One of the most misunderstood of the “almost an M car” has to be the BMW 850CSi. Lots of debate circle around to this day whether BMW should have called the E31 850CSi an M8 or not. And with the recent introduction of BMW M’s “M Performance cars”, the 850CSi could very well have been a pre-cursor to those cars.
As a top-of-the-range sports tourer, the 850CSi took over from the prototype M8. The 850CSi used the same engine as the 850i, which was tuned so significantly that BMW assigned it a new engine code: S70B56. The modifications included a capacity increase to 5.6 liters and power increase to 380 PS (279 kW; 375 hp). The engine can be identified by the “Powered by M” inscription on the central cam cover between the two banks of cylinders.
The 850CSi’s modified suspension included stiffer springs and dampers and reduced the car’s ride height. The recirculating ball steering ratio was dropped 15% over the stock E31 setup. The 850Si also sported wider wheels, with the option of forged M Parallel wheels. The front and rear bumpers were reshaped for improved aerodynamic performance. Four round stainless steel exhaust tips replaced the square tips found on other models. The 6-speed manual gearbox was the only transmission option. In Europe all 850CSi’s came with four-wheel steering (AHK – Aktive Hinterachs-Kinematik).
Production ended in late 1996 because the S70 engine could not be modified to comply with new emission regulations without substantial re-engineering.
Today’s Imola Red 1994 example resides in Georgia USA.
Thanks everyone for recommending the E31, I had forgotten how awesome this car really is!
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