What's New for 1997
Engine displacement is bumped up, making the 1997 840Ci and 850Ci a bit stronger than last year's models. BMW's five-speed Steptronic is now standard on both models.
What do you get when you purchase a BMW 8-Series coupe? A car that costs way too much. Of course, BMW enthusiasts will argue that we are missing the boat, but we really have no idea who is supposed to buy this vehicle.
The distinguishing feature of the BMW 8-Series is a noticeable lack of intent, a definite aberration in the standard order of BMW vehicle design. Initially developed as a luxury sports coupe, the 8-Series is now wallowing in a schizophrenic never-never land. Is the car sporty? Well its looks are appealing, but BMW's own M3 positively dusts the 8-Series in the performance category. Is the 8-Series luxurious? Though filled with interesting and well-appointed accouterments such as an on-board computer, Nappa leather upholstery, six-disc CD changer, 440-watt stereo and a heated driver's door lock, we think that it has a very cramped interior and don't feel that it is nicer than its competitors from Mercedes, Lincoln and Lexus.
Unfortunately, BMW pulled the impressive CSi from the 8-Series lineup in 1996, removing the performance component that may have justified the exorbitant price asked for these cars. We feel that if you want a small, German sports car that costs between $70,000 and $90,000, you should look at a Porsche Carrera. If you simply want an exclusive luxury car that has a performance component, check out the Lexus SC coupes; you'll be able to buy two for the price of one 8-Series.