The BMW 8 Series (chassis code BMW
E31) is a V8-"840i" or V12"850i" engined 2-door 2+2 coupe built by
BMW from 1989 to
While it did supplant the original E24 based 6
Series in 1989, a common
misconception is that the 8 Series was developed as a successor.
However, it was actually an entirely new class aimed at a different
market, with a substantially higher price point and performance than
the 6 series. The 8 Series was designed as a direct competitor to
the upcoming Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
coupes (later renamed
The BMW 8 Series was BMW's flagship car while
in production. A new vehicle cost around US$100,000 and had an
electronically limited top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h), although
with the limiters removed top speed was estimated at 198 mph.
Worldwide production ceased May 12, 1999, with 30,621
BMW is rumored to have plans to revive the 8
Series name for a potential "four-door
coupe," much like the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. The existing E63/E64 6-Series two-door coupe
currently completes with the CLS-Class in that price
Models and production history
BMW tuner Alpina produced
a special version of the 8 Series dubbed the B12. Two versions were
produced, both taken from the standard production line. The B12
5.0 Coupe was based on the 850i, powered by the 5.0-liter M70
engine producing 350 bhp (260 kW), and available only with a 4-speed
automatic gearbox. The larger B12 5.7 Coupe was based on the
850CSi, with the 5.7-liter S70 engine producing 416 bhp
(310 kW/422 PS) with a 6-speed manual gearbox. All in all,
97 5.0 Coupes and 57 5.7 Coupes were built.
1990, V12 (S70/1), about 6.0l displacement, 550 hp, prototype,
The BMW 850CSi is a detuned version
of the M8 which has never been produced and remained a prototype
only. The M8 should have been built in a consequently lightweight
manner in order to be a 'Ferrari-Killer'. The specially developed
550 hp engine has never been used except in the prototype - of which
only one exists. But with the support of McLaren the M8 engine was
transformed into the power plant of the McLaren F1 super sports car.
At the time of development of the M8 there was virtually no market
for such a car, so the BMW manager canceled the project.
The M8-Prototype is perhaps the best-kept secret of BMW.
Absolutely no one must see it or can get information, by order from
the general manager himself. Questions from motorsport magazines
remain unanswered as well. The car is locked away in the so-called
Giftschrank, which could be translated as 'poison-storage'.
According to BMW it is hidden behind lots of boxes anyway and will
be destroyed in the near future as the 8 series doesn't exist any
more and neither a successor.
The Prototype has never been road safe (even the headlights were
missing as you can see in the picture) and was only loosely patched
together, which is the reason why it is not presented in their
museum. It's not even good for that ...says BMW.
Yes, the papers of an 850CSi say, it's an M8, but
that's not of much use if you know what it could have been. What the
S70 engine is capable of speaks for itself. See the world record run of the McLaren F1. The guys at
McLaren say they could get 1000 hp at 9500 or 10000 rpm from the
The different versions of the S70 engine:
||380 hp, 24V, 850CSi
||about 6000 ccm
||550 hp, 48V(?), M8 prototype
||627 hp, 48V, McLaren F1
||635 hp, 48V, McLaren F1