1992 BMW 850i black on black automatic - VIN# WBAEG2315NCB74136
built in Dingolfing, Germany


Under 84K well cared for, adult driven miles with many highly desirable upgrades: I bought this car in 2003 when it had only 60,257 miles. It now has barely 83,750 miles. That's barely 3,300 miles a year - well below average! Always garaged - winner of the 2004 San Diego Chapter BMWCCA Clean Car Contest in the Super Clean category (trophy is included) - Toothpicks and cotton swabs were my cleaning tools in that kind of competition! When looking at other sellers, mostly dealers, you'll notice they say very little or as little as possible about the factual condition of their cars. They want YOU to do all the leg work to discover the hidden issues with their cars and they hope you'll never find out. I believe in complete honesty about the condition of this car and I stand by its entire description. You'll also notice a lot of salvaged, storm exposed or rebuilt cars out there. I'm not automatically saying stay away from them, you can get some real good deals - but if you want a well maintained, adult driven, tastefully upgraded 8 Series that you can just get in and drive across the country, this is the car.

Truly an example that represents the 8 series properly as one of the most unique and timeless cars ever produced prompting TV's Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson to remark that the BMW 8-Series is "an iron fist, in a velvet glove."  The top examples of original surviving low mile BMW 8 series just may prove to be collectible and as valuable as the top examples of 60s muscle cars and similar in the near future. Few will argue that the BMW 8 series is a timeless car yet to be matched in style and looks by just about anything made since. One thing I have learned watching cars progress since this car was new;  Although there are really nice improvements in technology, you will never see the workmanship quality put into any car any time soon as the top high line BMW/Mercedes cars of the 90s had. The 750s, the 8 series for BMW and the S/SL 600s for Mercedes. Although technology had gone up, workmanship quality and certainly the quality of materials used in even the top cars today have gone down since. This car was $100K in 1991 for a reason. You cannot duplicate this today for under the price of a new Phantom. I have owned lots of cars. The BMW 8 is a car that's always at the top of the list and sadly for me, but good for you - this example can now be yours.

BACKGROUND: In 2009 the world celebrated the 20th anniversary of the BMW 8, an unparalleled series beloved by owners, coveted by collectors and still hailed for it's groundbreaking design today. With over three quarters of models outfitted with 12 cylinder power plants, the 8 series represented the pinnacle of BMW power, style and luxury on streets across the world until production ended in 1999. Today, the 8 series represents yet another chapter of a proud legacy that BMW carries on and celebrates two decades later. The BMW 8-Series, or E31, was produced and imported from 1991-1997 in an 850 (V12) or in later years an optional 840 (V8) version. The 840 is more common in the latter years and was a bit less money and performance, but uses the same frame and body style. As with the two engine options, the E31 was offered in an automatic, or a 6 speed. The E31 is truly an engineering marvel set in a timeless classic body yet to be matched by anything BMW has built since in looks and build quality.

The E31 850 was also offered in the 850CSi version in 1994-1995, here in the US, with a total of about 200 cars ever produced. This was an improvement to an already incredible car having a few basic body enhancements over the regular 850 and a bit more power than any other 850 boasting a decent 380HP at the flywheel from roughly the same V12 with 5.6 liters. The 850CSi was only offered in the 6 speed.

THIS CAR'S UPGRADES: Since the 850CSi was only produced for two years in 94-95, and my particular car here is a 92, it was upgraded to most of the 850 specs within reason and integrity. The front bumper is an obvious upgrade to the more aerodynamic CSi body shape and is factory BMW. This is a simple bolt on once you find and paint the parts, but the parts are near impossible to find anymore and are extremely expensive. The highly desirable M-Sport mirrors is another example of a perfectly reasonable upgrade. The stock mirrors, are often called "Dumbo Ears" for obvious reasons. Compare and you will see this is an elegant and sexy must-have upgrade.

To make this car have more power without altering the originality or integrity, a few basic things were done.  First, the computer chips were changed. The V12 cars use two "DME" computers.  The DMEs each run one side of the twin 6 cylinder engine. These DME chips are the popular Conforti chips, giving the car about 30HP over its 296HP rating. Replacement of these chips allow the car to have more responsive acceleration, throttle response, and HP. Then there is the exhaust. The Racing Dynamics Sport Silencer exhaust transforms this already attention getting car, to a musical tune not heard by other cars on the road. Although it took extensive work to install and only gives the car 16 actual HP, but the sound is so impressive that you just want to listen to it all day. One of the more pleasurable aspects of this car is the distinctive idling sound it makes - it's signature is rich, powerful, and exotic; often turning heads. Even just starting the V12 is a pleasure of sound all on its own.

NOTE: This car is not without its flaws.
Ensure you review ALL details and close up pictures about this car at the paint & blemish page.

Also see the newly added Interior and Engine page for more detailed pictures of the inside. Use all the links - there's a ton of information in there.

SUSPENSION & GEARING: The springs on this car were upgraded to a lower and stiffer aftermarket spring that is a very good improvement over all factory E31s CSI or not. The rear differential was changed out to a 3:91 ratio Limited Slip unit. This is a HUGE and highly sought after improvement on the 850 automatic, giving the car a better acceleration with little to no effect on top speed or drivability. It is the ratio the factory should have used in the first place and is recommended to all automatic versions of this car. It took me nearly two years to even FIND the right differential that works in this car; and the competition for this item is fierce often resulting in a prime price for well conditioned units. The donor has to be an M5 within a short and specific manufacturing time period in order to fit straight into this car. Today, I would be surprised if anyone could even obtain a reasonably well maintained candidate. This car comes equipped with the very desirable adjustable, thicker set of sway bars. These parts are custom made specially for the E31 and replace the stock sway bars often found to be inadequate for anything more than Sunday cruising. This is such a desirable upgrade and improves cornering so well, I have much enjoyed seeing the surprised faces of young M3 drivers when they discover that this car has no problem keeping pace in the corners with them. You cannot even get these sway bars anymore (unless you buy a donor that has them).

With all of the performance modifications, this particular 850 has 286HP to the wheels.  That is roughly about 342 easily tap-able HP at the flywheel, only 38 flywheel horses short of the 850CSi, but it is as close as you can get without altering the engine - which is a $20,000 project for this car if you're so inclined in the future.

TIRES & ACCESSORIES: The headlamp lenses are of course glass, not plastic and all the headlight adjusters that tend to become problematic in under-kept cars, are perfect in this car. Also, all the headlamps come on when the bright lights are pulled. This was a disabled feature on the 8 series in the US. The wheels and tires are an upgrade (Roundel 58s) and are later model 18" BMW wheels with high-performance Vredestein Sessanta tires, regarded as the number one performance tire in Europe today. Fronts are 245/40/ZR18 and the rears are 275/35ZR18 providing you lots of grip when using Sport or Manual Mode. This is a true looks and handling upgrade, over the best tires ever offered on any stock 8-Series. The original wheels/tires on all models of the E31 are defiantly a weak point. This is a must for any E31 owner! All the glazing and rubber is in fantastic shape and well maintained - still soft - still un-torn, except for one small tear in the driver's window rubber trim where the front and rear windows meet. Interior leather and dash are all in great shape. The A/C runs strong and cold and the heater runs warm as expected.

AUDIO & SOUNDPROOFING: This car also comes equipped with a custom designed high watt stereo system for your road trip enjoyment. Controlling this sound is an Alpine CDA-7995 CD/MP3 head unit with removable face. Power is delivered by a Thunder 4405 5-channel power amplifier driving THREE JL Audio 10" dual voice coil subwoofers surrounded by a custom box located in the trunk and Polk Audio tweeters and mids. While this system was being installed, the previous owner also enhanced the sound proofing in all doors and site panels. This car is more quiet on the road than any stock E31. Backing up this sound system are two new Optima Yellow Top deep cycle batteries. Most E31 owners in the know will tell you that the E31's electrical and power supply system was not the most optimal design. Since virtually every hallow space inside the 8 is host to a control unit, many with memory and sensors, it's no wonder the E31 has such a high resting current drain.

Just look at the actual figures: With the trunk compartment lights off: 1) Driver's door open: 4.8 - 5.0 Amps, 2) Driver's door closed: 4.1 Amps for 20 seconds, then reduced to approx. 450-470mA for next 16 mins., then reduced to approximately 50mA. With the trunk compartment lights on: 1) Driver's door open approx. 6.1-6.4 Amps, 2) Driver's door closed--approx. 5.9-6.1 Amps for 20 seconds, then reduced to approx. 2.5 Amps for the next 16 mins., then reduced to approx. 50mA. What this does to a 'normal' battery over time is reduce its ability to hold a charge until you find yourself jump starting your car every few weeks of non-operation. If you don't drive your car every single day, yu can either keep your car plugged into a battery tender which would help prevent the draw on the batteries while this car enters sleep mode, or use premium deep cycle gel core batteris like the Optimas. Compared to conventional batteries, voltage output from an Optima battery is more uniform across the discharge curve, more deep cycles are tolerated, and they can be mounted in any position with zero corrosion and zero leaks. They recharge faster than conventional batteries, and typically deliver 1.5 - 2x the service life. What this means for the E31 is that these batteries can tolerate the 20 minute to sleep mode and performance audio applications, without suffering the discharge of a normal battery. It means they'll always be hassle free for you. Do I love my batteries? Yes I believe that I do!

MISCELLANEOUS: In addition to this car's specific enhancements, I have spent a lot of time and money getting the basics right by replacing worn out plastic wheel well pieces, air collectors and connecting hoses, brake lines with stainless steel ones, repairing common seat motor issues and basically getting this car in perfect working order. Everything works as expected on this car. There are no switches, knobs, levers, buttons, signals, or lights that are non-operational. The OBC (On Board Computer) has NO pixel problems (an issue common to this unit), and the brake pressure accumulator is brand new. Following is a more comprehensive list of improvements made to, repairs done, and problems with this car.


I have records going back to 1998. Here you can see the records that existed when I bought the car. I have, but have not scanned, the remaining records of the following are repairs, which were performed under my supervision:

  • Regular oil/filter changes every 3,000 miles
  • All wheels reconditioned and brought back to new condition 06/10
  • Hood and front bumper re-spray - Looks new! 03/10
  • New Optima Yellow Top gel-cell deep cycling batteries - 01/10
  • New tires - 10/09
  • New brakes, rotors and sensors - 10/09
  • New front bushings - 10/09
  • Replaced brake bomb - 09/09
  • Transmission fluid serviced - 10/08
  • Front brake dust shields replaced - 10/08
  • New spark plugs, caps and rotors - 8/07
  • Replaced tie rods - 1/05
  • Replaced right thrust arm - 1/05
  • Rebuilt steering gear and steering control arm - 06/04
  • Replaced air collectors, ducts, and hoses - 04/04
  • Replaced all wheel well plastic parts - 12/03
  • Oxygen sensors replaced - 10/03
  • Fuel filters replaced - 10/03

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY: Even though this car won a clean car contest and has been meticulously taken apart inside to clean every nook and cranny and repair anything needing it, this car is not without its flaws. Pictures can look very good online but sometimes do not accurately reflect exact conditions. I have provided pictures of these items to the best of my ability so you can be confident you are aware of everything. You should be aware of these items before purchasing so you will not have unrealistic expectations about this vehicle.

To help you evaluate this car for purchase and to help you compare to all other E31s you may be considering, I am providing the following useful material to aid you in your search. I think you will find in the end, that this automobile will fall within the 90th percentile for preservation, quality and maintenance.

Original manufacturer build sheet - Production copy of original equipment at date of manufacture

BMW E31 Pre-Purchase Checklist .pdf - a special checklist specifically created to evaluate the E31 for its particular issues


E31 Complete Car Training Manual .pdf (2.5MB) - Used to teach BMW technicians about the BMW 850.

BMW M70 V12 Engine Training Manual .pdf (10.5MB) - Used to teach BMW technicians about the normal operating specifications that apply to the M70 V12 engine.

1994 Road & Track Article .pdf - Review of the 1994 BMW 850CSi

Exploded View M70 V-12 Engine.jpg - Exploded view of the M70 V12 - makes a nice poster

V12 Engine Blueprint .bmp (17MB) - Rear View

V12 Engine Blueprint .bmp (29MB) - Side View

V12 Engine Blueprint .bmp (4MB) - Front View

RealOEM.com - A complete online version of the ETK giving you access to all part numbers and most prices for all BMWs

Repair Manuals - Complete Set - These are the shop manuals and torque-specs for the entire car that BMW mechanics use to repair this car. Know what they know before asking for a quote! These and ALL above material will be provided to the buyer on a DVD upon purchase.

The down side to all E31's are that they are a very heavy machine, weighing right about 4000 lbs. This is good for drivability and stability, as the car is simply one of the best feeling cars ever built. And don't be fooled by the weight; you will quickly find yourself at 95mph while thinking you're only cruising at 60mph! Needless to say, maturity and experience are your two best friends when you're out enjoying the Eight as it offers very adequate acceleration, great top end reliability and endurance, and is simply a blast to drive. If you want an incredible car that is built extremely well, is very rare and collectable and has a certain appreciating future, the BMW 850 does all of this. I am confident you will have a hard time finding an E31 in as good a shape, as well maintained, with as many optional and highly desirable upgrades already done to this one. And if you become the new owner of this automobile, you will find support from a healthy and vibrant community of E31 enthusiasts at RoadFly.com and 8coupe.com to help you maintain and enjoy your new car.

MORE HISTORY: The BMW 8 Series was a brand new value proposition that was focused on a different market entirely from the previous BMW 6 Series. Costing around $100,000, production on the 8 Series began in 1984 and ended in 1999 with a total of 30,261 produced. Showcased at the Frankfurt Motor Show in '89, the 8 Series was built to compete with the upcoming Mercedes SL.

In 1997, BMW pulled the 8 Series out of the North American market due to poor sales. Production was continued in Europe until 1999. Introduced in 1989, the 850i was the original model with the 5 liter M70B50 engine that produced 300 bhp. The 850i was available with either a 6-speed gearbox or a 4-speed automatic, and was quite possibly the most advanced car available at the time.

The encourage an obvious distinction between the 8-series and BMW's regular sedans, the C was introduced in the 850Ci version. In 1994, for a period of nine months, both the M70 and M73 engine vehicles were installed with the new M73B54 engine, both named the 850Ci. The M70 kept the same transmission options from the 850i. The M73 engine acquired a new 5 speed automatic. The power output soured to 326 bhp, while the capacity of the M73 was increased to 5.4 liters and the compression ratio continued to climb.

Referred to at times as an M8, the new top of the range sports tourer, the 850CSi utilized the same engine as the 850i. Believing that it needed a new engine code, it was modified to include a capacity hike to 5.6 liters and an increase in power up to 380 bhp. An authentic M-car, the 850CSi was produced from August of 1992 until October of 1996, with only a total of 1510 units ever reaching production. From January of 1997 on, stricter emission guidelines were set which ended the development of the 850CSi.

Many new modifications and updates were introduced along with this new model. These included stiffer springs and dampers, wider wheels, and a new modified suspension with reduced ride height, and the options of forged alloys. To enhance aerodynamic performance, the front and rear bumpers were modified accordingly. The old square stainless steel exhaust pipes were replaced with four round pipers. Additional modifications including electro-hydraulically operated steering rear axle, called AHK. The only transmission option was the 6-speed manual gearbox.

Production on the BMW was ended in late 1996 due to higher emission regulations that were too strict for the S70 engine.


DETAILED CLOSE UPs: Paint & Blemish page

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS: Interior and Engine page

MSRP * $78,500 - $78,500
Engine 5.0L V-12 296 HP
Transmission Standard:
4-spd auto w/OD
Engine 5.0L V-12 296 HP
Transmission Standard:
4-spd auto w/OD
Fuel Type premium unleaded
Fuel Tank 23.8 gal.
  Steering and Suspension  
Ride Control automatic
Front Suspension strut
Anti-Roll Bars front & rear
Brakes 4 wheel disc
Spare Tire and Wheel alloy
  Seating and Interior  
Front Seat Type bucket
Front Seat Direction Controls (all-way power)
Door Trim leather
  Comfort and Conveniences  
Sunroof power
Seats heated
Climate Control automatic air conditioning
Radio AM stereo/FM stereo
CD 6-disc
Cruise Control cruise control
Door Locks power
Steering Wheel Material leather
External Mirrors all-way heated
Front Windows power
Tinted Windows light
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) 4-wheel (ABS)
Front Impact Airbags driver front-impact
Security System engine shut off anti-theft
  Dimensions and Capacities  
Exterior Length 188.2 "
Exterior Width 73.0 "
Exterior Height 52.8 "
Wheelbase 106 "

Please enjoy and thoroughly review all photos of this car - you may ask any questions you have prior to purchase. Just email me directly.


Updated Pictures: