The BMW 8-Series was released in 1990 as a 1991 model, supplanting the previous grand tourer, the 6-Series (1976-1989).
In the early '90s, only one model was available within the BMW 8-Series -- the 850i, later known as the 850Ci. It was used to accelerate from 0 to 60 in less than 7 seconds, cruise at a computer-limited 155 mph and turn a corner at nearly 1 g. But it also had all the comfort of a big luxury sedan, plus all the style of a sleek sport coupe. And there was even a back seat (although rear-seat legroom was almost nonexistent in this 2+2 coupe).
If there were a market segment called Big Boomer Gran Turismo, BMW's 840Ci and 850Ci would have been right in the center, competing with the Mercedes-Benz S500 and S600, Jaguar XJS and Porsche 928. Except for a couple of exotic Ferrari and Lamborghini models costing $100,000 more, cars like the 850Ci represented the outer limits of mass-production passenger cars.
BMW's 8-series was essentially a short-wheelbase 7-series fitted with sleek coupe bodywork. The new base car, known as the 840Ci, used the same 282-hp V8 as the 740i; the 850Ci used the 296-hp V12 with its locomotive-like 332 ft.-lb. of torque. The limited-edition 850CSi, a hot-rodded version developed by BMW's motorsports department, came with a 5.6-liter version of the V12 that produced 372 hp and more than 400 ft.-lb. of torque. A 6-speed manual gearbox, wide low-profile tires on 17-in. wheels and a tightened-up suspension made this one of the best-performing sport coupes ever built.
The 8-series offered such standard features as leather upholstery, automatic climate control, power everything and a computerized memory for the driver's seat, steering wheel and mirrors. Standard, too, is more performance and status than normal folks can stand.
The 840Ci, which was mostly unchanged, went on sale first in late 1994. The 850Ci was upgraded to have 322 horsepower and 361 ft.-lb. of torque. This trim level, along with the 850CSi, were distrubted to dealerships in February 1995.
This was the last model year for the 850CSi.
After seven years of production, BMW discontinued the 8-Series. A replacement for this car was on hiatus until 2003.
|Model year(s)||Engine size||List price||Effective date|
|1991||5.0L||$73,600||February 10, 1991|
|1992||5.0L||$78,500||March 1, 1992|
|1993||5.0L||$83,400||December 1, 1992|
|1995||5.4L||$88,050||March 2, 1995|
|1995||5.6L||$100,950||March 2, 1995|
|1995||4.0L||$72,000||May 22, 1995|
|1995||5.4L||$91,000||May 22, 1995|
|1997||4.0L||$75,700||September 19, 1996|
|1997||5.4L||$94,700||September 19, 1996|