Buy/Drive/Burn: V12 Luxury Coupes to Drain Your Wallet in 1993

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
buy drive burn v12 luxury coupes to drain your wallet in 1993

They’re big, expensive, luxurious, and have 12 cylinders sitting under their long hoods. All of them will deplete your checkbook in multiple ways, but you can only take one home with you.

What’s it gonna be?

BMW 850Ci

BMW’s brand new 8 Series stormed onto well-funded driveways for the 1990 model year. The premium coupe offering from the Roundel brand, the 8 Series was without a predecessor. In development since 1981, BMW spent around $1 billion to get the new coupe just right. 8 Series cars were powered by V8 or V12 engines between 4.0- and 5.6-liters in displacement. BMW released the top of the line 850i version first, powered by a 5.0-liter V12 shared with the 7 Series sedan. Featuring drive-by-wire throttle and a six-speed manual, the 850Ci managed 296 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque. The 8 Series was a middling sort of expensive, asking $83,400.

Jaguar XJS

Certainly the oldest car here, Jaguar’s XJS launched in its original format in 1975. Revisions arrived for the 1982 model year, followed by a major refresh for the model’s final variant in 1992. Revised front and rear fascias, a modernized interior, and new engine choices brought the XJS into the Nineties. On offer were Jaguar’s new 4.0-liter inline-six and V12 engines of 5.3- or 6.0-liters of displacement, depending on the year. 1993 was the debut of the largest V12, paired to a four-speed automatic for the North American market. This gentleman’s express featured 318 horsepower and 336 lb-ft of torque. At the time, the XJS was the cheapest of our trio by a wide margin at $59,750.

Mercedes-Benz 600 SEC

The brand new W140 series S-Class took the world by storm for the 1992 model year, replacing the frankly epic W126 sedan and coupe. Available from the get-go in North America, what would eventually become known as the S500 and S600 Coupe carried 500 SEC and 600 SEC labels for ’92 and ’93. All engines for the coupe were of eight or 12 cylinders, the former being the 5.0-liter M119 engine, and the latter the 6.0-liter M120. The V12 was always matched to a five-speed automatic transmission, which restrained 389 horsepower and 347 lb-feet of torque. By far the most advanced and expensive car here, the 600 SEC asked a whopping $132,000.

Three price points and 36 total cylinders. Which one is worth buying?

[Images: Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, BMW]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Writing things for TTAC since late 2016 from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can find me on Twitter @CoreyLewis86, and I also contribute at Forbes Wheels.

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2 of 65 comments
  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Oct 05, 2018

    LSX swap into all of them

  • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on Oct 08, 2018

    I always liked the 8 series and you can get in a manual= buy My folks had a 1995 W140 S320 they bought used around 1998. It was a good car in I-6 form, it would have been better with the V8 or V12. The last MB built to a standard, not a price. Drive the Mercedes, because the BMW would be a better driver. Not a huge fan of the styling of the MB in coupe form though. Burn the Jag. I don't have much love for these cars, but if the right one showed up...

  • ToolGuy "Mr. President, no government agency, no think tank, and no polling firm knows more about the automobile customer than us. We talk to customers every day. As retail automotive dealerships, we are agnostic as to what we sell. Our business is to provide customers with vehicles that meet the needs of their budgets and lifestyles.”• How many lies can you fit into one paragraph?
  • Spamvw Three on the tree, even Generation X would have a hard time stealing one of those.
  • ToolGuy This trend of cyan wheels needs to end NOW.
  • Kwik_Shift Interesting nugget(s) of EV follies.
  • SaulTigh I've said it before and I'll say it again...if you really cared about the environment you'd be encouraging everyone to drive a standard hybrid. Mature and reliable technology that uses less resources yet can still be conveniently driven cross country and use existing infrastructure.These young people have no concept of how far we've come. Cars were dirty, stinking things when I was a kid. They've never been cleaner. You hardly ever see a car smoking out the tail pipe or smell it running rich these days, even the most clapped out 20 year old POS. Hybrids are even cleaner.