BMW created its masterpiece 25 years ago.
The flagship grand tourer topped the BMW product line and could be considered as much a supercar as a family car.
The legend of the BMW 8 Series lasted about a decade, with more than 30,000 copies built between 1988 and 1999. With a starting price of $70,000 and an available V12 sending power to the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission, the car introduced features previously unseen on production cars.
The 8 Series died an untimely death, partly because new emissions standards were too cost prohibitive to meet without extensive re-engineering.
A new 8 Series may or may not ever hit the market, but what are the odds of snagging an old one?
If a new 8 Series does come to fruition, it won’t be anything like the original. The 8 Series introduced all kinds of fun features to BMW. Prior to the 8 Series there were no seat belts integrated into the seats, no electrically adjustable steering column with memory function, no automatically dimming rear-view mirror and no remote central locking. The 8 Series also introduced frameless windows that retracted slightly when the doors were opened and raised again as the doors closed. That created a tighter seal between window and door frame, which created a much quieter ride.
In addition to its technological innovations, the E-31 (as enthusiasts know it) looked like nothing else before or since. Some people might say that’s a good thing, but for my money the 8 Series was one of the greatest car designs ever.
So back to the question of what it would take to acquire one of the 31,562 cars put into the market.
The first thing to know is that the base version, the 840Ci, used a V8 engine and an automatic transmission. Umm… pass. You’d want the V12 and 6-speed manual. Look for that in the 850i, 850Ci and 850 CSi. You’ll have to look hard, though, because there just aren’t many on the used market.
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