BMW E31: Wikis


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BMW 8 Series
1996 BMW 850 CSi
Manufacturer Bayerische Motoren Werke AG
Production 1989–1999
Assembly Germany
Predecessor BMW E24
Successor BMW Z8
BMW CS Concept
Class Grand tourer
Body style(s) 2-door coupé
Layout FR layout
Engine(s) V-8 (840)
V-12 (850)
Transmission(s) 6-speed or different automatic transmissions (4hp24 & 5hp30 )
Wheelbase 105.7 in (2,685 mm)
Length 188.2 in (4,780 mm)
Width 73.0 in (1,854 mm)
Height 52.8 in (1,341 mm)
Curb weight 4,167 lb (1,890 kg) (840)
4,288 lb (1,945 kg) (850)
Fuel capacity 23.8 gal US
Designer Klaus Kapitza

The BMW 8 Series (chassis code: E31); is a V8 or V12-engined 2-door 2+2 coupe built by BMW from 1989 to 1999.

While it did supplant the original E24 based 6 Series in 1991, a common misconception is that the 8 Series was developed as a successor. However, it was actually an entirely new class aimed at a different market, with a substantially higher price point and better performance than the 6 series. The 8 Series was designed as a direct competitor to the upcoming Mercedes-Benz SL-Class and S-Class coupes (later renamed the CL-Class). While it has less rear passenger volume than the CL which is considered a two-door sedan, the 8 Series could accommodate two passengers in the rear, while the SL roadster is a two-seater.

The BMW 8 Series was BMW's flagship car while in production. Accounting for inflation, a new model cost above $110,000 and had an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h). Although with the limiters removed, the top speed was estimated at 186 mph (299 km/h). Worldwide production ceased on May 12, 1999, with 30,621 built.

Contents

History

Design of the 8 Series began in 1984, with construction starting in 1986. The 8 Series debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show (INA) in early September 1989. The 8 Series was designed to move beyond the market of the original 6 Series. The 8 and 6 Series cars were distinctly different in design; though both were Supercar cars, the 8 Series had substantially improved performance, as well as a far higher purchase price.

Over 1.5 billion Deutschmark was spent on total development (2008 USD nearly $1 billion). BMW used CAD tools, still unusual at the time, to design the car's all-new body. Combined with wind tunnel testing, the resulting car had a drag coefficient of 0.29, a major improvement from the previous BMW M6/635CSi's 0.39.

The 8 Series supercar offered the first V-12 engine mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox on a road car. It was also the first vehicle with an electronic "fly-by-wire" throttle. The 8 Series was one of BMW's first cars, together with the Z1, to use a multi-link rear axle.

While CAD modeling allowed the car's unibody to be 8 lb (3 kg) lighter than that of its predecessor, the car was significantly heavier when completed due to the large engine and added luxury items—a source of criticism from those who wanted BMW to concentrate on the driving experience.

Sales of the 8 Series were affected by the global recession of the early 1990s, the Persian Gulf War, and energy price spikes.[1] BMW pulled the 8 Series out of the North American market in 1997, selling only 7,232 cars over seven years. BMW continued production for Europe until 1999. The ultimate worldwide production total was 30,621.

830i

Although sales were good in the first year on sale, the sharp reduction of the expensive 850i sales prompted BMW to develop an entry-level model. This was to use the 3-liter V8 with 218 PS (160 kW; 215 hp) from the 530i and 730i, known internally as the M60B30. Eighteen cars were produced, 13 of which had an automatic gearbox fitted. The model was dropped in favor of the 840Ci and all 18 development cars were dismantled.

840Ci

BMW 840Ci

The 840Ci exists with two different engine packages. The first used the 4 liter M60B40 engine with 286 PS (210 kW) and was produced from mid 1993 to late 1995. From mid-1995, production phased in the newer 4.4 liter M62B44 engine, which had better fuel economy and more torque, though power output remained unchanged.

The 840Ci was available with a 5-speed automatic transmission, though European cars were given the option of a 6-speed manual transmission. The only external features distinguishing the V8 model from the V12 models were the quad round exhausts, which were square in the V12 models.

The 840Ci stayed in production until mid-1999.

850i

This was the first model launched in 1991 with the 5 liter M70B50 V12 engine producing 300 PS (221 kW; 296 hp). It was available with either a 4-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual gearbox.

850Ci

There is some confusion over why and when the 850i became the 850Ci. The change happened around the introduction of the 850CSi and it is believed that BMW decided to include the "C" in the model name to create more of a distinction between the 8 Series and BMW's sedans. The confusion starts when BMW installed the new M73B54 engine in the car. This was not an immediate changeover, and indeed both the M70 and M73-engined cars rolled off the production lines side-by-side for about nine months in 1994, both named 850Ci.

As the capacity of the M73 increased to 5.4 liters and the compression ratio went up, the power output rose to 326 PS (240 kW; 322 hp).

850CSi

1995 BMW 850CSi

As a top-of-the-range sports tourer, the 850CSi took over from the prototype M8. The 850CSi used the same engine as the 850i, which was tuned so significantly that BMW assigned it a new engine code: S70B56. The modifications included a capacity increase to 5.6 liters and power increase to 380 PS (279 kW; 375 hp).

The 850CSi's modified suspension included stiffer springs and dampers and reduced the car's ride height. The recirculating ball steering ratio was dropped 15% over the stock E31 setup. The model also sported wider wheels, with the option of forged alloys. The front and rear bumpers were reshaped for improved aerodynamic performance. Four round stainless steel exhaust tips replaced the square tips found on other models. The 6-speed manual gearbox was the only transmission option. In Europe all 850CSi's came with Rear Wheel Steering (AHK - Aktive Hinterachs-Kinematik).

Production ended in late 1996 because the S70 engine could not be modified to comply with new emission regulations without substantial re-engineering.

M8

Originally envisioned as a Ferrari competitor, only a single prototype BMW M8 was ever produced, equipped with a special 550 bhp (410 kW) version of the S70 engine, essentially a bored out version of the M70 with experimental multi-valve cylinder heads. A common misconception is that this engine powered the McLaren F1. However, when this was suggested to McLaren's designer Gordon Murray, the idea was rejected because the engine was too heavy and long for the McLaren F1. A completely new BMW engine was designed which has a closer resemblance to the later Euro S50B30 BMW M3 engine.

The project was eventually scrapped because BMW decided that there was no market for an M8. The only prototype ever produced (one that was reportedly not even road safe) was locked away by BMW in the company's Giftschrank (poison storage) and was reportedly destroyed.[2] BMW and the M Division had strongly denied that the car was even a possibility since the initial stages of its development. A world exclusive feature in the February 2010 issue of BMW Car Magazine, however, revealed that the M8 prototype still exists in its entirety, though at the time of writing a malfunctioning engine management module still required attention before the S70/1 V12 could be declared in proper running order.[3]

While the M8 was never produced, it is interesting to note that the 850CSi was also tuned by BMW's M division. Aside from sporting an M-tuned engine (as identified by the S suffix instead of the M prefix that a non-M tuned engine would wear), the car's VIN identifies the car as being built by BMW Motorsport (identified by the WBS prefix) instead of BMW AG (WBA prefix). This effectively identifies the 850CSi as essentially a detuned version of the M8.[4]

Alpina B12

BMW tuner Alpina produced a special version of the 8 Series dubbed the B12. Two versions were produced, both taken from the standard production line. The B12 5.0 Coupe was based on the 850i, powered by the 5.0-liter M70 engine producing 350 bhp (260 kW), and available only with a 4-speed automatic gearbox. The larger B12 5.7 Coupe was based on the 850CSi, with the 5.7-liter S70 engine producing 416 bhp (310 kW; 422 PS) with a 6-speed manual gearbox.

Racing Dynamics K55 Sport Coupe

BMW tuner Racing Dynamics of Italy in 1991 produced a special version of the 8 Series dubbed the K55 Sport Coupe taken from the standard production line. The K55 5.5 Coupe was based on the 850i, powered by the 5.0-liter M70 that was stroked to 5.5 liters, new valves, camshafts lifters and intakes along with extrude honed heads. The one US version engine producing 475 bhp (354 kW; 482 PS) and the Euro version producing 401 bhp (299 kW). 40 K55s were produced for the Euro market and one in the US. In addition to engine modifications, The K55 offered a variety of body, suspensions, rear end options. References 02/1994 Euro Magazine Road & Track, Car and Driver[5]

However, there is no verification of 475 hp (354 kW) produced by this car by Racing Dynamics. The K55 produces 380 hp (280 kW) and 405 ft·lbf (549 N·m) of torque as listed in the 02/1994 Euro car magazine. Racing Dynamic's own website lists the K55 at 401 hp (299 kW).[6]

The 475 hp (354 kW) was declared by Autothority (as listed in the said Road & Track article) who are no longer in business in their original capacity. The 475 hp (354 kW) claim was never verified.

PowerPlant Racing BMW "860i"

Race car tuner PowerPlant racing of North Carolina, USA produced the most powerful Naturally Aspirated 8 series BMW. This was done by increasing the displacement of the M70 V12 engine to a 6.0L capacity.

This conversion changes the stroke of the engine from 73 mm (2.9 in) to 86 mm (3.4 in), the bore from 84 mm (3.3 in) to 86 mm (3.4 in) and the compression ratio from 8.8/1 to 10/1. The 6.0 conversion on a stock rebuild makes 405 hp (302 kW) & 425 ft·lbf (576 N·m) of torque. However, there are add on options of this program that increases the specifications to 455+ HP and 500+ ft·lbf (386 HP and 409 ft·lbf (555 N·m) torque at the wheels) that is emission legal with completely civilized, stock drivability.[7][8]

There were only 7 of the 6.0L conversions done for the E31 (BMW 8 Series). The power output was verified by several chassis dyno (refer to Dyno Chart).

Limited Edition

840 CiA "M Individual" (Japan) 298 ex (05/1996-04/1999)

840 Ci Sport (Belgium) 2 ex (03/1999-04/1999)

840 CiA Sport (UK and Belgium) 3 ex Belgium, more than 500 UK (01/1997-05/1999 UK) (10/1998-05/1999 Belgium)

850 CiA Platinum (Middle East) (1998-1999) 59 ex

850 CiA 5.4 Alpina (Middle East) (1998-1999) 15 ex

850 CiA Sport (Belgium) (10/1998) 1 ex

Transmission

The 840Ci (V8) U.S. models were each equipped with a 5-speed automatic transmission. The 850i/850Ci (V12) models each carry either a 4-speed automatic transmission, 5-speed automatic transmission, or a 6-speed manual. The 850CSi model only came with a 6-speed manual transmission.

Fuel economy

840 (V8)

Fuel type: Premium

city: 15 miles per US gallon (16 L/100 km; 18 mpg-imp)
highway: 20 miles per US gallon (12 L/100 km; 24 mpg-imp)
combined: 17 miles per US gallon (14 L/100 km; 20 mpg-imp)

850 (V12)

Fuel type: Premium

city: 14 miles per US gallon (17 L/100 km; 17 mpg-imp)
highway: 20 miles per US gallon (12 L/100 km; 24 mpg-imp)
combined: 16 miles per US gallon (15 L/100 km; 19 mpg-imp)

Source: US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)

Motorsport

The 8-Series is a very rare car to see in any form of motorsport. However, one of the best examples was built by Wagenstetter Motorsport[9] and, until recently, was raced in the Nurburgring VLN endurance championship. It’s based on an 840i, but now has an E39 M5 5.0-litre V8, which has 555 bhp (414 kW; 563 PS) and 472 lb·ft (640 N·m) torque, and a six-speed gearbox from the same car.

Models and production history

Model MY
Global
MY
USA/CDN
Production
years
Engine Volume Engine
alloy
Power Torque 0 to 100
km/h[10] (62 mph)
Production
total
Production
USA/CDN
830Ci 1992 - 1992 M60B30 V8 2,997 cc (183 cu in) Nikasil 160 kW (218 PS; 215 hp) 290 N·m (210 lb·ft) -- 18 -
840Ci 1993-95 1994-95 1992-96 M60B40 V8 3,982 cc (243 cu in) Nikasil 210 kW (286 PS; 282 hp) 400 N·m (300 lb·ft) 6.9s 4,728 1,649
840Ci 1996-99 1996-97 1995-99 M62B44 V8 4,398 cc (268 cu in) Alusil 210 kW (286 PS; 282 hp) 420 N·m (310 lb·ft) 6.6s 3,075 801
850i/Ci 1990-94 1991-94 1989-94 M70B50 V12 4,988 cc (304 cu in) Alusil 220 kW (299 PS; 295 hp) 450 N·m (330 lb·ft) 6.8s 20,072 4,194
850Ci 1995-99 1995-97 1994-99 M73B54 V12 5,379 cc (328 cu in) Alusil 240 kW (326 PS; 322 hp) 490 N·m (360 lb·ft) 6.3s 1,218 363
850CSi 1992-96 1994-95 1992-96 S70B56 V12 5,576 cc (340 cu in) Alusil 295 kW (401 PS; 396 hp) 550 N·m (410 lb·ft) 6.0s 1,510 225
M8 - - - S70/1 V12 ≈6,000 cc (366 cu in) Alusil 410 kW (557 PS; 550 hp) undisclosed -- 1 prototype

References

External links








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