Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Zee Vee Twelve: 1992 BMW 850i

You are a wealthy banker in 1992 you need a ride that will impress your mistress, but won't break down on the way to your coke dealer...so no finicky supercars.   Domestic options are  limited (Cadillac Allanté -- hah!), so the logical thing to do was head down to your local fancy German car dealer and pickup something red.  A Porsche 964 turbo was certainly an option, but if you wanted something that looked fast but wasn't going to end up sliding backwards into a ditch, the wise banker would head to his local BMW dealer and pickup an 850.  Find this 1992 BMW 850i offered for $7,500 in West Springfield, MA via craigslist. Tip from Jdah.

The E31 8-series was an entirely different breed of automobile from the 6-series that it superseded.  It wasn't simply a coupe version of the executive class 5-series, but was a purpose built luxury machine designed and engineered with the aid of CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) and FEA (Finite Element Analysis).  Klaus Kapitza's (famous for his work on the Ford Capri, Escort, Sierra & BMW Z-13 prototype) slippery design has withstood the test of time and looks as dynamic today as it did when it was new in the showroom.

The M50B70 5 liter V12 under the hood produces 295 horsepower and 330 ft-lbs of torque and is mated to a 4-spd automatic transmission.  The V12 was a technological tour-de-force in 1989, using an "alusil" engine block and drive by wire throttles controlled by twin ECUs.   Be sure to budget for the occasional electrical gremlins that will infest a supercar that is over 20 years old.

See a better cockpit for gettin' jiggy with it?  tips@dailyturismo.com


  1. My opinion doesn't count but I've always found the 6 series gorgeous in a slightly understated sort of way. The proportions are just marvelous.

  2. Replies
    1. Again, my opinion = zero but I see nuthin' wrong with that! You could apply that critique to any number of cars, including the E-Type, I think.


  3. Black wheels?


    1. Have you noticed how black wheels are the choice of soccer moms everywhere these days? They used to be OG, now they're MOM. Which sucks of course because the Shadowagon has, you guessed it, black wheels.

    2. Black wheels look bada$$ but not necessarily good.
      I wish this look would go away except on dedicated track cars.

    3. Every car on earth can be improved with black steelies, however. Gotta be 15's. Dog dishes are a plus

    4. Thanks, Jake. Gotta be steelies, with a small chrome/brushed nickel/silver cap to finish off the hub. NASCAR, or sleeper style. Unfortunately, it is so often done with fancy alloy over-designed...uh...wheel designs.

  4. beautiful car but that V12 will drive you crazy and bankrupt. The only solution is to convert the electronics to 2 6 cylinder ECMs. Preferably put in a LS1 V8 or similar with a stick.

  5. My Answers To Everything...

    a) '69 Camaro best looking car ever built, early second-gens also very nice, even the late second-gen Camaros with the soft noses. Pontiac did some horrible things to theirs after '78 or so. The current Camaro...ugh. Looks like it needs armored shutters for the little vision ports someone thought were 'windows'.

    b) Black wheels are better than chrome wheels at least, and the big polished billet or faux-billet Chinese cast junk.

    c) I subscribed then and still subscribe today to the position on BMW that David E Davis Jr enunciated in the late '70s Car and Driver review of the E24 6-series - that BMW's coupes are never as good as their sedans. And that certainly seemed to be the case with the E31 - it seemed at the time like the textbook definition of wretched excess, though the interior was and is truly something special. In retrospect, it's a very pretty car, the proportions are perfect, and it makes all the big coupes (E63/F12) BMW's done since then look like crap.

    1. on c) we only disagree on semantics, with the disagreement being that I'd call the i8 a big coupe, and it's gorgeous. I disagree completely with DED, in that I've had e24's and e28's, and they were a draw on driving dynamics, but the e24 got the nod for being the one I turned around to look at while walking away, EVERY time.


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