The first-gen BMW 8 Series is a bit of an odd car. Back when it was new, in the late ’80s and throughout the ’90s, it wasn’t a very loved car. It wasn’t hated by any means but there seemed to be an overwhelming feeling that it wasn’t as good as it could have been. There was a ton of potential there but the original E31 8 Series never quite lived up to it. However, now that we look back on the 8 Series, we sort of look back on it with rose-tinted glasses. It seems to be quite loved by BMW enthusiasts now, despite not being so loved when it was new. Top Gear recently made a list of reasons why we love the 8 Series now more than ever.
First, its looks. The E31 BMW 8 Series has always been a real looker. The B-pillarless profile, the short rear deck, long slanted nose and fat rear end make it look like a proper sporty grand tourer. It ticks all the right design boxes and its design will remain handsome for many, many years to come. One of the other design elements that really make the 8 Series great is its pop-up headlights. Why do we as enthusiasts love pop-up headlights so much, especially when they’re impractical, often break and annoying to fix? Because they’re awesome, that’s why. I think they bring out the inner kids in us, especially those of us who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s.
Another reason why it’s loved so much is the fact that it came with a V12. It was also an odd V12, as it was basically two BMW I6 engines glued together and it even had two ECUs one for each bank of cylinders. It was odd but it was brilliant. And if you ordered your 8 Series with a V12, you could also have it with a manual gearbox. Which is incredible.
It also brought us the first BMW M8, albeit as a concept car that never actually ended up coming to fruition. Still, it gave BMW enthusiasts a front-engine supercar to dream of and it was one helluva cool car. It packed a naturally-aspirated V12 engine, an engine that was the basis of the best road-going production engine of all time — the S70/2 V12 in the McLaren F1.
So the BMW 8 Series was a car that took many years to truly be appreciated. When it was new, it was so incredibly expensive while also being overly complicated, to it was never quite worth the money or headache. Now, though, it can truly be appreciated for what it is.[Source: Top Gear]