BMW is celebrating its 8 Series flagship’s 25th anniversary, with the original model launching at the 1989 Frankfurt Motor Show.
While the 8 Series certainly had a presence on the road, pricing and perhaps ‘too much of a good thing’ limited its appeal with buyers, and the model was discontinued in 2000.
The original model, tagged ‘E31’, was a clean-sheet design that produced the 850i for the 89 Frankfurt Show, powered by a 220kW/450Nm 5.0 litre V12 engine.
The 1989 850i was fairly brisk even by modern standards, considering its 1790kg weight, with a 0-100km/h time of 6.8 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h.
Power was transmitted to the rear wheels through a new six-speed manual gearbox, specially designed for the 8 Series, or a four-speed automatic.
Automatic Stability Control plus Traction (ASC+T), speed-sensitive power steering and electronically controlled dampers were added to the options list in 1990, joining standard features such as seatbelts integrated into the seats.
Other standard features that the modern motorist takes for granted included remote control central locking, on-board trip computer, self-dimming rear-view mirror and electronically adjustable steering column.
In 1993, the V12 engine was upgraded to 5.6 litres in capacity with 280kW and 550Nm on tap, available in a new 850 CSi model.
The same year also saw the introduction of the new entry-level 840i variant, powered by a 4.0 litre V8 producing just 10kW less than the 5.0 V12 in the launch model.
Fans of the 8 Series from 20 countries gathered in Munich last week to celebrate the car’s silver anniversary.
A total of 30,621 8 Series models were built, and 120 of those took part in a parade at the BMW Group headquarters.
Australia saw just 299 units of the 8 Series, the majority of them equipped with the ZF automatic.
On the used market, you can get into one for as little as $18,000 - although you could also pay as much as $45,000 for a prime example.
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