Rounding out 2019, I’d like to take a look at one of my favorite cars. 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. 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. Just 225 made it to the U.S., and this is one of 14 Orient Blue Metallic (317) examples. I think I’m in love…
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:
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:
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?
The past few weeks I checked out top of the range Mercedes-Benz S-Class: the S600. Last week it was the W221 and the week before that it was the W220. Naturally, I thought it would be a good idea to seek out the first S-Class with a V12, the W140. Little did I know, a reader passed along not only a W140 S600, but one with much than what you are used to normally seeing.
This car is none other than a S70 AMG. It started out life as a standard S600 then was sent to the crazy folks at AMG Japan where it was converted from a 6.0 liter to a 7.0 liter. On top of that, they added front and rear AMG bumpers, some AMG wheels and enough wood for the interior to wipe out a small forest. It is in every way the most ultimate factory W140. (Well, maybe other than the S72 AMG) Just when I thought I had the whole story of this car, it got even crazier. You might notice that despite this car being listed on New Jersey’s Craigslist, it is still located in the (country of) Georgia. Does anyone remember a certain BMW E34 M5 from there? I promise this will all make sense. Just stick with me.
Last week I featured a Mercedes with a giant V12.Â Today’s car is no different â€” although with a little more factory flavor. This 1998 S70 AMG hails from Norway in case you even needed to outrunÂ a herd of reindeer. But in all seriousness, this W140 is a rare breed. It was,Â in typical S-Class fashion, a money is no object car. More importantly, this car continued its life like a money is no object car. So let’s take a better look at this world traveler S70 AMG.
The 1995 BMW 850CSi we featured two summers ago is back up for sale on Bimmer Forums. The car has covered just under 1,000 miles in that time, but besides that fact, this has to be one of the best higher mileage E31s I’ve seen in some time. Along with its contemporary, the Porsche 928GTS, these big cruisers are bringing strong money these days. Will this one meet the ask this time around?
The below post originally appeared on our site July 31, 2014:
Almost exactly a month ago, I took a look at “The One” – the single yellow Alpina B12 5.7 produced. With little information and a staggering price, it was hard to conceptualize how it would reasonably trade hands. But if that was the package you exactly desired, that was about as good as it got. Alpina produced only 57 of the 5.7 Coupes, after all. About half of those produced were opted with an early form of semi-automatic transmission. Dubbed the “Shift-Tronic”, Alpina offered this electronically controlled clutch as an option only of the 5.7 models, and a reported 32 were so equipped. Though not so wildly optioned with color, today’s 5.7 is claimed to be number 30 of the run:
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?
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.