New Car Review - 1994 BMW 840Ci COUPE


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1994 BMW 840Ci COUPE

by: BILL RUSS

The new 840Ci is the latest in a line of BMW luxury grand touring coupes that go back the 1950's. Starting with the 503 model of the late fifties up through the 1994 840Ci they have been superbly balanced luxury tourers, not out-and-out high performance sports cars. The 4.0 liter V-8 engined 840Ci was created as a lower-priced, simpler alternative to the 5.0 liter V-12 powered 850i.

With a delivered price in excess of $ 70,000 the 840Ci is not the car for everyone. In fact BMW only figures on US sales of about 1,000. But what makes it particularly interesting is that with its V-8 engine with a five-speed automatic transmission versus 850i with a V-12 powerplant and four-speed automatic it provides nearly equal performance figures, only slightly lower horsepower and torque, almost identical exterior body styling at a price difference in the neighborhood of $20,000.

What one gets in the 840Ci, and indeed in most BMW products, is a superbly engineered and luxuriously outfitted touring automobile. Its all-aluminum V-8 engine is so clean looking that a clear plastic hood might be in order. BMW states that except for routinely changing fluids virtually no maintenance is required on the engine or transmission for the life of this car. Its not inexpensive, but it is almost bulletproof and when behind the wheel it does instill a sense of pride.

APPEARANCE: There is no mistaking the parentage of the 840Ci as a host of BMW styling cues are evident. The low front and wide stance are reminiscent of the M1 racing car of the 1970's. Subtly flared fenders, styled alloy wheels and 16-inch Pirelli low profile high performance tires suggest speed in an understated way. The cabin has large expanses of tinted glass and give the 840Ci a graceful look plus excellent vision. The front end is highlighted by the familiar BMW logo and trademark grille. Up front there are no fewer than 10 lights, including powerful pop-up headlamps.

COMFORT: Top quality convenience and comfort items heavily contribute to both the luxury and the priceiness of the 840. BMW list more than forty items, many of which are expected in an expensive car, such as all of the power accessories, leather upholstery plus great sound and climate control. Among the many not so typical items are heated windshield washer jets, driver's door lock, power tilt/ telescope steering wheel with automatic tilt away for access, 12-way power driver's seat with memory system for seat, steering wheel and mirrors, an automatic dual-side microfiltered climate control system that can be programmed to switch on to ventilate car when parked, a multi-information system combined with an onboard computer, plus BMW's trademark trunk-lid mounted tool kit. Nothing of importance in the way of driver and passenger comfort has been overlooked!

SAFETY: A powerful car needs to be a safe car, and BMW engineers have diligently worked to insure the safety of the occupants of an 840Ci. It meets all Federal standards for front and rear as well as side impact incidents. Its pillarless coupe body employs "roll hoop" construction for roll over protection. A double-lock system disables the engine so the car cannot inadvertently be driven away. Dual front airbags plus integrated automatic front seat belt provide for inside safety while traction control plus four wheel disc anti-lock brakes insure enhanced driving control.

ROADABILITY: The 840 is a grand touring car that offers all-day driving comfort along with a high speed potential plus excellent all- weather handling. Even though it can't be driven here a fast here as in its home country, it is designed to deliver roadholding qualities using performance proven engineering standards. Its 4-wheel independent suspension incorporates gas-pressure shocks, stabilizer bars, a sophisticated all-season traction system, engine-speed-sensitive variable assist power steering and anti-lock brakes. Unique self-sealing windows plus good insulation ensure a very quiet ride.

PERFORMANCE: The 282 horsepower 32-valve 4.0 liter aluminum V8 in the 840 is a quite an advanced piece of machinery. It utilizes double overhead cams with four-valves per cylinder, direct ignition, computerized engine management, including knock control, and electronic fuel injection. It is designed for all-day cruising at high speeds. The five-speed automatic transmission is electronically controlled and has three settings, Economy, Sport and Winter, to provide the correct amount of power to the rear wheels under any driving circumstance. The twin dual exhausts have a throaty rumble.

CONCLUSION: BMW's slogan, "The Ultimate Driving Machine" aptly describes its newest V8 powered coupe. While pricy it delivers high performance and roadability plus comfort and safety.

SPECIFICATIONS:
1994 BMW 840Ci COUPE

           
           Base Price              $ 68,100 **
           Price As Tested         $ 68,550 ** 
           Engine Type             V-8, dohc - 32v, mpfi
           Engine Size             4.0 liter/243 cid   
           Horsepower              282 @ 5800
           Torque (ft/lbs)         295 @ 4500
           Wheelbase/Length        106"/188"
           Transmission            5-speed auto w/od
           Curb Weight             4130
           Pounds per Horsepower   15
           Fuel Capacity           23
           Fuel Requirement        Unleaded premium (91 octane)
           Tire                    Pirelli P700C 235/50R16 95W
           Brake                   anti-lock standard   vented disc/disc 
           Drive Train             front engine, rear drive
           
           ** Prices exclude $1,300 gas guzzler tax, and 10% luxury tax applied to
               automobile prices over $32,000.
                       
                         PERFORMANCE    
           
           EPA Economy - miles per gallon,        
             city/highway/observed      15/22/18.3     
           0 to 60 mph                  7.5 sec
           1/4 mi (E.T.)                15.7 sec           
           Coefficient of drag (cd)     .29       

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