850, definatley. This is a classic, think of the M1. Plus you get a fat
v12 that you can tune far more than the M5. Interiors on the 8s are
sweet too. They are just as reliable as any bimmer as long as you do
the maintaince... but the M5 will cost you more in "special parts" when
you do that same maintainance...
Sound like a tough decision, wish I had to make that choice.. :)
For daily transportation the M5 is way more practical. The two really
aren't in the same category. The 850 is a superb machine in it's own right,
and has a loyal fan base. It has a presence that is almost unmatchable
among BMWs. If it were a weekend car I might just do an 850 because I've
always admired them... but in truth, were I going that route, I would search
out a mint E24 M6 instead. The 850 isn't really as of a sports car as you
might expect from a bimmer coupe -- it really depends what your priorities
For a daily driver though, an E34 M5 or an E39 M5 are both superb cars that
you will love to drive every day.
Because of reliability issues, I'd still take the M5. Did you say whether or
not the 850 was the 12? If the 8 then I'd have to think about it a little
more. If the 12, I'd most definatley take the M5.
Richard, I think these prices sounds pretty high. Where are the located?
$18k for a 1991 high-mileage BMW coupe? That's about twice what it should
sell for. I just saw a listing on CarsDirect.com for a 1992 BMW 850 with
118k for $10,885. That's more like it.
FWIW: I bought my 2000 Z3 with 77k miles on Ebay for $13,600 last summer.
It's not the big coupe/sedan experience, of course; but the ladies go crazy
Chronological age is what really hurts a car's reliability. The rubber seals
start to let go, electric parts start failing, suspension, hydraulic struts,
etc. I've owned a 14 year old BMW coupe, and I won't repeat that mistake.
Hope you end up with the one that makes you happy.
Actually I am seriously interested in what people have to say about either
of these machines.
So far nobody has said that there is a litany of problems with either unit.
I guess most people like either one.
I myself currently drive a 95 Maxima, so I have no real appreciation for
what the differences could be between the two BMW's. They both look good,
they both drive well, the 850 seems to have more oomph, possibly the M5 has
been driven hard and is tired, whereas the former owner of the 850 was a
more sedate driver. I think I sense that the M5 has a tighter suspension and
possibly handles better.
No one has yet commented on maintenance costs for BMW's of this age. Do you
need to have $500 a dollar a month set aside for regular visits to a dealer
or other European mechanic type person.
I am not a self maintenance type person so how easy it for a non-BMW
mechanic to work on these types of cars and be successful, or is there too
much high-tech type stuff that you need to see a dealer for the specialized
tools they maintain for service?
If someone else with a strong or interesting opinion were to be confronted
with a similar choice, what would cause them to go either way? I figured
that I'd probably see some more opinions on the matter, especially from the
I think $500 would do for the M5 but more like $750 for the 850. You
wouldn't pay it out regularly, just every once in a while in really large
That's mostly extrapolated from what I've seen on 750's and other E32's
though, then compared to E34's, not firsthand on the E31.
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