Timelessly alluring: 25 years of the BMW 8 Series.
Munich. It was streets ahead of its time at launch and maintains an ageless glow to this day, yet a glance at the calendar reveals the disarming truth: 25 years have passed since the BMW 8 Series was presented to the world at large for the first time. The car’s international fan community duly came together last weekend at its Bavarian birthplace to celebrate the anniversary, with events including a spectacular parade of 120 cars at the BMW Group headquarters highlighting their collective adoration of the brand’s exclusive luxury Coupe.
The event was a team effort fronted by the BMW 8 Series club 8er.org (The international 8 Series community) and ClubE31 Worldwide Owners Group e.V. with support from the BMW Club International Office. The 260 participants from 20 countries began proceedings with a tour of BMW Plant Dingolfing, where the BMW 8 Series was produced from 1989 through to 1999. The second highlight of the weekend was the gathering of club members and their cars at the BMW Museum and BMW “four-cylinder” head office in Munich for a combined photo shoot. The BMW 8 Series models fanned out in formation according to paintwork shade, creating an imposing image – and an added attraction for visitors to the BMW Museum and adjacent BMW Welt.
ClubE31 Worldwide Owners Group e.V. brings together more than 2,000 owners and fans of the BMW 8 Series from around the world. The club’s activities include regular national and international meetings and a lively experience-sharing forum. Here, members can find assistance in procuring replacement parts and expertise to help them with the upkeep and care of their cars. The meeting in Dingolfing and Munich attracted enthusiasts from the USA, Iceland and New Zealand, among other countries. Two club representations from Spain, meanwhile, decided to take their cars on a particularly epic journey to celebrate the BMW 8 Series anniversary, driving them more than 1,800 kilometres (approx. 1,120 miles) and almost 2,500 kilometres (1,550 miles) respectively to Bavaria for the event.
The BMW 8 Series stands out as a landmark model in a BMW Coupe lineage that dates back to the 1930s. A clean-sheet design, the car tagged “E31” by its maker launched its challenge to the world’s finest sports coupes with a design oozing avant-garde elegance, arresting performance attributes, an exceptional wealth of innovations and a sprinkling of exclusive luxury. The BMW 850i presented at the 1989 International Motor Show in Frankfurt represented a demonstration of the Munich-based carmaker’s development expertise, revealing not only a cutting-edge new design line but also an unparalleled array of technological details making their automotive debuts. The design of the wedge-shaped body – headlined most strikingly by a long, swooping bonnet (housing retractable headlights), smooth lines, the absence of B-pillars and a steeply cut rear end – showcased the dynamics and grace of the new coupe with equal élan.
The BMW 850i, moreover, followed the BMW 750i luxury Sedan introduced two years earlier as the second post-war German car to be powered by a 12-cylinder engine. The 5.0-litre unit developed 220 kW/300 hp and peak torque of 450 Newton metres (332 lb-ft) to propel the 1,790 kg 2+2-seater from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.8 seconds.