The E30 M3 might still be the most popular modern BMW still climbing in value, but there’s another, less-boxy Bimmer whose value has been quietly climbing—the 8 Series. Beautifully proportioned, massively overengineered, and boasting twelve (and later eight) cylinders of German might, BMW’s top-of-the-line luxury grand touring coupe is finally starting to catch the eye of collectors. Many an 8 Series sat languishing untouched under stacks of wallet-evacuating repair bills for years, but rising prices might turn the tide and encourage more and more owners to get their vehicles into driving shape.
The BMW 8 Series were built in four versions during its production run between 1990 and 1999. First to launch was the V-12-powered 850i, with the V-8-powered 840Ci following for the 1992 model year. Also for 1992, BMW launched its sportiest, highest-performing 8 Series in the 850CSi, while the standard V-12 8 Series was rebranded as the 850Ci for 1993.
All versions of the BMW 8 Series—internally coded as the E31—experienced a price surge over the past year. For the highly-prized CSi, average quote values increased from $50,000 in July 2017 to nearly $90,000 as of July 2018. Concours-condition (#1) examples went from $75,000 to $100,000 in that same span, while Good-condition (#3) cars saw their average values go from $42,000 to $55,000. The 850i, 850Ci, and 840Ci show similar, but less dramatic growth curves, with average values for the V-12 models hovering at around $14,000 compared to $50,000 Concours examples. The 840Ci is slightly more expensive for the average car at about $16,000, but the top end for Concours-quality cars is just $37,000.
Our insurance quote activity—also a strong indicator of overall buyer interest—shows that the market for the BMW 8 Series is abuzz. New quotes are up 20 percent compared to a year ago, and up 104 percent since 2015, with an average age of 55 for those requesting quotes.
That age demographic makes sense, given that this was an extremely expensive car when new. The 30-year-old in 1993 probably only dreamed of owning an 8-series when it was new. Those fans can finally afford to buy the car now and, considering the necessary costs to bring neglected examples to roadworthy condition, afford the maintenance costs as well.
With the new 2019 BMW 8 Series set to debut with a twin-turbo V-8 making 523 hp, the defunct model is finally making a comeback. It’ll be BMW’s range-topping grand tourer (as before), sharing the halo-car spotlight only with the hybrid-electric i8, which is getting a bit long in the tooth despite still looking like it’s from 2047.