Is This 1995 BMW 850 CSi Worth Saving? For $17k, We Think So

It has almost been 30 years since the BMW 8-Series was first introduced and while the new car is the one capturing headlines at the moment, the first-generation 8-Series remains extremely desirable, especially the manual gearbox models.

BMW never built an M8 variant of the first-generation 8-Series and instead, the range was topped out by the 850 CSi. This variant used an extensively modified (to the point that it got a new engine code – S70B56) version of the regular 850i’s naturally-aspirated V12, enlarged to 5.6-liters. It pumped out 375 hp (380PS) at 5,300 rpm and 406 lb-ft (550 Nm) of torque at 4,000 rpm.

Production of this near-M coupe was extremely limited, as just 1,510 units were ever built, with only 225 of those officially destined for the USA from 1993 to 1995. One of U.S.-spec 850 CSi was recently up for sale on eBay where it sold for $16,900.

Also Read: New BMW 8-Series Is A Playful GT, But Does It Justify Its Price?

The 850 CSi is a 1995 example and was located in Missouri. It was sold with a salvage title due to damage sustained to the front end but the engine appears to be in perfect working order and has covered 48,492 miles (78,000 km).

The listing stated that no frame damage has been done to the car, except for the frame horns. While it looks like it might be doable to repair this 8-Series and return it to the road, you have to wonder if it’s worth it. Regular E31 parts are often pricey and very hard to come by, so you can imagine the difficulty and costs associated with even rarer 850CSi-specific components.

Read: Owner Spent $47,580 in Service for BMW 850CSi Over the Last 37,000 Miles!

On the other hand, being that only 225 cars were made for America, minus those that have been destroyed over the years, makes the 850CSi a highly collectible item with a matching price tag. A quick search on eBay showed zero examples of the 850CSi for sale, while on Autotrader, there’s only a single listing in the entire USA, a 1994 model with 130,839 miles for $65,000.

So while it may come with a salvage title, if it does not have structural damage, we think that this fairly-low mileage model could either net it’s new owner a good return upon resale, or get him into an otherwise, very expensive (and pretty difficult to find these days) classic, for a comparatively low entry price. Plus, it’s not like you won’t have to pour money into any E31 to get it into perfect condition, no matter how well it was treated from its previous owners. At least with this one, you’re buying it knowing that from the get go.


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  • Seats & a steering wheel

    There is a link in the body of the article to another story where an owner of an 850CSI has spent $47,580 in maintenance over a period of 37,000 miles. There’s the answer to your question. These cars, while beautiful and desirable are massive money pits and should be avoided at all costs unless you have very deep pockets and have money to burn. Look at the Tyler Hoover channel on YouTube, every BMW he’s touched as been a disaster.

  • Keith G

    LOL this site is obviously run by kids. If you restore it to its former glory, it will cost more than $8K which is the price when you sell it.

    • JohnCarscoop

      Trolling I assume, but I’ll bite. The car in this condition, as is, was sold for $17k. Only 225 were offered in the States, how many do you think are still in circulation? The collector’s car market is a different universe when it comes to valuation. You might not like it, agree with it or find it reasonable from a practical viewpoint, but it is what it is.

      • Keith G

        Dude, it had an accident record and a rebuild title… No one is going to pay full price

        • JohnCarscoop

          You either get how the collectible market works or you don’t. Like art, collectible cars are worth as much as much as someone is willing to pay for it. Just take a look at specific Porsche models or E30 M3s. Even here, some editions are far more valuable than others. The 850CSi is the pinnacle of the E31 series. If BMW built 5,000 850CSis for the U.S., and a few dozen of them were available for sale at any given time, then few would risk the investment to restore a rebuilt-title model. But in this instance, only 225 were made and right now, we only found 1 for sale in the entire USA! Do the math. You’re using everyday / mainstream car reasoning on a collectable item.

          • Keith G

            I would be foolish and desperate to buy this as an investment because let’s face it, people who have the money is going to buy this as a garage queen. They don’t care about BMWs unlike the kids such as yourself frequenting this site. Garage queens will be resold at some point in their life.

            Why would anyone buy this when there are also collectibles in mint condition with 200 miles on it that doesn’t have an accident title?

          • JohnCarscoop

            By-passing the name-calling (FYI, I’m not “just visiting the site”, you might want check that out…), I was only trying to reason with you and provide some perspective on a field you’re (obviously) not well versed in, but sometimes you just have to accept it’s a lost battle.

          • Keith G

            Your only credential is that it is a salvage BMW you can buy with a loan for less than $20K

  • Bo Hanan

    That V12 engine is a detuned version of what is in the McLaren F1. That alone makes it worth keeping/restoring.


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