1998 BMW 840 Ci Coupe
|Brakes||Discs with ABS|
Developed as a replacement for the much loved 6-series, the E31 8-series was unveiled as BMW’s flagship in 1989, a dynamic sports coupe packed with the latest technology and brimming with luxury features. Described as “… a rolling showcase for BMW’s technlogical skills”, the 8-series sported elegant but aggressive styling, with pop-up headlamps and a chiselled nose complemented by aggressively flared wheelarches and certainly looked a worthy successor to the much loved E9 and 6-series coupes, whilst proving a genuine competitor for Mercedes-Benz’s new SL. Under the skin, BMW fitted its new multi-link rear suspension complete with passive rear-wheel steering, the latest ASC+T traction control system, electronic dampers and Servotronic steering. Technological highlights included a water-repellent windscreen, electric windows that sealed once the door was shut and the first use of a six-speed manual on any production car. BMW answered critics who felt the original 850 Ci lacked sportiness and was too heavy by unveiling a revised 850 CSi, with significantly more power, sharper handling and a more aggressive body kit. However many pundits felt the best model in the range was actually the V8-powered 840, the 3982cc unit boasting twin overhead camshafts per bank and the Vanos variable valve-timing system. The higher-revving (and significantly lighter) V8 produced a healthy 286 bhp at 5800 rpm and drove the rear wheels through either a Getrag manual gearbox or ZF five-speed automatic transmission. Launched in September 1993, the 840 Ci remained in production until 1999, by which time just 7,803 had been made (from a total 8-series figure of 30,621 units worldwide) but the high price and exorbitant import duties meant few were ever delivered here. The mechanically simpler, sportier 840 is now seen as more desirable than its more expensive 12-cylinder siblings. As an affordable, elegant and very sophisticated sports coupe, the 8-series BMW now makes plenty of sense and its status as a future classic amongst collectors assured.