Conceived in the Eighties as a way to push BMW further upmarket, the first 8 series (known by its internal designation E31) was a technological and styling tour de force. Arguably the prettiest car to emerge from the manufacturer, the pillarless coupe design remains very striking and also housed that always-cool feature now effectively killed off by safety regulations: pop up headlights.
The original 840Ci as we see here came equipped with a 4 litre V8 producing 286bhp and driving the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic gearbox, though many would argue that the automatic better suits the GT nature of the car.
The car received a mixed reception at the time which largely seemed to be because no-one knew quite what to expect. The passage of time has seen it mature into a very desirable modern classic with a broad range of enthusiastic owners who are very happy to share advice, tips and technical knowledge on social media.
The current owner is a lifelong BMW enthusiast, having owned more than twenty different examples of various models. He acquired this 840Ci three years ago from a dealer in Yorkshire where he part exchanged a 3 series in return for a car he had long desired to own. Prior to this, it appears from the paperwork to have been based largely in the South of the country, with at least some of its time spent in London.
During his ownership, the seller has enjoyed a number of BMW Club meetings and touring his native Wales. On one such tour in 2019, he unfortunately caught a rock on the inside of a corner, damaging the wheel beyond repair. Sourcing a single wheel proved problematic so he decided to invest in a full new set.
Between events, he has concentrated on maintaining and improving the car which has also been treated to a new exhaust, regassed aircon, new throttle bodies, new rear pads and regular servicing in recent years. When the onboard computer decided not to play any more, he took the opportunity to install a double DIN Bluetooth head unit which incorporates a reversing camera. Obviously no stranger to electrical work, he also undertook a rebuild of the seat wiring which were proving troublesome and was mostly successful in that they are fully operational with the exception of the recline and height adjustment on the driver’s seat.
When not in use, it has always been garaged at the owner’s home. Having enjoyed the car, sadly ill health means that he is now reducing his collection.
Accompanying the car is a selection of invoices and old MOTs from throughout the car’s life which doesn’t provide a complete audit trail but certainly shows some evidence of the attention that has clearly been lavished on the car to maintain it. There are receipts for the recent new wheels and service work and a weighty tome sourced from the US which is a BMW-produced guide on how to troubleshoot the electrical systems.
There are 2 keys and a full set of owner’s manuals in their original leather wallet. The V5 is present and correct in the owner’s name and the next MOT is due on 30 June 2022.
At its launch, the 8 series was the pinnacle of the BMW range and, climbing aboard, it certainly feels suitably opulent. Though there is some patina, the light grey interior has worn well and the seats remain supremely comfortable, even if the range of movement is a little less than it would have been originally, with the driver’s seat back control inoperative and the height control only partially working. However there is no problem getting a good driving position and the Bluetooth head unit helps to bring it a little up to date for day to day use.
Seat controls aside, all of the electrical gizmos work as intended with the exception of the sunroof which slides but no longer tilts and the 6 disc unit is not connected to the head unit. Behind the attractive steering wheel which is uncluttered by buttons, the dashboard is a model of clarity and all of the pixels in the display are present and correct. A discrete addition is lighter socket on the side of the centre console which is being used for USB charging while on the passenger side, the glovebox contains a delightful pair of fold up cup holders which are a work of art in themselves if, one suspects, a little small for your Grande Latte.
The central air vent does have a small chunk missing from its left side but otherwise there are no battle scars to speak of with clean, taut headlining and carpets all intact. The rear seats, as is no doubt typical in 2+2’s such as this, look hardly to have been used and the central armrest still contains the original first aid kit, although we doubt that the antiseptic cream is still in date.
In the boot, the full toolkit is present and can be safely secured to the boot lid, not always a given in these cars. The load area, meanwhile, is very clean and under the boot floor is an alloy spare with good tread. The jack is also present behind the side trim. In all, it retains its luxury aura and would be a great place to be for any long journey.
Finished in Oxford Green and with a fresh set of wheels, this car is a real head turner. During our photo shoot, it attracted a stream of interested passers by who were all keen to know more about it.
On closer inspection there are a few blemishes, as you would expect: a small dent on the nearside front wing, some small imperfections in the surface of the bootlid and roof ahead of the sunroof and a chip on the driver’s door. The front also shows a few stone chips. But you have to be looking closely; the overall effect is stunning.
The underside has have been sealed at some point but all looks to be very solid, with the exhaust looking an obvious recent addition. The wheels were shod with brand new Pirelli’s when they were fitted in 2019 and have seen few miles since so there’s plenty of tread remaining.
The 4 litre V8 starts first time every time with an enthusiastic rumble from the replacement exhaust which also makes its presence known under load but fades into the background at a cruise.
The engine pulls strongly, feeling faster than its 0-60 time of 7.4 seconds would suggest and the auto box changes smoothly. On a country road, the damping still feels tight and there are no untoward noises from the drivetrain or suspension.
It’s obviously been well maintained as despite the mileage on the clock, this car still feels eager to be used.
BMW’s first attempt at an 8 series harks back to an era when the brand was more focused on classically attractive lines than today’s more challenging designs and, as a result, has aged exceptionally well to our eyes. Oxford Green suits the design very well and, matched with the grey interior, it remains a classy combination which is appreciated by the public at large.
Sure, there are a few signs of the car’s age and mileage and, while it will need more looking after than a more modern car, it has clearly been carefully maintained and she has a lot more life in her yet. So if you fancy a fantastic V8 soundtrack from a modern classic GT car, then get bidding now and be prepared to meet some new friends.
Notice to bidders
Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.
As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.
The max bid process allows you to bid without any hassle.
Enter your maximum bid and we will then bid on your behalf to ensure you're the highest bidder - just enough to keep you in the lead and only up until your maximum.
C&C prevent auction snipers from bidding in the last seconds to win an auction.
Auctions are extended by 5-minutes if anyone bids within the last 2 minutes to allow other bidders to react and counter-bid.
If your maximum bid is below the reserve price you'll bid that amount if you are the highest bidder.
If your maximum bid is above the reserve and you are the highest bidder - we will only auto-bid for you up to the reserve price.
Once the reserve has been met, C&C will make sure you are the highest bidder using the bidding increments stated below, keeping you in the lead up until your maximum bid OR up until just below your maximum bid when the increment value would have taken you higher than your maximum bid.
Once the reserve has been met C&C will make sure you are the highest bidder using only the bidding increments stated below, keeping you in the lead up until your maximum bid OR up to the next increment closest to your maximum bid if your maximum bid isn't enough for the increment value.
£0 to £10,000
£10,000 to £50,000
Automatically outbid immediately
When you place a max bid and are outbid immediately that means that another bidder has placed a max bid limit which is higher than yours. You can bid again and we will use our automatic bid system to try and get you as the highest bidder.
Matching max bids
When there are two max bids of the same value, the one placed first remains the lead bidder.
Watch this auction
Get notified when the auction is starting, and half an hour before it ends.
Problem with your bid
Bids are contractually binding. To help protect you, we have some rules in place if we think it's been mistyped. Please check and amend what you have entered.