BMWs that Will Be Missed: BMW 8 Series

BMW E31 8 Series 11 photos
Photo: BMW
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Following the success of the E24 6 Series, at the launch of the E31 8 Series, most of the world thought that the new Bimmer will be replacing the 6er starting with 1989. That was a common misconception at the time.
The E31 8 Series was developed and even started production in 1986. In order to create this amazing car, BMW spend over 1.5 billion Deutschemark (that was the German currency at the time) which would translate to about $ 1 billion. It's easy to see that the Munich based company expected a great success.

However, during the 10 years in which the car was build (making this one of the longest productions of a BMW car) only 31,062 units were sold.

The car was beautiful, even to this day it still makes your jaw drop when looking at it. It was the first ever road car that had a V12 linked to a 6-speed manual gearbox and also one of the first vehicles to be fitted with an electronic "fly-by-wire" throttle. In the history of BMW, the 8 Series was, along with the Z1, one of the first cars to be fitted with a multi-link rear axle, which made it extremely comfortable.

The engines varied from 3-liter V8s to 5.6-liter V12s. However, the 3.0-liter engine was used only on 18 cars that never made it out of the company's parking lot. Most of the cars were fitted with 4.0-liter and 4.4-liter V8s and 5.0-liter V12s.

The 840Ci had a 4-liter V8 M60 engine with 286 HP and was produced until 1997. After 1997 if you wanted a 840Ci only a newer 4.4-liter V8 was available with the same power output but increased fuel economy and torque.

The 850i was the first model launched and had a 5-liter V12 engine boasting 300 HP. This was later replaced by the 850Ci in 1994, which had a M73B54 engine with an increased capacity of 5.4-liters and 322 HP. There was another variation of the 850 created by the M sports division of BMW.

Even though BMW denied that a "M8" supercar was ever produced or even designed, the engine on the 850CSi blew their cover. This engine was labeled S70B56. Any Bimmer fanatic knows that standard BMW engines are labeled with the "M" or "N" letter and that the M division engines come with the "S" label. That means that the 850CSi was a downgraded M8.

The 850CSi had a 5.6-liter V12 with 375 HP and was sold as a top-of-the-range sports tourer. It had better suspension and a lower height than the standard cars. Further changes were made in order to create a better aerodynamic coefficient and improve the car's sporty feel, even though the standard drag coefficient for the 8 Series was just 0.29.

This was one of the best cars ever made by BMW. The fact that it was produced for 10 years stand as testimony to what BMW expected it to be. If the M8 supercar would've been launched, today we might have had 2 supercars in BMW's portfolio. It could've competed against the contemporary Ferraris and even make history but sometimes mistakes must be made in order to avoid repeating them in the future.
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