1991 BMW 8 Series 850i 5.0 V12 from North America


Being a V12 that was basically two 6's welded together, part of the thrill of ownership is replacing many parts in pairs - like the fuel pumps!

Headlight units can loosen and slip down, preventing them from opening, so check these regularly. Let's not forget the battery!...if you're thinking of running down to your local Sears and buying a $75 replacement, are you in for a surprise! - There are TWO batteries located in the trunk made specifically for this car that only BMW can replace - they will lighten your net worth about $1000 for parts and labor.

Many comment on the seat motors, but I never had that issue. The display pixels fade or disappear or create their own foreign language, but this was a general fault with all BMW's of this vintage and not specific to the 8 Series. The sport seats are firm and comfortable on short hops, but over 90 minutes you'll find yourself fiddling with the angle adjustment as your lower back begins to ache.

If you do a lot of getting in and out, you will wear the upper and lower seams on the left side of the driver's seat - so use care.

General Comments:

I regret selling this car, and am currently in the market for for a V6 version. The car is not just beautiful - it is breathtakingly stunning from nearly ever angle, the area where the roof line blends into the rear deck above the rear wheel being my favorite. Nearly two decades later, it remains so proving the value of style over fashion, no doubt a benefit of having been designed by an Italian.

While many have opted for the BBS optional alloys or "upgraded", I have always preferred the standard directional wheels - yes - there are left side and right side, and I have no idea why...

The faster you drive, the better your gas mileage will be. In the V12, acceleration seems completely linear and endless, limited only by not being able to push the pedal below the floor. The car is drive by wire, so the pedal really is not responsible anyway!

The car flipped me out the first time I had it above 100mph; All four windows closed by themselves, and the scared the Bejesus out me until I looked it up in the owner's manual. For better aerodynamics they say.

The standard sound system is quite excellent as is; The windows dropping slightly when you lift the door handle is ultra-cool, and being pillarless, with the windows down and the roof open, you almost have a convertible!

The 8 can be extraordinarily expensive to maintain, but it returns the favor in the driving. I have no doubt these will start appreciating in the next decade.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th August, 2008

1991 BMW 8 Series 850i from North America


A repair nightmare


Pixels display went out.

Front suspension overhaul

Transmission seals and lines needed to be replaced, all before 80,000 miles.

Seat switches needed fixing.

The heat control valve switch went out.

General Comments:

The 850i is a nice car if you can find one in good shape and low miles, but the nightmares that follow in repairs can weigh heavy in expense on your wallet, and in keeping the car together, and the parts are sometimes hard to find.

Mechanic's love to see you.. some call it the 8-fix me. They're always up for sale..

Fast, smooth and a huge money pit. If you've got the bucks to spend, the 850i is your ticket..

I'll never own one again, and I love the car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 19th April, 2008

5th Mar 2011, 18:06

I almost bought an 850... but then my son bought a ten year old 3-series... another money pit... and I was dissuaded from purchasing another beautiful, but expensive to maintain, vehicle. This review sums it up nicely: if you buy one, it will need LOTS of maintenance (think Jaguar) so get a low mileage one, drive it for a year, and then get rid of it before the troubles start! Or, as our local independent BMW mechanic said: "If someone is selling a used Beemer, it is because they don't want to do the always-present and very expensive repairs; so, if you buy a used one, have it checked over mechanically; I tell my clients to have the seller drop the asking price by 50% of the repair cost."

30th Jan 2012, 12:29

I'm absolutely puzzled by some of these comments, especially regarding 3-series. Unreliable???

I've owned quite a few BMW's, since early 90's till present. That included Z3, 318i, 330ci. Owning these cars is absolute pleasure. Extremely reliable. Even a clutch repair on them is cheaper than on Honda's, and these are repairs at a BMW dealer. A rebuilt brake master cylinder is only $125, which is exactly same prices as for Nissan, GM, etc.

These cars cost exactly the same as domestic or Japanese imports. I should know, I own a 2005 Nissan Altima, bought it new, and it's in the shop a few times a year for repairs. Within 2 years after the warranty ran out, thank god I purchased an extended warranty, Nissan dealer repaired over $6000 worth problems. These included steering knuckle, both front struts rear stabilizer bushings (twice!), alternator, catalytic converter (front), flex pipe (twice), rear calipers (seized), sub-frame (unbelievable!), CO2 (twice).

Even with brand new suspension parts, (struts, links, bushing), Nissan doesn't even come close to BMW. I still own my 1996 BMW Z3, which has higher mileage than my Altima, and within all these years, since 1996-present 2012, this car cost me less than $2000 in repairs.

I honestly never owned a "Lemon" BMW, and will buy another one in the future. Biggest mistake I made was in buying Nissan Altima.