The 8-series was conceive by BMW as a upper class coupe since 1981, but the project recived the green light three years later.Design of the 8 Series began in 1984, with construction starting in 1986.
BMW used CAD tools, still unusual at the time, to design an 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.
In 1987 the first prototype was assembled, a expensive one costing BMW more then 1 milion $.After many tests, 100 vehicles were destroyed, evrey one of this cars was built by hand out of specially handmade parts, with 1 milion $ spend on each prototype .But the real test drives started on 4th July 1989 on the Nürburgring Nordschleife track and were finished after 5000 miles of intens driving.Also the tests were conducted in USA in order to submit the car under the driving condition of Bmw’s biggest market.The car was tested under extreme temperatures, going full throttle for hours and then the car had to stand still in the heat for an hour with running engine.
Driving up and down mountain roads with extreme changes in temperature and air pressure have been done also.
The 8 Series debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in early September 1989, while the tests were still in progress.The BMW 850i had a stunning success, 500 orders have been placed within the eight days of the motor show.
Building upon the idea of its luxurious 750iL sedan, BMW turned to a comparable 2+2 coupe for 1991.
The production started in the beginning of February 1990, and if you had ordered a car back then you would have to wait three years for it to be delivered.The cost of developmnet for the BMW 850i alone were over 1.5 billion deutschmarks (2005 USD $2.2 billion).
When it was introduced it served as the successor to BMW’s 635CSi coupe and cost even more than the 750iL.This was a continuation of a great tradition and a new beginning at the same time.
The 8 and 6 Series cars had very different character: while the 6 Series was a solid Grand Touring car, the 8 Series was aimed more towards the supercar market. It was BMW’s flagship car while in production.
But the 8-series was introduced in a difficult time for cars of its kind.Sales of the E31 were affected by the global recession of the early 1990’s, the Persian Gulf War, and energy price spikes.Because the number of sold units dropped rapidly, production of the 8-series, which was assembled in Dingolfing (GER), ceased quietly by the end of 1999.The decision was made not to produce the top-of-the-line model, the M8, as there was no market for a super sportscar.
There are the following different types of 8-series coupés:840CI-v8 4.0l engine with 286hp produced between ’93 and ’96 or a 4.4 version engine - 7803 were produced
850i-V12 5.0 engine with 300hp produced between ’89 and ’92 - 20072 were produced
850Ci-V12 5.0 engine with 326hp produced between ’93 and ’94 or a 5.5l engine (94-99) -1218 were produced
850CSi-V12 5.6 engine with 380hp produced between ’92 and ’96 -1510 were produced
BMW’s familiar "twin-kidney" grille was installed, but the hidden headlamps was a feature never before seen on BMW models in the U.S . A new 8 Series cost around US$100,000.
The BMW 850i coupe is truly something special, with a V12 engine producing some 300 hp and a top speed of 186 mph.The engine itself is barely audible. No roaring, no screaming, just a soft, pleasant hum.Its 296-horsepower, 5.0-liter V12 engine came from the 750iL, the new 850i was created with a more sporty character.But driving a BMW 850CSi is relaxing as in no other car.
While CAD modeling allowed the car’s unibody to be 8 lb 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.The two-ton-monster wriggles around corners so that the automatic stability control is almost unnecessary.
But not only the driving experience makes the car special. It is nearly more fun to look at the car than to drive it. The 850CSi looks rather elegant not aggressive. But the front and the rear let you guess what’s beneath the bonnet...
Standard 850i features included Automatic Stability Control (ASC), which limited power to the rear wheels when wheel slippage was detected during acceleration.Models with manual shift got a different version, ASC + T, which also applied brakes to the rear wheels to restore traction.
The 850i was the first model to use BMW’s new Seat-Integrated Belt system, which integrated the belt system into the seat instead of anchoring it to the floor and/or roof pillars.
All 850i coupes had a driver’s airbag and antilock braking. Electronic Damping Control (EDC III) became optional in the fall, several months after the 850i went on sale. With EDC III, suspension firmness adjusted automatically based on how the car was being driven.
In addition, the driver could choose Comfort or Sport setting, using an interior switch. Rivals included the Mercedes-Benz 500SL roadster, joined later by the Lexus SC 400.
The 840 (V8) models were equipped with a 4-speed automatic transmission. The 850 (V12) models carry either a 4-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual.
Its multi-link rear suspension, the seatbelt system, multiplex technology and a host of other technical refinements win it resounding praise from the industry press, which describes the car as the best that current technology can deliver.
The car doesn’t lack a luxurious equipment. Not at all! In fact a new category called ’luxury sports car’ should have to be invented for the BMW 850CSi because you can get all the extras you want.Electric seats, electric sunroofs, electric shutters and many other gimmicks normally not to be found in sportier cars.
BMW’s optional Electronic Damping Control gained a more pronounced differentiation between its Comfort and Sport modes.A gearshift interlock was among the few changes to BMW’s high-level 2+2 coupe in its second season, to prevent the automatic transmission from shifting out of park unless the brake pedal was applied.
Pressing the end of the wiper and turn-signal stalks now allowed the driver to scroll through the cellular phone’s stored numbers, place a call, or end a call.
BMW renamed its 2+2 coupe the 850Ci, thus emphasizing its coupe body style. A passenger-side airbag joined the original driver’s airbag, and the cabin gained maple trim. Rear seatbacks now split and folded, and contained a new trunk pass-through.
Was introduced a new v8 model , named 840ci.It used the same 282-horsepower, 4.0-liter V8 engine as the 740i/iL sedan, driving a 5-speed automatic transmission.
A limited-edition 12-cylinder model was also introduced, called 850CSi, fitted with a 372-horsepower, 5.6-liter V12. That one came with a 6-speed gearbox, sport suspension, lower ride height, and 17-inch tires. Only a 4-speed automatic transmission was available in this year’s 850Ci coupe, which added such standard features as interior wood trim, a remote control antitheft alarm, front center armrest, and 250-watt stereo system.
The 840Ci was the only model to reach dealerships, essentially unchanged.
Later, only a few 840Ci and 850CSi coupes arrived for sale. The regular V12 engine for the 850Ci grew in size, to 5.4 liters and a 322-horsepower rating.
The high-performance 850CSi coupe was gone, leaving only the 840Ci and 850Ci.The 840Ci got a new 4.4-liter V8 engine when production began early in 1996. Servotronic variable-assist power steering was standard on both models. Maple interior trim, already in the 850Ci, was added to the 840Ci’s interior. Electronic Damping Control, adjusting suspension firmness based on how the car was driven, was standard on the 850Ci and a new option for the 840Ci.
Final versions of BMW’s biggest coupe went on sale in summer 1996, showing no significant change.
The BMW 8-series is no sports car and was never intended to be one, ist closest but still a Grand Tourismo, a car with a huge front engine, luxurious without compromise and with even weight playing a minor role. This car should never be an ultra high performance car, nothing that weighs two tons and has an engine on the front axle will ever match a true sports car
It’s a car with a tremendeous shape, it is outstandingly comfortable and features superior dynamics and handling.