Secondhand Saint: BMW 8 Series (E31)

BMW 8 Series

Quite simply the 8 Series is a legitimate Gran Turismo that can be had for the price of a Toyota Yaris. Lets see, boring econobox that can barely be considered a car or an epic, 150mph, V12, GT car that will make you feel like an utter boss every time you look at it? If fuel economy is your main concern go for the Yaris, but if you like living life in a more extraordinary fashion then this Bimmer may be just the ticket.   

Lookin sharp in Black, lights down

The 8 series can be had either with a V8 or a V12. Power levels change depending on the years but the V8s make about 282bhp and the V12 makes between 296bhp and 322bhp, not a whole lot by today’s standards but it was back in it’s day and it certainly will still be pretty fast when you put the foot down. Most 8 Series out there seem to have the automatic transmission, but if you look for them the manuals can be found. Many people may prefer the automatic on a car like this though. Remember this is a GT car, its all about power, luxury, and style. If you are looking for the ultimate performance machine you should look elsewhere. If you like a solid mix of comfort and performance and would value having a rather rare car then the 8 Series is a solid option.

850i from the back

Looks wise the 8 Series stands out with its sharp, almost shark like, appearance. You will surely be differentiated from the automotive norm in traffic. The 8’s statement is definitely made but it stays classy about doing so though, and it is surely far from an obnoxious car in any way.

The V12 in the 850i

Being totally honest, the 8 Series is a car you should buy because you want the GT experience and have a fitting budget. If your main concerns lie with practicality, fuel economy, and saving money then this is probably not the car for you. The 8 Series is an extremely cool car that was quite high end when new, and that means expensive running costs. It only has 8 and 12 cylinder engines so be assured you will be filling up a lot and when you are at the pump don’t even think about putting anything less than premium fuel in the tank. Cars like these require you to pay to play.

850 interior with manual tansmission

If you are interested in having a car that offers such an experience then you will find prices range from around $10k to $25k for reasonable examples. There is also the top of the range 850CSi with a 375hp V12 which seems to be worth around $40-50k right now, but unless you are a serious collector you would be a fool to buy that car over a used 2006 M6 because the M6 is better in every single way. This is why I have not included the 850CSi in the figures here. In my opinion the real value of the 8 series lies in the standard versions.

So, if you are someone with an ordinary budget looking for an extraordinary set of wheels, the BMW 8 Series definitely deserves a look. This is especially so if you are drawn to the whole Grand Touring part of the automotive world because the BMW 8 Series was up there with the best of them in its day and remains a truly special car.

-Nick

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