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.
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
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.