1996 BMW 850 CSi

James Gibson, courtesy of Silverstone Auctions

The BMW 850 CSi was the factory’s flagship model in the mid-1990s. It featured the silky-smooth S70 V12 engine mated to a Getrag 6-speed manual transmission and was one of the first cars to offer drive-by-wire throttle control.

Developed from the M70, the S70 increased the bore and stroke and utilized more-aggressive valve timings, resulting in an increase in maximum power to an impressive 380 hp at 5,300 and torque to 402 ft-lb at 4,000 rpm. With the hydraulic control unit mounted on the differential, the 850 uses hydraulic rear steering linked to Servotronic front steering to give precise, high-speed stability and harness the S70’s significant power output for a great driving experience.

Discovered by rock legend and Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay (an avid BMW collector), it was purchased and added to his private collection as only the second owner of the car from new.

Recently fitted with a new battery and having been professionally stored and maintained during his ownership, the car is now offered for sale publically for the first time since it was new. The indicated mileage is currently just 12,777 in the hands of its two owners, and the car remains in excellent condition. The 850 CSi is now a rare car (BMW GB only supplied 138) and this is a wonderful opportunity for a collector to acquire a true modern classic that has impeccable provenance and still offers the convenience and safety of relatively modern technology.