BMW E31 8-Series

The BMW E31 8-Series is a V8 or V12 engine powered 2 door coupe built by BMW for a two year production series from 1989 to 1999. The design of the 8 Series began in 1986, with construction starting in the same year. BMW used the newly launched CAD tools to design the car's body shape, combined with a wind tunnel for aerodynamic testing, resulting in a drag coefficient of 0.29 which was an improvement from the previous BMW M6/635i of a greater 0.39 coefficient. The E31 8 series had a top speed of 250 km/h aimed at an entirely new market, with a substantially higher price and better performance.

The 8 Series supercar offered the first V12 engine coupled to a 6 speed manual gearbox. It was also one of the first vehicle to be fitted with an electronic drive-by-wire throttle. BMW continued production for Europe until 1999. The ultimate worldwide production total was 31062 units.


Car sales were good in the first year but the sharp reduction of the expensive 850i sales prompted BMW to develop an entry level model which was to use the 3.0 liter V8 engine with 160 kW or 215 Hp from the 530i and 730i’s, known as the M60B30 motor.


The 840Ci exists with two different engine packages. The 4.0 liter M60B40 engine with 210 kW, and the newer 4.4 liter M62B44 engine, which had better fuel economy and more low end torque.

The 840Ci was available with a 5 and 6 speed auto transmission. The only external features distinguishing the V8 model from the V12 models were the quad round exhausts. The 840Ci stayed in production until the middle of 1999.


This was the first model launched in 1990 with the 5.0 litre M70B50 V12 engine that produced 221 kW or 296 Hp. It was available with either a 4 speed automatic or a 6 speed manual gearbox.


The ‘C’ in the model name denotes 'Coupe'. BMW installed the new M73B54 engine into the 850Ci and both the M70 and M73 engined cars rolled off the production lines side-by-side for nine months in 1994. The capacity of the M73 was increased to 5.4 liters, the compression ratio and the output went up 240 kW or 322 Hp.


The 850CSi was built as a sports touring car. The 850CSi used the same engine as the 850i but was slightly more modified and BMW decided to denote a new engine code to the motor S70B56. The engine capacity was increased to 5600 cc with 279 kW or 375 Hp and a six speed gearbox was fitted.

The suspension of the 850CSi was also beefed up which included stiffer springs and dampers. The recirculating-ball, steering ratio was dropped over the stock BMW E31’s steering setup. The car was fitted with wide wheels low profile tyres. The front and rear bumpers were remoulded for improved aerodynamics.

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