If you're after a pristine, low mileage 850CSi, this may well be the car for you.
One of just 1,510 units produced by BMW Motorsport between 1992 and 1996 (of which only 160 were right hand drive), this example is among the rarest variants, being one of the seven (7) RHD 850CSi's built for the Australasian market. Factory-equipped with metric (km/h) instrumentation and extensive order options, they were sold new in the following markets: Hong Kong (2), Singapore (2) and Australia (3).
This particular car (serial number CC88064) rolled off BMW’s Dingolfing production line near Munich on 14th March 1994, finished in Sterling Silver-metallic paintwork with Anthracite Buffalo sports leather upholstery. Ordered with the optional BBS light alloy (Style 5) composite wheels, it is the only such example produced in this colour combination together with selected factory order options, and is now the only surviving car of the two Hong Kong-delivered 850CSi’s.
The car was delivered to its first owner in May 1994 by BMW Concessionaires (H.K.) Ltd of Kowloon. A little over two years later - in late 1996 - the owner and his family emigrated to New Zealand and took the CSi with them. It was registered in Auckland in February 1997, with 16,080 km on the odometer, and for the following 11 years was serviced by a local BMW main dealership. The car's 2nd owner purchased it in August 2008, as part of a property deal which took place in the aftermath of the GFC. Under his ownership, the car was driven sparingly over the next five years or so and was regularly serviced by a renowned BMW specialist.
Owner number three (yours truly) took possession of the car in March 2013, with 25,911 km on the clock. Servicing was immediately entrusted to my local BMW dealership, which still employed a few technicians who'd been trained on the E31, and who continue to perform regular servicing and WOF (MOT) checks on the car.
Affectionately known as 'Stella', this very special car retains all of its original body panels, glass and paintwork - having never been near a paint shop. The underside of the car is clean and undamaged, with no visible signs of corrosion on any of the underpinnings, suspension components or body structure. The original exhaust system is in excellent condition with no leaks, holes or other damage evident. The AHK (rear wheel steering) system functions normally and there are no fluid leaks from the actuator or hoses. The differential and its dedicated oil cooler are also without leaks or signs of corrosion, although a weeping differential pinion seal was replaced soon after I purchased the car. All brake system components are in excellent condition, with plenty of life remaining in the big floating discs. Tyres are Michelin Pilot SX, of the factory-correct sizes for the staggered BBS Style-5 wheels, while the unused spare wheel and tyre are in as-new, unmarked condition.
The buffalo hide upholstery is in remarkable condition for its age, as is the remainder of the interior. This is testament to careful use by all owners, and in keeping with the car’s very low mileage of just 35,000 km (21,750 miles) to date. The original ‘Anthracite’ velour headliner is present and also in as-new condition, having befitted from a full refurbishment in 2013.
The engine compartment is in excellent, original condition throughout: very clean and devoid of any aftermarket alterations. Even the original factory ‘Cosmoline’ coating - applied to the intake manifolds and other aluminium engine components for corrosion protection - is still present. The BMW 'S70B56' Motorsport-built V12 engine has no oil or other fluid leaks. It readily fires into life following a short but distinctive whir of the starter motor - a signature sound of these cars - and immediately settles into a steady idle, with a sweet V12 burble emitting from the four large, highly-polished tailpipes. Mated to a Getrag 6-speed manual transmission (the only transmission offered for the 850CSi), this package propels the 1875 kg coupé from 0 to 100 km/h in under 6 seconds - not far off the Ferrari 348's performance figure of the same era.
On the open road, the CSi is a joy to drive: visibility is superb, handling is taut and the engine highly responsive, with fly-by wire throttle control and oodles of torque. Through the twisty bits, the car feels planted and very well balanced, with good turn-in and little tendency to understeer. Thanks to the pillarless, low-drag design with its sharply raked windscreen and driver-centric cockpit, the CSi is not only very quiet and 'slippery' at speed, but also feels quick on the road - "speed is a feeling", as they say. And should an unexpected rain shower be encountered, there is scarcely a need for wipers at speeds above 100 km/h, as any water droplets simply roll off the windscreen.
However, whilst quiet and rapid progress in this car is easily achieved, the CSi’s glorious V12 soundtrack is also not to be missed, to which end you'll often find yourself (as I do) driving with the windows down!
The ‘Servotronic’ steering system is nicely geared and perfectly weighted at all speeds, providing excellent feel and feedback in both relaxed and spirited driving styles.
The AHK (rear wheel steering) system also makes its presence known in the CSi, allowing the car to achieve good balance and poise: the improved stability it offers, particularly during high-speed lane changing or overtaking manoeuvres, is supremely reassuring.
All of these attributes combine to instill a high degree of confidence in the car, urging the driver to push on and explore its upper limits, safe in the knowledge that the excellent ABS brakes can bring the big coupé to a halt with little fuss and in a very short distance (100-0 km/h in 38 metres).
In terms of maintenance history, there is a dossier of service records from new, as well as invoices for the many new parts fitted over the years. The original BMW book pack is present, including fully stamped records of maintenance performed by numerous BMW main dealers, beginning with the original Hong Kong supplying dealership.
Aside from regular servicing, the car was recently treated to two brand new VARTA batteries, new rear brake pads, a new fuel filler flap hinge assembly, new bonnet struts, new wiper blades and a new headlamp washer pump – all genuine BMW parts. Other items recently attended to include a repair of the Main Information Display (MID) to remedy missing pixels (a common E31 complaint), and replacement of the two pressure sensors/switches on the hydraulic/brake system control unit.
A very striking and eye-catching car, 'Stella' is well-known and admired, both in local BMW circles and throughout the international BMW E31 8-series community. In recent years she has participated in various local car club events, including cross-country runs, show-and-shine days and concours displays. At the NZ national concours d'elegance in 2014, she was the only entry to achieve the judges' maximum points score for originality. Featured in several articles published by the BMW Car Club (NZ) in their ‘DIXI’ magazine, 'Stella' has also been the subject of much online discussion, across a number of E31 owners’ forums.
Attractively positioned within the current marketplace: a low-mileage RHD CSi recently sold at auction for £98k including buyer's premium, while a 75k-mile example is currently listed for sale at £89k.
As such, this stunning collector-grade car offers outstanding value, together with the assurance of secure investment potential.
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