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BMW 8 Series

BMW 8 Series Published: 10th Aug 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

BMW 8 Series
BMW 8 Series
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Sensational spec - Outstanding value - Great touring ability - Costly to maintain

Like the Porsche 928, the 8-Series is one of the most misunderstood GTs ever created. As a result, the range depreciated heavily, ensuring amazing affordability thanks to low resale values – but (like the 928) too many fell in the wrong hands. Yet get a good one and the 8-Series makes a great GT bargain and values can only rise.


Admittedly, despite the V12’s firepower, the 8-Series is a grand tourer rather than a sports car, but some versions are more sporty than others. If anything, the lighter, slower V8 840Ci is the pick of the pack if you’re a driving enthusiast, as some BMW experts say it’s almost a M-car. Initially V12-powered before an equally good 286bhp V8 (840i) came and joined the range, the 928, this German is most at home when long distance touring but the 380bhp, 5.6-litre CSi is right up there with any Ferrari. Having said that, if you like a white-knuckle ride each time you drive, you’re probably best avoiding the 8-Series altogether as it’s not that sort of supercar. Instead, buy one for the effortless torque, a supersmooth auto (few cars are manual) and superb refinement with unbelievable amounts of standard kit.

Best models

First of all, pick a good car and not the engine as condition and a service history counts more than the number of cylinders upfront. The V12 excels with its silkiness and is fabulous when touring but 840 feels more alert.


No so long ago, you could pick one up for less than £5000 and you probably still can although you’d be mad to buy on price alone. Ten grand all just about nets an average one; you need £15K now for something good with great 8s well over £20,000. Generally speaking, the CSi is double these values.

Buying advice

Launched nearly 30 years ago but the 8 Series is still a mighty complex car with its CAM Bus wiring system and a steering integrated with its rear axle, so they need expert care although their lowly values meant many didn’t get it; a solid service history is a must. Any signs of corrosion means the car has been damaged then poorly repaired.

The interior is hard-wearing even if headlinings can sag, so look for signs of the covering coming away as putting things right can be very fiddly. Also, check that all the equipment works; it’s generally reliable, but the in-dash computer screen can play up.

The V12s are as reliable as they are smooth, as long as they’ve been maintained properly; a variable servicing system usually flags up a pit stop every 9000 miles or so. Some 4-litre V8s suffered from premature wear of the Nikasil bore lining, which destroys the engine. The 4.4-litre units are fine and many old cars will have had new liners fitted by now.

Other mechanical items are very tough, but proper servicing is essential. If the oil isn’t changed on schedule in a manual gearbox, wear is a given. Autos are very strong, and because the units are the same as those in contemporary 5 and 7-Series, there are lots of good used bits about.

There’s little to worry about with the steering, although there’s a rear-steering linkage on the 850CSi and the pipes that feed it can corrode. Replacement means dismantling the subframe, adding to the costs. Meanwhile, dampers tend to leak while rear bushes often wear. The excellent brakes are usually trouble-free, but watch for worn tyres as well as corroded alloy wheels; both are common ailments – as well as cheap tyre substitutes bought by hard up owners (many 3 Series types trading up) who bit off more than they could chew because the 8 Series aren’t cheap to keep

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