Here's Why the BMW 850CSi Was the Best BMW of the 1990s

Here's Why the BMW 850CSi Was the Best BMW of the 1990s

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this is a 1995 BMW 850 CSI and it is the coolest BMW from the 1990s and yes I understand all the implications behind saying that and I also understand that the z8 came out in 2000 today I'm gonna take you on a tour of the 850 CSI and by the end of this video I suspect you'll agree that you wouldn't want to own any 1990s BMW more than this one before I start my tour I'm gonna give you a brief overview of the 850 CSI now the BMW 8
00:34
series was sold in the United States from 1991 to 1997 it was the flagship coupe model it was the two-door companion to the BMW 7-series luxury sedan and much like the Mercedes CL was to the Mercedes s-class although the 8 series was sporty-er the base model in the 8 Series line-up was the 840 I later the 840 CI which used a v8 with about 300 horsepower there was also the 850 I later the 850 CI which used a 5 litre v12 that also had about 300 horsepower but had a lot more torque
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and then at the top of the lineup there was this the 850 CSI the ultra-high performance model used a five point six liter v12 that later formed the basis of the engine that was in the famed McLaren f1 the 850 CSI had 375 horsepower and every single 850 CSI had a six-speed manual transmission making it one of the few modern-day stick shift v12 the 850 CSI is incredibly rare BMW
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only made about 1500 of these for the entire world which makes this car about as rare as a Ferrari f40 or a Porsche Carrera GT over those 1500 only 225 were imported to North America and this is one of the 225 when this car was new the original window sticker price back in 1995 was about a hundred and five thousand dollars which translates to about a hundred and seventy five thousand dollars in today's money and these things are becoming collectible values are on the rise and really nice
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examples of these consulter around $100,000 today I'm gonna take you want a tour of the 850 CSI and I'm going to show you the interesting quirks and the cool features of the most expensive BMW you could buy in the mid 1990s then I'm going to get this thing out on the road and see how it drives and then I'm gonna give it a dug score and four more of my thoughts on the 850 CSI click the link below to go to autotrader.com slash oversteer where I've also compiled a list of some other BMW models currently for sale on auto trader that are sure to be valuable collectibles sometime soon right now
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onto the quirks I'm gonna start by simply getting inside the 850 si si has a normal door handle just like most BMWs from this era but the door handle says BMW Motorsports on it that was unique to the 850 si si it's one of the few ways you can tell an 850 si si from a regular 850 from the outside now once you open the door you're confronted with the door panel which is a rather luxurious affair that's also a rather heavy door since this is a long coupe a couple interesting things on the door panel one of them is there's a little coin holder
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there right next to the window so that when you pull it to a toll booth you can just open the coin holder and stick the coins in the Tollbooth that was typical German innovation from the time period maybe more interesting is the fact that there is an air vent on the door itself that's unusual but maybe even more unusual and that is the fact that there are controls for the air vent on the door next to the vent itself you can increase or decrease the flow using this little dial next to the vent now the next thing you notice when you're getting into this car is the fact that the door sill says M on it which is of
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course BMWs performance brand except that this car isn't an M car this is the 850 si si and not the m8 well that's only sort of true the door sill is factory they came from the factory with the M door sill and here's a little piece of car geek trivia for you all BMW Vin's BMWs built in Germany start with WB a all BMW M car Vin's start with WB s the VIN for this car even though it's not an m8 starts with WB s it is the
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only exception in all of BMWs history to that rule it's the same story with the engine engines and BMW M cars and only BMW M cars have their internal engine code starting with s presumably for sports this car has an internal engine code that starts with s which suggests that maybe they were intending to build this as an M car the doorsill the VIN the engine code and yet for some reason they didn't there's some debate about why that didn't happen but this car wasn't called the m8 it was called the
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850 si si despite all those markers traditionally associated with a BMW M car and the M items inside this car go beyond the door sills and the VIN code and the engine this car also has M stitching on the steering wheel in the M colors and it has the M colors on the gear lever and of course I already showed you the BMW Motorsport door handles there's a lot of theories about why this car wasn't actually an M car maybe it was too big for the M division they never made at m7 but either way
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this is sort of the path M half regular BMW but of course the M touches aren't the only things you notice when you climb inside one of the biggest things you notice the moment you open the door in this car is just how many buttons this thing had in addition to being a stick-shift v12 high-performance car this was also a tremendously expensive luxury car and so it has everything one of the first things you'll notice when you climb inside this car is that everything in this interior is basically turned towards the driver everything in the center controls even the center climate vents are all turned towards the driver this was a driver's car and this
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emphasized that point indeed that meant all of the weird buttons and switches were turned towards the driver and I'm gonna start but the headlight switch which is one of the strangest headlights which is I've ever seen it's not just this little circular dial you turn like in virtually every other car instead it's this little dial that you move up and then it sort of circles the current position of the headlights it's very strange interestingly this car also uses that switch for the fog lights on the other side of the gauge cluster next moving on to the steering wheel could really think that the interesting thing about the steering with though is the fact that
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this is one of the early BMWs with airbags and back then BMW couldn't figure out how to fit an airbag and make their logo colored so you have the BMW logo on the steering wheel but it's just black also interesting about the steering wheel the steering wheel on this car is power adjustable which would have been a huge deal in 1995 it's still a pretty big deal today and the memory settings were not only for the seat but they also controlled the position of the steering wheel which was very forward-thinking then again for a hundred plus thousand dollars better of
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been moving on to some other interesting items starting with the radio head unit this is from a later BMW but I always like the fact that these BMW head units say on them BMW business CD for the for the business person who wants to play a CD I don't know I'd never really understood what that meant but they all said it at that time period thanks the heated seat control of course this car has heated seats a luxury car and turning them on is interesting you push this little switch next to the transmission lever and it lights up red with these little heating lines or if
07:25
you want less heat you push the switch down and you get only one little heating line but I like how it lights up of course there's a driver heated seat and a passenger heated see another interesting item in the center control stack in this car this car was made in the days before screens and especially before touch screens in the center but it does give you the ability to check all sorts of different vehicle information like your fuel consumption the outside temperature your average speed your fuel range you just push these little buttons and those various
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things light up but as you can see a few pixels are burnt out because BMW used these pixel screens on all of their cars and the late 80s and all throughout the 90s and there are pixels burned out of every single one of those screens today I've always found this interesting this was really a precursor to what later became I drive and all the other infotainment systems that now tell you every piece of information you could possibly want to know also interesting the middle are the climate controls and specifically the climate control that lets you change the temperature these
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were not that uncommon back in the 90s in the 80s in luxury cars but they're very odd today these little dials that you just rotate and it becomes less blue and then more red as you go from cool to hot it's not a screen like in modern cars or little buttons that you press and just change the temperature another interesting item inside of this car put the Sun Visor down it looks like a normal Sun Visor open up the mirror it looks like a normal ear but above the Sun Visor in lighting the mirror are not one but two lights so you can look at yourself in amplified lighting that's
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what you got when you paid the equivalent of a hundred and seventy five thousand dollars for a car back in 1995 to visor mirror lights and speaking of mirrors we must now discuss one of the most bizarre interior quirks of this car and that would be the switch on the interior mirror that turns on and off the dimmer now I understand why you would want a switch to turn on and off the dimmer but why is it this giant dial that you turn all it has to do is turn from on to off it can be the tiniest little switch but instead it's this huge Circle that actually takes away a little
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bit of your visibility when you're in the car it's very bizarre and then we move down into the middle of the center console where you will find the phone ah yes the phone because you couldn't have a luxury car in this era and not have a phone people who spent this kind of money on a vehicle needed to be reachable while they were driving of course none of these phones still work today which is a shame but there's just no support for them but I can just imagine a time you're sitting in your 850 si si hello yes I'm going 150 on the
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Autobahn I'll be in the office in five minutes and then of course you would turn up your business CD mixed up moving on to a couple of interesting items in the passenger side of the si si starting with the glovebox now if you look over here you will see maybe one of the most intuitive glovebox latches I've ever seen there's an upper glovebox and a lower glovebox and there's a keyhole that straddles them both so when you turn the key hole you lock both glove boxes at once it's a brilliant design except by the time this car came out in 1995 it became very clear that luxury
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car buyers wanted dual airbags so the upper glovebox became an airbag there's only a lower glovebox in this car but they kept the latch so it looks like there's a latch to open the upper glovebox but there isn't when you turn that lock it only locks the lower glovebox so the lower glovebox has a couple of very interesting features in it my favorite is the cupholders this car doesn't have cupholders anywhere else but cupholders were also becoming common in luxury cars this time so BMW added them to the glovebox they are the least sturdy cupholders in history but
11:04
you have two couples who's in this car I just wouldn't ever put anything in them another item you'll find in the glovebox this car is a flashlight virtually all high-end German cars of this era had a flashlight in their glove box including this one and take a look at this thing it actually works so if you're on the side of the road you're stranded maybe you need to change a tire you have at least a little bit of illumination from that flashlight of course this was the days before cellphone flashlights and speaking of the glovebox and storage in this car it's worth noting there is one sort of hidden storage compartment the
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850 si si it's on the door panel and it's this leather storage that is below basically everything else on the door panel you wouldn't really know it was there unless you're looking for it but it's a nice place to put things if you're angry that BMW took away your second glovebox next we move on to the rear seats of the 850 si si yes this car has back seats even though this was a sporty stick-shift v12 it was also a grand touring car and so you were supposed to be able to put people in back and go on a grand tour the interesting quirk about climbing into the back seats is that you can put the front seats forward like
12:05
that but there's no way to actually move them forward along the rails instead the only way to do that is you push the power adjustment and then you wait then you wait and you wait until there is enough room for you to get in back which well it never really happens nonetheless I will climb into the back seats as usual alright I made it not surprisingly it is really tight back here for one thing the seats are sort of angled down
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so I just sit naturally I I fall back into the car we're just kind of funny the other interesting thing is that there is enough room for my hips when I put the drivers seat back there's basically no room for my knees which is really a problem because the front seat is all the way forward it doesn't go any further forward so a driver could sit in this car but they'd have to be about three foot seven now there are a couple of other interesting things in the back seat of this car one of which is the fact that the rear seat seatbelts come from the center so when you get in this car you don't go over your left shoulder to put on the seat belt if you're
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sitting on the driver side go over your right shoulder because the seat belts come out of the middle another interesting item that comes out of the middle there is a center armrest to add to your comfort sitting in the back seat I'm sure it helps dramatically inside the center armrest you will find this cars first aid kit now I opened this first-aid kit probably for the first times it's been open since this car was sold new more than 20 years ago and I discovered some first aid supplies that are probably well past their expiration date along with CPR guidelines from 1992
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so if you want to know how they were performing CPR 25 years ago just climb in the back of an eight series also interesting in the back of this car is the fact that there are no rear window switches the back windows in this car do roll down but the rear seat passengers can't roll them down there's no way instead if you were sitting back here you simply had to ask the driver nicely to roll down the rear windows so you could breathe it's also interesting is the fact that the rear seats fold down no they don't fold down
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to allow you to put cargo in the trunk and have it go into the passenger compartment instead they just fold down to reveal carpet instead of leather I guess the theory was that you could put cargo here instead of people which frankly is probably a more practical way to use the rear seats anyway next moving on to the exterior and I want to start by talking about those rear windows take a look all the windows are down in this car right now and it is just one giant open space virtually every other modern car has a pillar between the front and the rear window for structure and it's
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cheaper and easier to build it that way and obviously a lot more common but this thing it is really cool BMW never did a convertible version of this car but with the windows open it feels like the interior is open to the world I love it and I love how it looks with the windows down now there are a couple of other interesting exterior quirks and features on this car I'm gonna start with the mirrors which are very unusual they look like normal mirrors especially when they're sitting inside the car but from the outside they look like they're upside down they don't flow along the lines of the car at all in fact they
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sort of flowed the opposite direction of the lines of the car I know why BMW styled the mirrors to look like this but this was the mirror I mean 850 si si next up in the same general vicinity another very interesting quirk now it seems this was the first BMW designed entirely using CAD and if you look closely on the windshield wiper and you can see there's a little scuff mark and that is from the windshield wiper hitting the underside of the hood the owner if this car is convinced that this
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was BMWs only CAD error in the otherwise beautiful design of this car they screwed up the placement of that little area and so every time the windshield wiper goes up to wipe the windshield it scrapes a little bit on the hood in fact the owner tells me if you look at other 8 Series models virtually anytime you see one you will also see a little scrape on the wiper in that area and speaking of the hood let's discuss the hood open procedure which in this car is rather unusual now it starts in the normal way there's a latch underneath the steering column the drivers footwell pull it in
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the hood pops up for mayor things get strange there isn't just one single latch under the hood that you pull and then you can lift up the hood instead there are two little tabs individual tabs one latch on either side and you don't pull them you push them in you have to push them in it basically at the same time they unlatch and then you can open up the hood now when the hood went up a second ago you probably saw it maybe the most well-known design element of the 850 si si its pop-up headlights and I wouldn't want to deprive you the experience of not seeing them in action
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and so here you go to me probably the most interesting quirk of the pop-up headlights is the fact that they aren't located at the corner of the hood most every other car with pop-up headlights place them at the very corner of the hood so the hood was designed to go around it which would have been cheaper than what BMW did which was stamped holes in every single hole into account for the pop-up headlights but that's the situation in this car because the headlights have to be fixed by government regulation they stay put when the hood is open and so they're just
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these giant holes in the hood when it opens up couple of other interesting things under the hood of this car take a look at these hood hinges they're just needlessly complicated I don't really know what to say about him except for the fact that they look like way overkill but there was the Germans and that was their thing another interesting thing under the hood unlike every other car this car has two reservoirs for the windshield washer fluid and one is for the regular washer fluid the other is for intensive fluid you pull the washer fluid lever on the steering column towards you for regular fluid or push it
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away if your windshield is especially dirty and requires a more serious solution seriously and then we move on to the trunk there are a couple of interesting things in the trunk of this car one of which is simply the way you open it there's no obvious latch or even keyhole on the outside of the car instead all of that stuff is tucked underneath the BMW logo above the license plate when you open the trunk you're rewarded with a surprisingly roomy in nicely carpeted cargo area befitting a grand touring car like the 8 Series I also like this little tray underneath most BMW
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once he open it up and it includes all of the tools so that you can just stand here and work on your tools they're right at eye level and perfectly parallel you can just open this thing up get out your tire iron you get out your screwdriver whatever you need to work on your 850 si si at the roadside another cool feature about that tray how about that cool graphic printed in the plastic showing an old 1980s 7 Series to demonstrate how to use the emergency warning triangle also interesting in the trunk the 8 Series has two batteries you
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can see one here is required because it was so full of what was considered complicated electronics at the time the other battery is on the other side of the trunk to distribute weight they're connected in parallel and this warning label reminds you of that since disconnecting them is more dangerous than a normal car battery and so those are the quirks and features of the 850 si si the flagship of the 8 series line the flagship of BMW in the 1990s now it's time to get it out on the road and find out how the 850 si si drives all
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right driving the 850 si si manual v12 that is a special thing there's not too many of those you know it's funny cars from this era just didn't sound like modern cars do modern cars the exhaust art is such a huge component of why people buy cars in these older cars it was almost like they're trying to mute it to keep it like a luxury car keep it subtle our area Wow man it really is shocking how quick this card and it's smooth power this is like this is this car builds power like
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an old you know they could s600 something em and you don't know when you drive a sports car has 2000 is probably about as good as his car and when it gets to the seven eight thousand nine thousand rpm its shake him you know you got up shift this thing I look down when I was at redline and I didn't even realize it which is surprising I love the fact that I could read match a downshift in the v12 that that is the coolest feeling in the world because you drive some details but I'm it never stick shift and when they are stick shifts therefore always have gated
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shifters and you're nervous and you're not really and the gate makes it difficult but this car BMW shifters and transmissions and clutches are so easy to operate the clutch is just butter smooth in this car and going through gears is tremendously easy and it just it feels like honestly feel like I'm driving a 318 e30 318i it's just that simple sylia florid the other thing that's really cool about this car is it's just not only is it everything that's completely stock but everything just as nice everything looks nice this is how it was I feel like I'm having the 1995 experience
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he's brought the hammer Oh actually it's also of course tremendously comfortable I mean this seat is just this plush leather it's it's surprisingly soft leather a soft seat pushin I mean this is the kind of car it's fun to floor it and to feel the v12 pulling and it's shifting gears but I feel like I could just shift into sixth and just sit on the highway at 90 or at a hundred all day long you know one of the things I really like about this car is it's the look is just so nice it's it's a subtle look the outside there's no crazy big
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wing there's there's no way to know that this is like this ultra special v12 I mean this was an era where if he wanted to make a special car you could make it subtle and blend in and the cool thing was having a sleeper that no one knew you were in a special car one of the things I think about driving German cars nasarah especially really nice ones like this is everything just feels really solid driving here normal street normal speeds behind a Hyundai going 20 the thing feels great it feels very smooth the ride is very smooth I suspect they're the result that is it probably doesn't even fit like a sports car and
21:59
this isn't one of those clutches worth so you get into traffic and you're like oh darn it the clutch is pretty easy it's easy to operate it doesn't have one of those weird I mean it handled it seems like it was great but I get the sense just driving at 20 minutes as I am done I get to since this car was designed for high speed cruising high speed passing I mean I could sit here and do this and drop my foot and go from 60 to 90 to get by someone taught the downshift rev-matching on should first of all that's easy I know I just feel like I've driven this car for hundreds of years even though I just got in it because it just makes it so easy it's so easy to push the accelerator does
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exactly what you'd expect it revs very quickly especially for v12 support as man just the clutch and shift lever are so easy to but there is someone centered vagueness there's some body roll I'm surprised that the turnin is just not it's just not as person that's just what it was though I've never driven a car from this era where it was like oh my god it's oversight that's that's really a thing that's only happened in the last four or five years that they've really figured out how to eliminate all that vagueness associated with when you just start to turn closer to that corner this car is best on long straightaways but also like
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wide big sweeping turns you could drop the hammer and just kind of push your way out of a corner and it feels so that's the 1995 BMW 850 CSI one of the most memorable BMW models most people consider the BMW 8 series to be a failure it was a big heavy BMW luxury coupe that never really sold all that well and BMW never fully replaced the eight series although they supposedly planned to soon but the 850 CSI was the shining star with its v12 at its stick
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shift and its BMW M car VIN and I strongly suspect values of these will only continue to rise and now it's time to give it a dug score starting with the weekend categories and styling the 8 Series was considered bloated when it came out but as cars have gotten larger it now seems sleek and svelte and it gets an 8 out of 10 acceleration it does 0 to 60 and 5.9 seconds giving it a 4 out of 10 next up is handling it's fine but not exactly a sharp sports car designed for twisty roads it's a big cruiser and it gets a 5 out of 10 cool factor is hi this is a
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big deal if you know what it is and that brings it down to a 7 out of 10 as for importance it's a special BMW and indeed the coolest BMW of the 1990s and it earns a 7 out of 10 bringing the total weekend scored a 31 out of 50 next up for the daily categories starting with features the 850 CSI had everything for 1995 but of course over time things have moved on and now it just gets a 4 out of 10 comfort is next in the 850 CSI is shockingly comfortable and roomy provided you're upfront it earns a 7 out
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of 10 next up is quality and I happen to think the interior is gorgeous very nice materials and very solid much better than new BMWs but I wouldn't necessarily want to be responsible for maintaining one of these now 25 years after it came out and it gets a 6 out of 10 practicality it has a decent trunk but small rear seats and only two doors giving it a four out of ten finally there's value this is a hard one to assign for this car as it involves some predicting the future these are expensive right now but I suspect their values will increase and I'm giving it a 7 out of 10
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bringing the total daily score to 28 out of 50 add it all up and the total Doug score is 59 out of 100 which is decent for a car from this era maybe more interesting as a comparison of the 850 a CSI against some similar cars a few older BMWs in the Porsche 928 GTS the 850 CSI beats out most of these competitors that scores behind the e46 m3 in the 928 GTS in weekend categories but it tops them in the daily score which makes sense given the 8 Series Grand Touring capabilities but the e39
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m5 tops it in everything no surprise as it's one of the well rounded greats [Music]

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