11 Best & Worst BMW 8-Series Years (Facts & Stats)

The original BMW 8-Series had a striking look that still stands out to this day.

The second generation 8-Series is still stunningly gorgeous but isn’t as bold with its design. It does come packed with luxury features and has the performance to rival many sports cars. 

There are also now three different body styles to choose from: a coupe, a convertible and a 4-door coupe-shaped sedan.  

In this article, we’ll take a look at the best and worst years of the BMW 8-Series…

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The BMW 8-Series Are:

The best BMW 8-Series model years are 2024, 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 1996, 1995 and 1994. The worst model years of the 8-Series are 2019, 1991 and 1997. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The BMW 8-Series?

The BMW 8-Series has had many updates and changes over the years. Listed below are some of the model years that have gotten the best reviews and are considered the best versions of this luxury grand tourer.

2023 & 2024 BMW 8-Series

The 2023 BMW 8-Series gets small updates that sets it apart from older models such as a backlit grille and a larger infotainment screen.

The screen grew from 10 to 12 inches, but the panoramic widescreen found in a lot of the latest BMW models still isn’t offered.

Few owners will mind this as the 8-Series experience is all about enjoying the supremely comfortable and luxurious ride, balanced handling and the performance that the car has on tap — the extra tech is just a bonus.

For most people, the M850i already offers a lot with its 523 hp and 0 to 60 mph time of less than 4 seconds. It also gets aerodynamic mirrors for 2023.

The base 840i is no slouch either and can go from 0 to 60 in under 5 seconds.

Consumer ratings are also quite high for the 2023 model year of the luxury grand tourer.

The 8-series coupe and convertible both carried over to 2024 without any major updates.

2023 BMW 8-Series:

  • Edmunds: 4.9 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 79 / 100

2023 BMW 8-Series, Edmunds review:

“I believe the 8 series is the best looking of the bunch. I opted for the 840i coupe with the inline 6. There is plenty of HP and tons of torque when driven in either comfort or sports mode. Besides I prefer a BMW which sips fuel vs guzzles. On my daily commute over a 5 day period and 250 miles I am getting 28 mpg. Mostly city driving.” 

“I purchased this car with every option available in Tanzanite blue. It’s a real head turner and I receive lots of compliments. This car is comfortable and very safe given all the driver safety features.”

2020, 2021 & 2022 BMW 8-Series

There aren’t too many differences between the 2020 to 2022 models of the BMW 8-Series, and they can be had at very steep discounts compared to new.

These years offer good value if you’re looking for a luxury 2-door equipped with loads of modern tech.

2020 was also the first year of the base model 840i with its inline-6 B58 engine. 

This engine already has a great track record for reliability and makes the 8-Series more practical for daily driving with its excellent combination of fuel economy and power.

The 4-door 8-Series Gran Coupe and the more aggressive M8 model also made their debut in 2020.

The 2021 8-Series only adds more standard features like lane departure warning and Android Auto. 

For 2022, the $4,000 M Sport package with its upgraded brakes, body kits, and 19-inch wheels became standard across the range.

2022 BMW 8-Series:

  • Edmunds: 4.9 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 79 / 100

2021 BMW 8-Series:

  • Edmunds: 5.0 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA / 100

2020 BMW 8-Series:

  • Edmunds: 5.0 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 79 / 100

2022 BMW 8-Series, Edmunds review:

“Over the last 20 years I’ve owned several five and seven series BMWs and none of them compares to the handling, style and precision of the 8 series.”

2020 BMW 8-Series, Edmunds review:

“Of all the high end vehicles I have owned the 840 ix is the best total vehicle. Beautiful style, very amazing performance, all wheel drive, all wheel steering, very comfortable.”

1994 & 1996 BMW 8-Series

1994 and newer model years of the BMW 850Ci and 850CSi get a slightly larger V12 engine that’s capable of up to 372 hp.

The V8-powered 840Ci was also introduced during the 1994 model year.

For the 1996 model year, the 840Ci also got a slight bump in torque courtesy of a slightly larger displacement engine and a Steptronic transmission as standard.

The later model years of the first generation 8-Series also have an updated audio system and automatic retracting seatbelts.

But among well-kept examples of this modern classic, the most powerful 850CSi is going to command the highest prices.

1994 BMW 8-Series:

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.8 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

1996 BMW 8-Series:

  • Edmunds: 4.8 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.8 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

1994 BMW 8-Series, Edmunds review:

“I’ve owned 2 850ci’s. The CSi is what the 850 should have been. It still looks great on the road and I get asked all the time “is that the new one?” Timeless styling, superb handling, seat of the pants acceleration. This is my third E31 and I’ve already bought another one. Pricing guides are way off as I wouldn’t sell this one for almost double what it is rated on here and KBB. Two thumbs up for this amazing car!”

Consumer Scores For the Best BMW 8-Series Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2023 BMW 8-Series4.9 / 5.04.7 / 5.079 / 100
2022 BMW 8-Series4.9 / 5.04.7 / 5.079 / 100
2021 BMW 8-Series5.0 / 5.04.7 / 5.0NA
2020 BMW 8-Series5.0 / 5.04.7 / 5.079 / 100
1996 BMW 8-Series4.8 / 5.04.8 / 5.0NA
1994 BMW 8-Series4.7 / 5.04.8 / 5.0NA

Related: 19 Best & Worst BMW 7 Series Years (Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The BMW 8-Series?

Maintaining an older flagship BMW is never going to be cheap. But if you want to avoid more expensive headaches down the road, here are some of the worst years of the BMW 8-Series.

2019 BMW 8-Series

The first model year of any new vehicle is more prone to small issues as manufacturers figure out the building process.

With this in mind, you’d be wise to avoid the 2019 BMW 8-Series because it not only has limited model choices but also less standard features.

When the second generation 8-Series debuted in 2019, only the V12 coupe and convertible models were offered.

The more fuel efficient 840i, the high performance M8 and the 4-door variants were added by the following year.

The 2019 models also have more complaints compared to the later model years of the second gen 8-Series.

  • The 2019 BMW 8-Series had a total of 6 complaints on the NHTSA website

One common issue among early second gen 8-Series owners is when the low coolant warning occasionally pops up.

“So was gonna take the m850 out to do some errands yesterday and when I got in the car and started her up I got an error message which popped up saying that I had low coolant level and to take it in to nearest dealer and don’t drive it or it could cause damage to engine. My car is a 2019 with only about 3500 miles on it.”

The coolant loss is considered normal though, and is caused by coolant getting absorbed by the engine’s different seals and rubber gaskets. To get rid of the coolant warning, simply top up the coolant reservoir.

Uneven tire wear and constant squealing from the brakes are also common concerns for the second gen 8-Series.

“On my M850i, a front S007 had corded on the far inner shoulder with less than 9k miles. Treadwear indicators are useless, as this failure occurs way out at the sidewall edge. Like a previous poster, I felt the inner edges on my fronts with my bare hands and was rewarded with a few torn steel belt abrasions.”

Common problems:

  • Low coolant warning
  • Coolant leaks
  • Oil leaks
  • Tire wear
  • Brake squeal
  • Oil consumption

1991 BMW 8-Series

The 1991 8-Series being the oldest model year is likely to need a lot more time and expense to get everything working properly.

These early examples still use a lot of electronics that were cutting edge at the time, but can have easily worn out by now.

  • The 1991 BMW 8-Series had a total of 10 complaints on the NHTSA website

Random electrical issues and drivability problems caused by a faulty electronic throttle are common problems in these early models.

 “1991 850i automatic, EML light with no codes from Peake reader. I have 125,000 miles on the car and EML came on about 3 minutes after my daily commute started (in the 850). Went into (I think) limp home. I shut the car off for about a minute, restarted and it ran smooth for 30 seconds and then EML/limp home.

After leaving it overnight, EML comes on with start-up.”

Many of the automatic transmissions are also likely to have major issues. 

“I have 1991 850i with the zf 4hp24. I have been fighting for months on end a trans fail issues that I am now officially stuck on. So far I have replaced the batteries. Replaced the tranny fluid and filter. I have rebuilt the throttle bodies. I have new wires and plugs and cylinder id donuts. New crank case sensor. New speed control for the tranny. And even a new torque converter. Every time I go onto the freeway and hit speed above 60mph aka torque lock up. All I have to do is drive either in cruise control or just trying to maintain speed and accelerate a little and boom trans fail. If I constantly feather the gas or hammer it the trans fail won’t happen. Only when I’m just cruising.” 

Steering wobble when driving at highway speeds is also a common problem of the first generation 8-Series.

“The 850ci steering wheel shakes pretty violently when on the road. Generally it happens at speeds between 30 – 50 mph. I have been on the freeway at 80 mph but did not want to push my luck. When the shaking happens at street speeds I can either speed up or brake and the shaking dies down, but still is noticeable and the shaking returns if I don’t maintain a steady speed. Made an appointment w/ the local BMW repair center. Service Advisor said could be anything, upper control arm, etc.” 

Common problems:

  • Faulty automatic transmission
  • Electrical issues
  • Oil leaks
  • Worn suspension
  • High speed wobble

1997 BMW 8-Series

The final model year of the first generation BMW 8-Series has the highest number of complaints on the NHTSA website.

  • The 1997 BMW 8-Series had a total of 11 complaints on the NHTSA website

The numbers could be a simple fluke but its possible implications are still worth considering.

For these final model years, the more expensive and higher performing 850CSi was already out of the picture as well.

The timing chain of the larger M62 V8 engine in the later model years of the 840Ci also had lots of reports of premature failures. 

The final model years of the first gen 8-Series also has its share of electrical issues and gremlins. 

“I have a 1997 840ci that i bought with 21K miles. The EKM broke and I am getting a new one installed. The new EKM pulled the mileage from the LKM (the backup “odometer”) and suddenly the reading is 104K miles. Turns out the LKM is not original to the car and from another VIN.”   

“My 1997 850ci recently started doing something strange. The EML light will come on and the car will run slow in the 6cyl/limp mode. I turn the car off and on and the EML goes away and only a check engine light is left.”

Common problems:

  • Faulty automatic transmission
  • Electrical issues
  • V8 timing chain
  • Oil leaks
  • Worn suspension
  • High speed wobble

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints (NHTSA.gov)Recalls (NHTSA.gov)
2024 BMW 8-Series
2023 BMW 8-Series01
2022 BMW 8-Series10
2021 BMW 8-Series03
2020 BMW 8-Series35
2019 BMW 8-Series63
1997 BMW 8-Series111
1996 BMW 8-Series50
1995 BMW 8-Series52
1994 BMW 8-Series13
1993 BMW 8-Series21
1992 BMW 8-Series12
1991 BMW 8-Series102

What Problems Do BMW 8-Series Have?

  • Uneven tire wear
  • Electrical issues
  • Brake squeal
  • Suspension wear
  • Coolant leaks
  • Oil leaks

Related: 11 Common BMW 8-Series Problems (Explained)

What Are The Best Alternatives To The BMW 8-Series?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Chevrolet Corvette9.3$64,500 – $126,15012-16 City / 19-24 Hwy
Audi R89$158,600 – $222,10013-14 City / 18-23 Hwy
Porsche 9118.9$106,100 – $272,30014-18 City / 18-25 Hwy
BMW 8-Series8.7$87,500 – $144,90015-21 City / 22-29 Hwy
Lexus LC8.3$94,450 – $102,50015-26 City / 25-33 Hwy
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class8.3$109,900 – $183,00013-14 City / 21-22 Hwy
Mercedes-Benz GT7.9$95,900 – $170,35015-19 City / 21-24 Hwy
Jaguar F-Type7.7$77,900 – $115,00016-17 City / 24 Hwy

Source: cars.usnews.com










  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...