From the very beginning, the BMW 8 Series was a head turner. It was hardly a common sight in the first place, and the angular lines and low, pointed nose made the GT look like something special on the road. It’s been 25 years since the Bavarian brand’s flagship coupe of the ’90s debuted, and owners celebrated the anniversary in style in Germany.
The 8 Series still looks great today, but its popup headlights give away its age a little. You just don’t see them anymore. It was introduced at the 1989 Frankfurt Motor Show as the 850i with a 5.0-liter V12 under the hood capable of 295 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. Later, even bigger V12s would find their way in there. Production lasted until 1999, but they were rather exclusive with 30,621 built in its lifetime.
To celebrate the anniversary, several BMW clubs organized 120 examples for display at the company’s headquarters in Munich. The brand took advantage of the display to show off the ultimate 8 prototype as well. The one-off special packed a 550-horsepower V12 and a body with optimized aero. That engine eventually became the basis for the one in the McLaren F1.
When BMW showed off the Gran Lusso Coupe (pictured in the gallery below) with design help from Pininfarina at the 2013 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, it seemed like there was a whisper of a chance of the grand tourer making a comeback. BMW scuttled any speculation about that soon after, though.
Today, the 6 Series ticks most of the same boxes but just doesn’t have the same élan. Oddly, the i8 might be even closer in its attempt to push the limit of automotive technology in a stylish package. Scroll down to watch a video about BMW’s ’90s flagship below and read the full release about the 25th anniversary celebration at the headquarters in Munich.