BMW 8 Series
|BMW 8 Series (E31)|
|Designer||Klaus Kapitza (1986)|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Grand tourer (S)|
|Body style||2-door coupé|
|Engine||4.0 L M60 V8
4.4 L M62 V8
5.0 L M70 V12
5.4 L M73 V12
5.6 L S70 V12
|Wheelbase||2,685 mm (105.7 in)|
|Length||4,780 mm (188 in)|
|Width||1,854 mm (73.0 in)|
|Height||1,341 mm (52.8 in)|
The BMW 8 Series (chassis code: E31) is a Grand Tourer built by BMW from 1989 to 1999 powered by either a V8 or V12 engine. While it did supplant the original E24 based 6 Series in 1991, a common misconception is that the 8 Series was developed as a successor. It was actually an entirely new class aimed at a different market, however, with a substantially higher price and better performance than the 6 series.
The E31's mutually related predecessor is the BMW E63, as well as the BMW i8 in 2015. While they are not direct model derivations of the "8xx" lineup, they are the only other touring cars produced by BMW after the E31's introduction in 1989 with as much size, performance options, and technology that can be classed as anything similar to what the E31 lineup offered for its age.
Furthermore, the E31 was BMW's flagship car and had an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h (160 mph). There has never been an ungoverned test for top speed but it's unlikely the E31 would've exceeded 180 MPH even with the 375 HP engine.
History of development
Design of the 8 Series began in 1984, with the final design phase and production development starting in 1986. The 8 Series debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in early September 1989. The 8 Series was designed to move beyond the market of the original 6 Series. The 8 Series had substantially improved performance, however, as well as a far higher purchase price.
Over 1.5 billion Deutsche Mark was spent on total development (2008 USD nearly $1 billion). BMW used CAD tools, still unusual at the time, to design the car's all-new body. Combined with wind tunnel testing, the resulting car had a drag coefficient of 0.29, a major improvement from the previous BMW M6/635CSi's 0.39.
The 8 Series supercar offered the first V-12 engine mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox on a road car. It was the first car to feature CAN bus—a form of multiplex wiring for cars that is now an industry standard. It was also one of the first vehicles to be fitted with an electronic drive-by-wire throttle. The 8 Series was one of BMW's first cars, together with the Z1, to use a multi-link rear axle.
While CAD modeling allowed the car's unibody to be 8 lb (3 kg) lighter than that of its predecessor, the car was significantly heavier when completed due to the large engine and added luxury items—a source of criticism from those who wanted BMW to concentrate on the driving experience. Some of the car's weight may have been due to its pillarless "hardtop" body style, which lacked a "B" post. This body style, originating in the United States in the late 1940s, was abandoned by Detroit in the late 1970s.
Sales of the 8 Series were affected by the global recession of the early 1990s, the Persian Gulf War, and energy price spikes. As a result, plans for the M8 supercar were dropped in 1991.
BMW pulled the 8 Series from the North American market in 1997, having sold only 7,232 cars over seven years. BMW continued production for Europe until 1999. The ultimate worldwide production total was 31,062. The base price for an entry-level 8 series in the early 1990s started in the $70,000 range, which is $127,002 in 2015.
The 840Ci exists with two different engine packages. The first used the 4 litre M60B40 engine with 286 PS (210 kW) and was produced from mid-1993 to late 1995. From mid-1995, production phased in the newer 4.4 litre M62B44 engine, which had better fuel economy and more torque, though power output remained unchanged.
The 840Ci was available with a 5-speed automatic transmission, though European cars were given the option of a 6-speed manual transmission. The only external features distinguishing the V8 model from the V12 models were the quad round exhausts, which were square in the V12 models. The 840Ci stayed in production until May 1999.
This was the first model launched in 1990 with the 5 litre M70B50 V12 engine producing 300 PS (221 kW; 296 hp). It was available with either a 4-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual gearbox.
There is some confusion over why and when the 850i became the 850Ci. The change happened around the introduction of the 850CSi and it is believed that BMW decided to include the "C" in the model name that denotes 'Coupe', just as two-door 3 Series cars alongside the 8 Series read 323Ci, 328Ci and so on. The confusion started when BMW installed the new M73B54 engine in the car. This was not an immediate changeover, and indeed both the M70 and M73-engined cars rolled off the production lines side-by-side for about nine months in 1994, both named 850Ci.
As the displacement of the M73 increased to 5.4 liters and the compression ratio went up, the power output close to 326 PS (240 kW; 322 hp).
As a top-of-the-range sports tourer, the 850CSi took over from the prototype M8. The 850CSi used the same engine as the 850i, which was tuned so significantly that BMW assigned it a new engine code: S70B56. The modifications included a capacity increase to 5.6 liters and power increase to 380 PS (279 kW; 375 hp).
The 850CSi's modified suspension included, stiffer springs and dampers that reduced the car's ride height. The recirculating ball steering ratio was dropped 15% over the stock E31 setup. The model also sported staggered throwing star wheels. The front and rear bumpers were reshaped for improved aerodynamic performance. Four round stainless steel exhaust tips replaced the square tips found on other models. The 6-speed manual gearbox was the only transmission option. In Europe, all 850CSi's came with four-wheel steering (AHK - Aktive Hinterachs-Kinematik, Active rear axle Kinematics), uprated and ventilated brakes with floating front discs, rear differential oil cooler, engine oil cooler, two-tone interior, sports seats, and reshaped mirrors. In the United States, the cars instead received "BMW Motorsport" writing on the doorhandles.
Production ended in late 1996 because the S70 engine could not be modified to comply with new emission regulations without substantial re-engineering.
The 830i was a prototype that did not reach production. As the potential entry-level model,  The model was dropped in favour of the 840Ci and almost all of the 18 cars were dismantled; one car is in a BMW museum.
The 8 Series had been planned from the start with a convertible version in mind. Although the 850i Cabrio was developed to production readiness, it never went into production. At a relatively late date it was decided that this model was unlikely to recover its development cost. A prototype in red resides in the BMW Museum in Munich.
Originally envisioned as a Ferrari competitor equipped with a special 550 bhp (410 kW; 558 PS) version of the S70 engine, essentially a bored out version of the M70 with experimental multivalve cylinder heads. A common misconception is that this engine powered the McLaren F1. When this was suggested to McLaren's designer Gordon Murray, however, the idea was rejected because the engine was too heavy and long for the McLaren F1. Rather, variations on the original S70 used on the 850csi, the S70/2 and S70/3 were used for the McLaren F1. (The variation used on the M8 prototype was the S70/1 engine.)
The project was eventually scrapped because BMW decided that there was no market for an M8. The only prototype ever produced (one that was reportedly not even road safe) was locked away by BMW in the company's Giftschrank (poison storage) . BMW and the M Division had strongly denied that the car was even a possibility since the initial stages of its development. A world exclusive feature in the February 2010 issue of BMW Car Magazine, however, revealed that the M8 prototype still exists in its entirety. The car was unveiled to journalists for the first time on July 2, 2010 at the BMW Museum in Munich. The only public showing of the car happened on August 17, 2012 during 'The Legends of the Autobahn' car show held in Carmel, California. The car was specially shipped from Germany for the appearance.
While the M8 was never produced, it is interesting to note that the 850CSi was also tuned by BMW's M division. Aside from sporting an M-tuned engine (as identified by the S prefix instead of the M prefix that a non-M tuned engine would bear), the car's VIN identifies the car as being built by BMW Motorsport (a WBS prefix) instead of BMW AG (WBA prefix). Per BMW's own protocol, the 850CSi as marketed was essentially a de-tuned version of the putative M8.
The 8-Series is a very rare car to see in any form of motorsport. One of the most successful examples was built by Wagenstetter Motorsport however, and, until recently, was raced in the Nurburgring VLN endurance championship. It’s based on an 840i, but now has an E39 M5 5.0-litre V8, which has 555 bhp (414 kW; 563 PS) and 472 lb·ft (640 N·m) torque, and a six-speed gearbox from the same car.
Powertrain and production data
|840Ci||1992–96||M60B40||210 kW (286 PS; 282 hp)||400 N·m (300 lb·ft)||4,728|
|840Ci||1995–99||M62B44||210 kW (286 PS; 282 hp)||420 N·m (310 lb·ft)||3,075|
|850i||1989–94||M70B50||220 kW (299 PS; 295 hp)||450 N·m (330 lb·ft)||20,072|
|850Ci||1992–99||M73B54||240 kW (326 PS; 322 hp)||490 N·m (360 lb·ft)||1,218|
|850CSi||1992–96||S70B56||280 kW (381 PS; 375 hp)||550 N·m (410 lb·ft)||1,510|
The 840Ci (4.0/4.4l V8) models were equipped with a 5-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual transmission. The 850i/850Ci (V12) models each carry either a 4-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual transmission, a 5-speed automatic transmission was fitted from mid-1994. The 850CSi model only came with a 6-speed manual transmission.
1997 United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates for cars equipped with automatic transmission.
- Fuel type: Premium
- city: 15 miles per US gallon (16 L/100 km; 18 mpg-imp)
- highway: 20 miles per US gallon (12 L/100 km; 24 mpg-imp)
- combined: 17 miles per US gallon (14 L/100 km; 20 mpg-imp)
- Fuel type: Premium
- city: 14 miles per US gallon (17 L/100 km; 17 mpg-imp)
- highway: 20 miles per US gallon (12 L/100 km; 24 mpg-imp)
- combined: 16 miles per US gallon (15 L/100 km; 19 mpg-imp)
For the 850i, 1991 Sport Model specifically the On-Board computer will typically read 24.6L/100 km when the car is often used under heavy acceleration. These figures could be similar if not slightly less/more for more newer versions of the 850i Sport.
- "Models overview @". E31.net. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
- "BMW 840 @ carfolio". Carfolio.com. 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
- "Shipments by country @". E31.net. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800-2012. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved 2012-10-28.
- "www.e31.net". www.e31.net. Retrieved 2014-06-22.
- "Review: BMW 8 Series". Bmwblog.com. 2011-12-26. Retrieved 2014-06-22.
- "BMW M8 @". E31.net. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
- "Issue 188 Of BMW Car Magazine". Bmwcarmagazine.com. Retrieved 2010-07-07.[dead link]
- "Exclusive Photos: BMW M8". Bmwblog.com. 2010-07-03. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
- "BMW Bringing M8 Prototype and Zagato Coupe Study to The Legends of the Autobahn". CarScoops. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- "850CSi @". E31.net. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
- "Motorsport's rare BMW's; M5, 6-Series and 8-Series". germancarmagazine.com. Archived from the original on 16 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-14.
- "US EPA Ratings for 1997 BMW 840Ci automatic". Fueleconomy.gov. 2006-09-10. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
- "US EPA Ratings for 1997 BMW 850Ci automatic". Fueleconomy.gov. 2006-09-10. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
- Curbside Classic. "BMW 850i and 840Ci – Nineties Icon Or Technological Overkill?". Curbside Classic. Retrieved 2014-06-22.
- "Deutsche Treats BMW 850i vs Porsche 928 GTS - BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)". M3forum.net. Retrieved 2014-06-22.
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