The BMW E31 series is was sold as the first BMW 8 Series, it went in production in 1990 and was produced until 1999. In a tumultuous period in which BMW experienced some highs and some lows it was produced, nevertheless, the E31 succeeded in its goal: adding a flagship model to the BMW range. BMW managed to get concurring give concurrence to Ferrari and Porsche with perhaps their most prestigious model they had produced up to that point.
As early as 1981, ideas were suggested to bring an exceptional model to the market that would, on one hand, compete fiercely with Ferrari's sports cars and, on the other hand, take on the German rival Porsche, specifically the Porsche 928. Given the booming sales of the BMW 6 Series in the 1980s, plans for an 8 Series were put on hold, particularly until 1990. After almost a decade of development, the E31 was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It was a sleek coupe with, under the hood, a five-litre V12 engine and either an automatic four-speed or a manual six-speed transmission, the latter being absolutely unusual at that time, even by sports car standards. As an illustration, the E31 was the first V12-powered car ever operated with a manual six-speed.
The BMW 850Ci, the only model in the E31 series until 1992, offered everything it needed to: it was sleek, sporty, luxurious, and extremely well-performing. However, orders came in slowly. Just as it was being presented to the public, the Gulf War broke out, stifling the entire launch of the 8 Series. Therefore, BMW decided to introduce a lighter V8-powered variant that delivered slightly less power, the 840Ci. In addition to the 840Ci, there was a plan to bring an M8 to the market, but it never happened. Therefore, the original 850Ci model was upgraded to the 850CSi, serving as a replacement for the eventually never-released M8. Concrete blueprints for an E31 convertible were also ready, although it never went in production.
Just over thirty thousand E31 models were sold, with the 850Ci being the top seller at just over twenty thousand sold cars. Despite the somewhat turbulent history of the E31, it cannot be denied that it is a sports car that hit the history books.
In the E31 series, the 840Ci may not objectively be the most powerful version, but it is by far the one held in the highest regard by enthusiasts. This is because a lighter V8 engine was used instead of the heavy V12, making it lighter than the 850Ci, which weighed almost two thousand kilograms.
The 840Ci was added to the E31 lineup in 1992 and was equipped with a 4.0-litre V8 engine until 1995. In 1996, BMW decided to increase the engine size by ten percent to 4.4 litres.
The 840Ci was built until 1999, nearly eight thousand units rolling off the assembly line. Today, this stylish BMW is on the rise, boldly joining the ranks of classics as a ‘young timer’.
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