BMW 8 Series (E31)

The BMW 8 Series ( E31 -plant ) came on the market in mid-1989 and is a manufacturer BMW coupe the upper class. It was produced until mid-1999.

Development and production

The 8- emerged under the leadership of BMW boss designer Claus Luthe and was officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in the summer of 1989. The body shape comes from Klaus Kapitza, who was then head of design at BMW Technik GmbH. The 8- inherited the BMW 6 Series ( E24 series ), however, was larger and more expensive than its predecessor. The main competitors of the E31 were the coupe models, the C 126 and C 140, the S -Class from Mercedes -Benz. The 8 series, there was only a coupe. There prototypes of a convertible version have been developed but who lacked stability.

The technology and engines came in part from the then-current 7 Series, the E32. Later were gradually introduced newer engines from the E38 5 Series and.

The E31 was up to its setting in mid-1999 the most expensive model in the BMW range. The sale of the E31 remained far behind expectations, in ten years, only about 30,000 were built. The paragraph has been affected by the global recession of the early 1990s, the first Gulf War, and energy price increases. Especially in the U.S., BMW increased sales had expected there, the buyer expected, however, of such a serious and expensive vehicle more power. BMW ended the sales of the car in North America in 1997.

A successor for the 8 series it was not initially. Only in the summer of 2003, BMW added its model range with a larger coupe of the upper middle class, the BMW 6 Series E63. However, this is based on the 5-Series and is offered cheaper than the current CL coupes from Mercedes -Benz.


Initially, the E31 850i only with the already known from the BMW 750i twelve-cylinder engine with 220 kW ( 299 hp ) was available. The engines were designed to operate with regular gasoline to ensure operation in the U.S. (due to the fluctuations of the U.S. octane fuel ). Optionally takes place here the transmission of power through a 6- speed manual or a four-speed automatic. In the fall of 1992, the series was supplemented by the 850CSi with a 280 kW ( 380 hp) twelve-cylinder upwards. This was only with 6- speed manual transmission and a steering rear axle offered that cost the equivalent of about 6,000 € extra charge in the smaller twelve cylinders. In the same year, 18 copies of a 830i were built by BMW for testing purposes. The motor used for this purpose was the M60B30 V8 with 160 kW ( 218 hp ) in the E32, E34 and E38 used. None of these vehicles arrived in the sale, because not the appropriate vehicle class driving performance.

He then followed 1993, equipped with a 210 kW ( 286 hp ) V8 840i. This basic model was the first V8 Coupé from BMW since BMW 3200 CS in the 1960s. Again, there was a choice between automatic and manual transmission. The 850Ci was awarded in 1994 a modernized twelve-cylinder with 240 kW ( 326 hp), the standard has now received a five-speed automatic. He replaced gradually the old 5 -liter V12. Both models were produced but half a year in parallel, both under the same abbreviation 850Ci. After 1996 only 840Ci 850Ci and were in the program, the 850CSi was adjusted.

BMW 850 CSi with standard 17 " cross-spoke wheels and M Aerodynamics package

850 CSi with standard exhaust system and M Aerodynamics package

Alpina versions

The Alpina from Buchloe developed on the basis of the 8- Alpina B12. The B12 was built from 1990 to 1994 based on the 850i with uprated V12 and 257 kW ( 349 hp ) and automatic transmission. As of 1992, the manual transmission B12 5.7 was available, a version of the 850CSi larger V12 and 306 kW ( 416 hp). Both vehicles are not governed to the usual BMW 250 km / h, top speed is 280 or 300 km / h From B12 5.0, 97 piece, produced by B12 5.7 57 pieces.

The M8 prototype

From sports model " M8" only a prototype was constructed in 1990. Other sources speak of three vehicles, one of which was lost at sea trials. The M8 was one of the greatest secrets of BMW. The prototype is in the so-called " poison cupboard ", a BMW warehouse in Dingolfing - have been incorporated - allegedly stacking boxes. Lack buyers and due to technical problems was never started a production.

The engine of the M8 would have been up to 440 kW ( 600 hp) 6 -liter V12 engine, based on the S70, which then ultimately found in a changed form his place in McLaren F1 supercar. Also, the engine of the 850CSi ( which by the way specified in the vehicle documents as M8) based on the S70 engine, but with a displacement of 5.6 liters and 280 kW ( 380 hp). The M8 prototype did not have pop-up headlights: the low beam and high beam were integrated in place of the narrow parking lights in the bumper. The prototype has been driven from the V12 by a single reactor system achieved a power of about 400 kW, among others.