Cars With History – 850CSi

Each Sierra Club member has a special BMW vehicle you love and are proud of and/or remember. As Satch reminds us monthly in the Roundel, BMW has a long history in motorcars and our Club is full of interesting members and their cars.
Do you remember when driving a BMW and meeting another BMW you flashed your headlights?  If so then you are a really old time European car driver?
We’d love to hear from you! If you are interested email a two or three paragraph article about yourself and/or your car to [email protected] (please, please include some pictures).


BMW made only 1,311 E31 850CSi cars.  Made by the BMW Motorsports Division there were two different models.  There was a worldwide model and a different one for USA.  Both were hand assembled by the M Division.
The worldwide European CSi was specifically built for extended high speed touring.  The USA model had a more limited design.  This specific “Cars With History” Euro model was originally sold to a Doctor in Munchen.  Prior to initial delivery the BMW Custom Shop shipped the finished car to the Alpina factory for additional chassis customization for fun driving at the Nuburgring.  Despite maintaining mods to meet USA regulations this car is still meeting all USA and BMW European regulations.

Technical Highlights

  • ENGINE: S73 V12 rated at 396 hp DIN.  This engine is a non-racing version of the BMW V12 engine used in the  McLaren F1 Supercar.  BMW made only 1,311 CSi engines.
  • TRANSMISSION: 6 speed manual only.  No options.
  • ACTIVE REAR WHEEL STEERING: Standard only on Worldwide cars.  First use of modern rear wheel steering.  Not available on USA models.
  • CHASSIS: Modified by Alpina for improved track perfomance at Nuburgring.
  • MAINTENANCE: All maintenance meets European standards and is added to USA BMW requirements.
  • ELECTRICAL SYSTEM: First production vehicle to use modern electronic design.

~James Goodfellow

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