12 5.7 Coupe

Bold. It’s a word not often associated with Alpina. In fact, if anything traditionally Alpinas have been anything but bold. Tasteful, certainly, but they seem to almost blend into the BMW lineup as if they were originally part of it. Indeed, today they are – offered through your local BMW dealership almost as a factory option like floor mats, you can get a monster Alpina tuned version of your car. But if bold is loosely defined as being striking or vivid, few Alpinas would really capture the attention of the general public as anything more than a normal production BMW. But the design of the E31 was bold with the wedge shape redefining production series BMWs. And this particular version of the E31 – the Alpina B12 5.7 – is pretty striking too, with giant wheels filling out the design nicely. The drivetrain of the B12 5.7 was pretty bold too, with a over 400 horsepower from a naturally aspirated V12. But it’s this singular example of the B12 that is perhaps the most bold. Painted Giallo, it’s arguably the most eye catching color to coat a E31, yet somehow suits it well with the black striping. Bold also is the strategy of trying to sell the car with only one photo and no description outside of a telephone number and some very basic details of the car. But perhaps the most bold thing about this E31 is the asking price, which despite the 90,000 miles on the clock is advertised at a stunning $221,000:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Alpina B12 5.7 Coupe on eBay

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1995 BMW 850CSi

If you asked me to rattle off a list of BMW’s greats over the years, you’ll find the 850CSi at the very top. This was a bit of a flash in the pan model for BMW, with few built over a handful of years, but it was a bright flash indeed. This car sported BMW’s brawny M70 V12 engine, tuned to produce 375 horsepower. Offered solely with a 6-speed manual gearbox, this was a car that could cover ground at a serious clip, a worth match for its contemporaries, the Porsche 928GTS and Mercedes-Benz SL73 AMG. This 850CSi for sale in Missouri has just over 50,000 miles on it and allows the new owner to enter into an exclusive club of just 1,510.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 850CSi on eBay

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1995 BMW 850CSi

The mid 1990s would see two grand touring heavyweights duke it out for a few short years for the title of best long distance cruise missile. The Porsche 928GTS and this car, the BMW 850CSi. The Porsche 928 was no stranger to the scene, having been around since the late 1970s. But the 928GTS was a vastly improved machine, with a powerful 5.4 liter V8 and wide haunches that accentuated its timeless look. The BMW 8 series was relatively new, taking over from the E24 6 series which ceased production in 1989. An M version of the 8 series would never make series production, but the 850CSi was a worthy substitute. With a 5.4 liter V12 engine pumping out 375 bhp, routed through a 6-speed manual gearbox, this was a serious performance machine. It was also rare, with just over 1,500 produced over a four year production run. Like the 928GTS, the 850CSi has dramatically increased in value over the last couple years, and this low mileage example for sale in Long Island is reflective of that.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 850CSi on Classic Driver

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How ///Mportant is the badge? 1995 850CSi v. 1991 850i 6-speed

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?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 850CSI on eBay

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1994 BMW 850CSi

I have a romantic vision that there will be some day that I’m able to go for a cruise on the weekend with my family in the fast GT car. Part of that stems from a childhood dream; my grandfather was lucky enough to own a Ferrari 250GT/L Lusso back in the 1960s and 1970s; it was long gone before I was any age to appreciate it, but I’ve always had a thought that I could buy one some day. Well, recent market changes have moved the Lusso from a $100,000 Ferrari to a $1,000,000 Ferrari – the chances of me ever buying one have gone from slim to none. Even the replacement models like the 365GTC/4 are also firmly out of reach too. So my dream of the classic Ferrari has moved on to more recent, affordable models. The 456GT is a great example – classic looks, perfect layout, and most reasonable examples can be had between $50,000 and $60,000. Great! The problem? Well, it’s still a Ferrari; frequent belt services seem to run between $6,000 and $10,000, the windows apparently fall out of place and are $1,000 to fix (if you can find and independent who can be trusted), even the brakes are multi-thousand dollars. What’s a reasonable option then? Well, I think the 850CSi is probably one of the best reasonable Ferrari replacements:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW 850CSi on eBay

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1994 BMW 850CSi

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A friendly automotive blog recently asked on Facebook if the E31 was already a classic, a future classic, or a car forever undeserving of that title. To me, it is nearing classic status, and when seen in comparison to the big BMW coupes of the last 10 years, it is a lithe and lustworthy piece of badass machinery. The 850CSi is the grandaddy of them all, an ///M-car all the way down to the engine serial number but lacking the name and badges. There are enough plain, modern mass-market Bimmers carrying more M badges than passengers to effectively kill the badge’s coolness, while the CSi badge provides a link to some of BMW’s greatest classic coupes. An M-tuned V12 is enough to get the mouth watering and the pants a little tighter, so when you add in low, clean lines and some flared fenders you’ve got what I consider the makings of a classic. This example has covered almost 100k miles, but the auction is starting refreshingly low after we’ve seen some 850CSi going for well above $60k.

Click for details: 1994 BMW 850CSi on eBay

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1995 BMW 850CSi

People don’t really give BMW enough credit as a risk-taking company, in my opinion. First came the M1, a mid-engined supercar from a company that was producing primarily economy sport sedans. Audi has been applauded for bringing the brilliant R8 to the market, but BMW did it nearly 30 years prior. Then they introduced that same M88 motor into their mid-range sedan and big coupe, changing the definition of sports sedans and bringing GT cars to a higher level. The M3 helped too, and forced Audi and Mercedes-Benz’s hands to make higher performance small sedans that enthusiasts have enjoyed for a few generations now. More recently, the i8 has gone from concept to reality, and stands as one of the most game-changing designs in history. But one that was often overlooked was the i8’s spiritual predecessor, the E31 8 series. A soft, big and angular departure from BMW’s styling in the 1980s, the E31 received a tremendous amount of development and accolades when it was released, but enthusiasts remained skeptical – partially because it seemed the 8’s performance didn’t live up to the promise of the design cues from the M1. Enthusiasts hoped for a high-performance “M8” that magazines taunted but never came. Instead, we received the heavily M-division-modified 850CSi:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 850CSi on eBay

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Ebony and Ivory: Two 1994 BMW 850CSis

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For there only being 225 in the country, 850CSis come across the eBay auction block fairly regularly. I’d much rather have a low-mileage one of these over any modern BMW coupe, and they’re trading hands for less than the gargantuan modern 6-series. You can go white with about 30k miles or black with about 70k miles. Whether price, color, or mileage guides your choice, you can rest assured knowing you will look – and be – way cooler in this than any E63 or F12 BMW big-coupe.

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Click for more details: Black 1994 BMW 850CSi and White 1994 BMW 850CSi for sale on eBay

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1996 BMW 850CSi with 16,500 miles

Almost exactly one month ago I took a look at a pristine midnight blue 850CSi with a seemingly low 70,000 miles on the clock. I was reminded of how great the 850 looked in its ultimate form, a super cruiser in the grandest sense. Today there is another of these super GTs for sale on Ebay, and this one might take the cake for lowest mile example I’ve seen in a long, long time – this particular example has only covered a claimed 16,450 miles. I’m not sure why or how you buy such a car and drive it so little, but let’s take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 BMW 850CSi on eBay

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1994 BMW 850CSi

The 850CSi is one of those cars that both suffered from enthusiasts’ massive expectations; I have to admit, I’m one of the guilty. Why? I remember well the launch of this car – I studied the development and eagerly awaited the arrival of the M-powered coupe. I even remember my excitement the first time I saw one; Fall, 1994 at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut at a BMW event. I had passed by all of the E30 M3s, E28 and E34 M5s and countless other neat BMWs to stare at a midnight blue over tan leather 6-speed coupe. Then I ran towards the tower as the CSi went out on track; I even had a small video camera to document the event. Those were the days that you could get all the way out to the flagging station at start finish. With the CSi visible in the downhill, I clicked “record” and waited for the impending rush of noise and wind, for my mind to be blown by the vigorous display of speed. Instead, what I witnessed was a subtle BMW rolling near-silent by at highway speed. I was massively deflated.

Fast forward two decades, and it makes much more sense to me now. The CSi wasn’t a track monster and still isn’t. This car was aimed at executives who wanted a big, V12 coupe that could take on the 928 GTS, Aston Martins and even the odd Ferrari. They wanted to insert effortless speed into big luxury. Their owners were never going to be the folks doing smokey burnouts, sliding the car up mountain passes. And as a result, today we get to see these come up for sale in near perfect condition, such as today’s example:

Year: 1994
Model: 850CSi
Engine: 5.6 liter V12
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 70,000 mi
Price: $59,950 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW 850CSi on eBay

1 of 255 units ever produced for the US market!

ONE OF 1510 UNITS EVER PRODUCED!

6-speed manual!
Final drive ratio 2.93:1
Stiffer suspension!
Chassis lowered 15mm
Servotronic, motorsport specific
Limited slip differential
Automatic Stability Control + Traction (ASC+T)
Aluminium wheels with brake ventilation
Electric steering wheel adjustment
Stronger brakes
Upgraded front and rear spoiler
Dashboard with red pointers and different looks
850CSi-badge
Folding rear seat backs and ski bag
Leather seats
‘BMW Motorsport’ written on doorhandles
///M emblem embossed in lower door frame
CARFAX CERTIFIED!
ALL BOOKS, MANUALS AND RECEIPTS!
As a top-of-the-range sports tourer, the 850CSi took over from the prototype M8. The 850CSi used the same engine as the 850i, which was tuned so significantly that BMW assigned it a new engine code: S70B56. The modifications included a capacity increase to 5.6 liters and power increase to 380 PS (279 kW; 375 hp).

The 850CSi’s modified suspension included stiffer springs and dampers and reduced the car’s ride height. The recirculating ball steering ratio was dropped 15% over the stock E31 setup. The model also sported wider wheels, with the option of forged alloys. The front and rear bumpers were reshaped for improved aerodynamic performance. Four round stainless steel exhaust tips replaced the square tips found on other models. The 6-speed manual gearbox was the only transmission option.

As expected, the 850CSi makes no exception in having several names. In this case, the term M8 is mentionned on and on again. And it’s correct. The 850CSi is a real M-car. It does not only have an M-bred engine (type S70, the S indicates M-origin) but has been manufactured by BMW M as well, according to the VIN which starts with WBS (BMW Motorsport) instead of WBA (BMW AG). This is mentionned in the papers as well. But although the papers say that the correct model name is BMW M8, the car has been enhanced only moderately by the M-Division, compared to the real M8, which remained a prototype only.

THIS VIHICLE HAS SPENT ITS WHOLE LIFE IN SOUTHERN STATES!
It has been serviced by bmw dealers and it is in great shape.

The condition this car appears in is certainly impressive, and points towards my earlier disappointment that these cars weren’t abused but pampered by their well-to-do owners. Were I not to know better, these photos could easily be passed off as press-release photos from the original launch. I struggle to find anything wrong with this car. And yet, that incredible motor attached to this wicked grand tourer is available just below $60,000. If that seems like a lot of money, in my mind it’s not. Compare that price to a 928GTS – there are currently three nice examples of Ebay, all asking a still $80,000 plus. How about 911s? This money wouldn’t get you into much of a 964 chassis 911 Turbo, either – most are at or above this asking price. To me, honestly, the natural competition for this model is really the Ferrari 550 Maranello – and while you can get one of those close to the asking price of this car the reality is that you don’t want to buy a cheap Ferrari. I’d love to have the means to pick up one of these very special cars, but my dream is no longer to take it to the track to beat up on all of the lesser BMW models. No, in that capacity it would fail miserably. Instead, I’d rather have it as a car that would make me feel very special driving the family to some secluded vacation spot and parking the car within eyeshot so I could take a peek every once in a while and remind myself what a very neat car this is.

-Carter