Next week on the shores of Lake Como, in the shade of a 16th century villa set on 25 acres of renaissance gardens, BMW will finally revive the 8 Series.
The original E31 8 Series produced from 1989 to 1999 is up there with the most timeless designs, penned by a largely unrecognised German designer called Klaus Kapitza. He was appointed to the job by BMW’s styling boss Claus Luthe, who gave the Bavarian cars their unmistakable look and one of the most instantly recognisable down-the-road graphics in history.
Despite the magnitude of the task, Kapitza exercised commendable restraint when he drew up BMW’s first proper Grand Tourer since the Fifties. The E31 was also the company’s first ever V12-engined coupé, and looks like it belongs anywhere still to this day, with pillarless windows and pop-up headlights a total antithesis to today’s lavishly decorated cars with fake intakes and ‘centrelock’ wheels. Starting with a clean sheet, when designing it Kapitza added less than he took away. An 8 Series revival is way overdue and if anything, we reckon it’s because it would be hard to top the E31 and BMW knows it. The Bavarians’ biggest challenge with the concept due next week at the Concorso d’Eleganza, will be living up to Kapitza’s legacy.
For such a significant car in the Munich company’s history original E31 8 Series examples are perhaps undervalued and can only go up considering you can get one now for a steal. Yes, the very best CSi models and rare Alpinas are nearing $100,000 (Dh367,290) but you can join that club from $20,000 for loads of usable cars with under 100,000km showing.
Values will climb as the revived 8 Series hits the roads next year, and that thing will range from $150,000 to $200,000. The E31 won’t play catch-up for too long — BMW made 30,000 of them in total over a decade-long production run, and as the new car depreciates the original will appreciate. It won’t be long before they meet in the middle.
Besides looking unbelievably classy the E31 also arrived as maybe the most technically advanced car of its day. There was traction control and stability control, speed variable steering and some crude adaptive dampers and everything was electric including the steering wheel adjustment with memory functions… The V12 engine in the 850 models needed two ECUs to run things, but contrary to popular belief it didn’t actually serve as the base for the McLaren F1’s V12 as the late and legendary engine guru Paul Rosche later cleared it all up saying he designed the V12 for Gordon Murray’s supercar all from scratch… Anyway, go and buy an E31.