Kings of autobahn
True showcases the best of what is made in Germany of the 90s, the BMW 850i and the Mercedes-Benz 500 SL can be distinguished on the body, but they share a world of technology.
Beneficiaries with excellent infrastructure, the Germans always prized good (and fast) cars. But never like in the 90's builders were so intent on uniting the power of V8 and V12 engines with new technologies that fulfil comfort and safety the top of the range, if the fabulous BMW 850i E31 and Mercedes-Benz 500 SL R129 which decided By facing each other.
Conceived as a GT capable of facing brands like Ferrari or Maserati, BMW 8 Series ( #BMW-E31
code name) made furore when it came to market in 1989. enviable technological package, in addition to the V8 and V12 engines, the "eight" premiered among other things accelerator "drive by wire". From the first moment the 850i, with its V12 engine with five-litres and 300 horsepower, took the top of the hierarchy. Descendant of a royal line of convertibles, the #Mercedes-Benz-SL
(R129 codename) was designed to overcome the previous models of the star brand. And it had new engines and a lot of technology. Aware of the importance of the US market, the German technical safety elected as one of the most important parameters, with SL to be equipped with an automatic rollbar, triggered in the event of imminent rollover. The version 500 SL was equipped with a V8 engine with five litres and a power output of 326 horsepower.
Apparently distinct, if only for their body, both German proposals represent the best of what they did in Germany in the 90s, keeping intact predicates as the ability to travel long distances in comfort (and speed) and excite your driver. Equipped with different architectures engines - the BMW with a V12 and #Mercedes-Benz
with a V8 - the total weights and power equate themselves as well as the use of an automatic four relationships.
Designed by Klaus Kapitza, the BMW 8 Series conquers us immediately by its slender and proportionate lines, noting the absence of B-pillar, making it even more airy and clean their profile. More classical in their approach, the duo of Mercedes Johann Tomforde and Bruno Sacco designers kept the inspiration in earlier generations of the SL, innovating in the proportions of the body, making the model even more fit the US market. In this parameter, the versatility of the body of the 500 SL convertible gives him victory by a wide margin.
Given the traditional 500 SL chassis layout, equipped with independent suspension on both axes, with triangular arms forward and multi arms ago, the BMW 850i responds with an advanced electronic system of EDC damping with the body height adjustment. Inside the 850i back to gain advantage, with several electric drives to the chassis functions and facilities the cabin.
Life on Board
Consistent with the modern lines of the exterior, the interior of the BMW 850i blend perfectly new technologies with ergonomic advocated at the time. Sitting in armchair advantaged lined skin, I find myself wrapped in the assembly of the instrument panel and centre console, the driver-oriented as today happens. Initially confused, the multitude of buttons quickly becomes customary, which just goes to prove the excellent ergonomics of the BMW.
In contrast, Mercedes-Benz has the cabin of simple lines and the ideal partner to its classic design. Timidly around in scanty centre console, round buttons contrast with the rectangular command of the electric windows and heated seats, they also lined skin. Undoubtedly two quality proposals with very different attributes.
Taking advantage of a known piece of winding road near Bucelas, with the machine photographer at the ready, become familiar myself with the 850i. Smooth and progressive, little temperamental delivery and quiet to medium regimes, the V12 seems distant in the way you work. The speedometer indicates 300 km / h top speed, but it is the accounting-rotations that deserves attention, because only after exceeded the threshold of 4000 rpm (up to the limit set at 5500 rpm) is the 300 horsepower are revealed with a sharp, metallic roar.
Full-bodied sound and serious tone, the V8 engine that equips the 500 SL deserves more attention from the first meters. Although it is rotating that its German counterpart (the redline is at 6000 rpm), the block seems to have more soul at low engine speeds, rewarding the persistence of the right foot with a baritone intoxicating sound that makes me immediately smitten.
Geared towards the long (and smooth) German autobahn, both models are true street sofas. On Portuguese roads, where the broken asphalt prevails, analogue suspension of the 500 SL disguises most swells, but the electronic BMW system that takes the advantage in terms of comfort, although very short, with a work smooth and progressive.
Some say that "BMW with five meters long (other than the 7 series) does not count." I'm not that radical, but the fact is that the kinetic structure of the 850i worth exploring in highway, as in tight corners reveals ill at ease. To my regret, as the hydraulically assisted steering of the BMW is one of the best I have ever experienced, providing perfect dose of accuracy, sensitivity and weight.
In the case of Mercedes-Benz is the direction that makes the model fall short of expectations, too care centre and insensitivity. In contrast, the chassis is truly brilliant, casting to the type of driving quickly and accurately. In turn, the rear axle sets quietly, helping to describe the trajectory, which in turn allows me to further explore the limits without fear of exceeding them.
Neoclassical by definition, both the BMW and Mercedes-Benz have an estimated price of EUR 18 000 for the coupe and EUR 20 000 for the convertible. The same can be said regarding the consumption announced at the time. According to BMW, the 850i E31 was spending 90 kmh (average speed) 8.6-litres / 100 km, 120 kmh 10.3-litres / 100 km, and urban environments spent 19.8-litres / 100 km. Mercedes already spent to 90 kmh 10.1-litres / 100 km, 120 kmh 12.0-litres / 100 km, and urban environments spent 16.6-litres / 100 km. Two types of savings to take into account when we talk about classics as recent, and give a technical draw the tested models.
Geared towards the fabulous German roads, the BMW 850i E31 and the Mercedes-Benz 500 SL R129 are probably two of the best gender models of the 90s (the list could also include the Porsche 928), but they could not be more different from one from the other. The BMW is a true GT, gentle in character and available at delivery, with comfort to spare. But the Mercedes-Benz SL enhances heritage with a refined sporty character mixed with classic atmosphere and current benefits. The winner should be the V12 from BMW but the versatility of the V8 #Mercedes-Benz
takes the lead. Close call.
We appreciate the collaboration of David Correia, Orlando Ferreira, the stand and the Living Legends Classic Auctions place for conducting this test.
In more meandering routes the BMW 850i tends to run away slightly from the front, being quite progressive and predictable.
Blessed by an excellent multi arm rear axle, the 500 SL is quite agile in the description of the tightest curves.
The automatic transmission of the BMW offers several methods of use, being smooth and progressive. The tachometer announces 300 kmh top speed.
The automatic transmission of the Mercedes-Benz is one of his best predicates, being smooth and very discreet in the passage of relations.
Of slim silhouette and generous glazed surface, the 850i is still an elegant model, positioned between the glorious past of BMW and corrugated future aesthetic of the German mark.
Classic and robust ways: so should always be an SL Mercedes-Benz, or this were not known as "panzerwagen". The maximum speed advertised by the tachometer is 260 kmh.
The rear seats could be specified, although offered a very limited use. The bag is smaller than the BMW.
With the roof closed the 500 SL is a true GT, versatile and effective.
The classic appearance of the 500 SL is continued throughout the interior.
Four excellent leather seats and a luggage compartment make this remarkable GT. a real racing car family to enjoy during long trips.
In tight corners the BMW-850i is shown thwarted, preferring the highway.
Quite ergonomic and technologically advanced, the interior of the #BMW
850i still remains current.
TECH DATA #BMW-850i #BMW-E31 #1989
Engine V12 cylinders #M70
, front longitudinal position
Distribution 2 overhead camshafts head, 24 valves
Bore x Stroke 84 X 75mm
Displacement (cc) 4988
Power injection #Bosch-Motronic-M
1.7 / #Bosch-Motronic
Max power (bhp DIN / rpm) 300/5200
Maximum torque (Nm DIN / rpm) 450/4100
Independent suspension; Front, lower transversal oscillating arms, anti approximation bar; rear, multi-link, anti approximation bar; electronic damping system #EDC
with height adjustment.
Transmission, automatic transmission 4-speed #ZF4HP
; stability and traction control #ASC
Steering Rack & Pinion, Variable
Brakes power-assistance, front ventilated discs; rear disks; ABS #Bosch-ABS
Chassis monoblock, coupé steel body, two doors and four seats
Tank fuel capacity 90-litres
Wheels / Tyres 7,5J / 235/50 ZR16
Wheelbase: 2685 mm
Width: 1855 mm
Weight (kg) 1790
Acceleration 0-100 kmh (0-62MPH) 7.4 sec
Top speed 250 kmh
TECH DATA #Mercedes-Benz-500SL
- #Mercedes-Benz-R129 #1992
Engine V8 cylinders, front longitudinal position
Distribution 4 camshafts to the head, 32 valves
Bore x Stroke 96.5 x 85mm
Displacement (cc) 4973
Power mechanical injection / #Bosch
electronic KE5-Jetronic / #Bosch-Jetronic
Max power (bhp DIN / rpm) 326/5500
Max torque (Nm DIN / rpm) 450/4000
Independent suspension; Front, wishbone, bar stabilizer, coil springs; rear multi-link, stabilizer bar, coil springs
Transmission automatic 4/5 speed
Steering Rack & Pinion power-assistance
Brakes with assistance ahead ventilated discs; ago disks; ABS #Bosch
Chassis monoblock, convertible body in steel, 2-door, four-seat capacity
Fuel tank 80-litrtes
Wheels / Tyres 8J / 225/55 ZR16
Length: 4470 mm
Wheelbase: 2515 mm
Width: 1810 mm
Weight (kg) 1800
Acceleration 0-100 kmh (0-62MPH) 6.2 seconds
Max speed 250 Kmh