1995 BMW 8 Series 840ci 4.0 from North America
I love this car!
Upper oil pan leak, radiator, water pump, and coolant tank @ 127K miles.
Motor mounts, oxygen sensor, cats, and intake gaskets @ 100k.
A GT with timeless style.
After driving a BMW 5-series up to 200k miles for work, I decided it was time for a new get around car. I researched cars for months before zeroing on the 8-series. My criteria? I was looking for a coupe that not everyone else had. A sleek aggressive car that would have any car enthusiast do a double take while I’m driving by, or when its parked by it's lonesome. Something unique and something elegant. An understated exotic, allowing me to be seen driving around on a daily basis, while still allowing me to be approachable versus pretentious. A car that delivers an exhilarating driving experience each time I get in the car. The right amount of comfort, sport, sound, and speed. This car is such a perfect fit for my broad expectations.
I selected the V8 (be aware of the Nikosil issue when shopping, but this has worked itself out by now) over the V12 from the chats I had with my mechanic. He had done work on both, but pointed out the limp home mode on the V12 would be just a bit more expensive on repairs at times. Even though the cars are inexpensive to acquire... it should be understood that this was an $80k – $100k vehicle brand new. The repair bills are for a car in that price range versus the low acquisition cost of today. You should plan on an average of $2500 a year in maintenance to keep your car in top running condition. I have spent in the last two years an average of $3500, when combining recent modifications to much needed maintenance on a car going over the 100k mark (135,000 miles and still going).
While it's been said (and I agree) that everyone should own a V12 once in their life, for a daily driver this was not that time for me. 8-series V12 owners do look over their nose a bit at a V8 owner... but not too much.
The 8-series community is very tight. Numerous get togethers, tech tips, parts sharing – just overall incredible support. We help each other check out cars in other areas, diagnose common problems, and wrench on each others cars if necessary. I just had an 8 member stay at my home overnight on his way through to deliver an 8 to a new owner in the bay area of California... not uncommon in the 8-series community. There is an honest lamenting from time to time on my choice of V8 over V12, but the V8 does has a few personal advantages over the V12, making the V8 the right choice for me.
I recently completed a custom exhaust for my 840ci. Both the V12 and V8 are very quiet, but the V8 will produce much more of a roar when “asked” over the V12. My new exhaust intensifies the sound and the feeling.
That V12 is soooo quiet and smooth you could balance a coin on the block while it's running. That would not be possible with the V8 – that is a plus for me, because I like to feel and hear what I am driving. While it is not lost on the V12, it is just a bit subdued in comparison to the V8.
Base horsepower for the V8 is 282 (US model) vs. 322 for the equal year on a V12. I recently chipped mine and according to reports should have mine @ 322 bhp (wokke chip) with 354lbs of torque – I have not done a Dyno test, but there was no doubt about the significant difference I felt (especially at the lower rpms where the 8-series is traditionally pretty soft).
The torque on these cars is what gets these cars moving to ultra smooth and effortless speeds of 150mph+. This car is at 2500rpms when going 80mph... the car is just waiting to do even more! I just don’t believe you could find something as silky smooth and comfortable on the open road, that is this capable of high speeds.
Other advantages on a V8 over the V12, would be the easier wrenching, less frequent problems, and modifications tend to be more inexpensive. I understand gas mileage is about the same for both (17mpg around town and 22mpg on the freeway for me), and overall they look identical until you peek under the hood. For a daily driver... the V8 is perfect for me. For someone considering a weekend car, then I would highly recommend the V12.
Some other things about this car – it is very fast, but not so quick. Off the line this car is sluggish, but once you hit 35mph hitting the step-down in sport mode... this car will push you back in your seat and pull a smile on your face! Windows automatically go up at 96mph. It's rumored that sunroof closes at 135mph. Passing other cars is NEVER a problem and they know when I am doing it! My car is set-up with 18” staggered wheels, chipped, and custom exhaust. Near future includes, CSI sway bars, and a 3.64 LSD.
I shamelessly look for reasons to drive this car on the back roads of California. This super heavy car (about 4000lbs) is not great handling on the twisties, because it was designed to be an Autobahn car, but it is fast and will turn heads everywhere you go. People often give me thumbs up on the road, talk to me when I am pulled over, leave notes on the car, and openly gawk at the car when they believe I am not around. I can’t help but turn around for one last look each time I park and begin to walk away.
My daughters ask me to drop them off in front of the school vs. around the corner, so they can be seen in the car everyone around town knows belongs to our family. This predatory looking grand tourer gets attention and lots of it. It simply has timeless looks, comfort, and unabashed speed.
My very near additional car will be a V8 Vantage. I intend to keep my 840ci for many years to come. I love the unique look and the silky smooth ride. The BMW 8-series was truly designed and sold a decade before its time. When my daughter is old enough, I intend to have her drive the 840ci. Before you gasp... think about this concept for a man with beautiful daughters - this car is built like a Panzer Tank, will not be able to smoke tires from a light, and has no room whatsoever for getting too close with a boy who would most certainly want to be in this car with her versus his own! ;)
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 30th May, 2007
Great Review, You help confirm what I believed all along. Be unique, be luxurious, be safe and FAST.
Your information on your BMW 840 CSI is excellent. I am looking at purchasing one as a daily driver. I do have good mechanical skills but not ASC certified. All my cars I have had in the past have been maintained to my standards. I want a timeless classic car and this is it. A gift to myself as I retire from the military. My question to you is: with the GAS prices being so high would you still buy this car as a daily driver?
There is a wonderful support network for any maintenance on this car (best one is www.wuffer.net). I mention this because maintenance $ should be more of a worry than gas when used as a daily driver. Mine is still a daily driver and gets better mileage than my wife's SUV. Even with gas prices as they are (and will continue to be), this is still one of the best luxury GT cars you will find for the money anywhere.
Nice review. I have just purchased a 91 850 AC Schnitzer edition from Japan, I am waiting for it to show up. I was looking for information on what to expect, and you helped out thanks. It should be spring when it shows up on the West Coast of Canada. I can't wait to drive it home through the mountains and back through the nice straight flat prairies. I took this trip with my 525, maybe this time I won't get the speeding tickets LOL. Is there any where I can see more information on what Schnitzer might have done to my car? Thanks.