1996 BMW 8 Series Review
Excellent Value Indeed. Just Be Sure To Choose Wisely When Settling On Your Particular Car — The 1996 BMW 840Ci (E31) is equipped with the all-aluminum V-8 M62 motor which is, for the most part, bullet-proof provided you maintain the engine in a reasonable fashion. The power is more than adequate for the shear weight of this car—it certainly is no SL (Super Light). In fact, it’s down right beasty in terms of a touring car. The engine is certainly powerful enough to compensate for the ridged construction. The Transmission is quiet and shifts well and spritey with out the need to fiddle about with the sport mode shift feature. Suspension is dampened for city driving and perfect for highway driving for which this car was designed. If you need to take a long trip, the BMW 840Ci is the perfect choice for the long task ahead. Interior is just beautiful and visibility is outstanding. A car of this quality and performance is more than on par with the Porsche 928’s of its day. My greatest concern is an electrical gremlin. So far, no electrical problems. I have the M62 motor and persnickity ZF transmission which can really be a financial disaster if that should fail. A replacement will set you back $6,000 plus labor / installation. Don't be lead to believe that the transmission is maintenance free. It is advisable to change the fluid and filter at about 100,000 miles and be absolutely sure that you use the correct transmission fluid for your specific transmission based on the ID plate located on the transmission housing. Shy away from a compete tranny flush on the ZF transmissions…not advisable at all. I believe that the 1990's 8-Series is the most under valued collectors car that money can buy and I continue to scratch my head as to why more interest and value is not applied to this production run. a very well maintained 840 is currently between $15,000 - $18,000 and is well worth the effort and money. Stay away from the 850 V-12 motor...an utter maintenance disaster and the most dreaded of all BMW motors. If you don't believe me, own one and maintain one for a few year and you'll quickly be a believer. The 840Ci and especially the later model years are the best to seek out and so be prepared to shell out $18,000 or possibly more for a well cared for car.
Primary Use: Sport/fun (spirited driving, track racing, off-roading, etc.)
Pros: Fit and finish are superb and the interior and long term driving comfort is second to none. The 840Ci’s are real head turners for sure so for those hell bent on showboating around town, they can’t be beat. For snob-appeal, casually pull up to a light next to some sorry sap who paid upwards of around $70,000 + for his M5 or 750il and see the envious expression one might on occasions receive. Casually drive off in a civilized manner when the light turns green and see if the clod storms off in a cloud of exhaust and dust as if to refute his inadequacies of character. Quite humorous actually since you paid less for your late 1990’s BMW 840 than he paid in sales tax for his newer model.
Cons: The 840 is a rather expensive vehicle to maintain so be prepared to spend at least $1000 annually to have it in top notch condition. Once you start getting up around 90K, be prepared to replace coolant components and the dreaded valley pan. Other issues include the quirky CV joint replacement on the rear driveshaft. Leaky valve cover gaskets and a sundry of other gaskets that tend to leak such as the transmission pan on occasions. A solid rebuild will cost between $360-400 for the part plus a core charge.
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