Of all the cars to spend the extra money on for a BMW Individual color, this was not one I would have guessed. This is a 1999 BMW 316i, better know as the ti to us Americans. It was the compact hatchback body of the E36 and generally known as the “cheap” version. For the rest of the world, not so much, as little hatchback versions of luxury brands are the norm and not looked down on in any way. They just exist. That probably explains how this car ended up finished in the very cool Fiji Green and how it seems so inexpensive today. Too bad this one needs another two years before it is welcomed to the US because it has some great equipment on it.
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With Goodwood celebrating 50 years of BMW’s M division, it seems fitting to check out one of the cars that has the closest ties to the division – but isn’t actually an M. 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 most Ms, 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. 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 with the contemporary 928GTS, they have maintained an aura of unobtainium and sacredness to a generation of motoring enthusiasts. Just 225 made it to the U.S., and this one is extra-mean looking in all black:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 850CSi on eBay3 Comments
Back in August 2021, I took a look at one of the two variations of M Technic II options offered in the US – the Appearance Package:
A third kit – the M Technic Sport Package – was also available abroad on coupes, and so that’s what we’re looking at today – an ’89 coupe imported from Japan. It’s equipped with the exterior body kit, with front and rear bumper covers, sill covers, and a unique rear spoiler. You also got front sport seats, a limited-slip differential, Shadowline trim, and M sport suspension. This one is also claimed to have only 21k miles, and it’s a fan-favorite “slicktop” model that was ordered without a sunroof. The price? Well, let’s just say “to be expected”….even though it’s an automatic.