What is it like spending a week behind the wheel of the new M850i? There are barely words to capture how amazing it is, but we will try.
This reborn 8 series continues the essence of that original shark-nosed executive supercoupe perfectly — updating and evolving it into the present and future.
How well? After a few days behind the wheel, this M850i will make you feel ridiculously rich.
Tax haven rich.
City, beach and Tahoe ski house rich.
Capital gains tax rich. So rich you stop calling it money and start calling it wealth. So rich you can barely even relate to the hoi polloi along your daily commute.
So rich… that I forgot I was poor while living with it. It’s true. Completely forgot. [Note: doing fine, thanks. But not 850 fine!]
M850i is so special it will make you forget what it’s like to wait to pass, or not have 3.8-second launch starts on command. All this and yet also an ultra-plush and large cabin and big trunk?
The dream is real. You can have it all. And if you’re in the market for a $100,000-plus hotshot ragtop, you already have plenty. So the car itself must feel as special as a Bentley, handle better than a Mercedes and embarrass Porsches with your practicality.
Is the M850i a bulls-eye of a car with no quirks or flaws? No car is. But 850 is damn close. We summarized its amazing merits as Speed, Style, Refinement and Tech — and we’ll use those as subheadings below the must-watch below. The vid below kicks off with the new-to-BMW remote start that lets you really enjoy this V8TT’s character. And then see and hear it roar to 60-mph via launch starts and a spirited drive.
2019 BMW M850i Convertible – Performance Drive Video
The speed is incredible not just for its stopwatch numbers but for the intensity of the experience. 523HP from BMW’s incredible twin-turbo V8 might not be a headline-grabbing figure in a world of Hellcats and 700HP Astons. But rest assured it is a conservative on-paper figure.
On the road, and as you saw in the launch start, the 850 absolutely bolts from a stop like a gunshot. There is so much instant torque that the nose pops up dramatically as the beast roars away from the line. The AWD lets the car put down all its power easily without wheelspin. This chassis could clearly handle 800HP so the tuned-up M8’s are sure to come from the German customs scene.
3.8s sprints are great but in-gear power is perhaps where the 850 shocks the most. The kickdown punch is addictive and hypnotic. Any speed, any time, any where. Around the city this makes jutting around slow traffic a fun game that makes you feel like everyone else is in slow-motion. On the highway, keeping your foot anywhere near the floor will have you past the double ton in under 4 seconds.
And it is at those speeds where the brilliance of the old 850 shines through. Intended as a rocketship executive express, that machine did autobahn blasts all day like a boss. This new version is even better at that.
Most beautiful car in the world? That is what several bystanders and friends decided after getting close to this sexy stallion. The proportions are ultra dramatic: wider, lower and yet shorter than the outgoing M6. The nose makes a scene. The profile makes you clutch your pearls. And the tail is just FU cool from top to bottom.
Gorgeous. The coupe and gran coupe models are stunners too. In fact, the upcoming 840i and M8 are pretty darn close to this intensity too. All of them have style for days, months, and even years.
One particularly great design accomplishment is how cool the convertible looks even with its top up.
All this style does not leave much room for legs in back. The four-door will have surprisingly great backseat legroom, however, that marks a huge upgrade in usability versus the M6 four-door.
Eschewing the hardtop cabrio trend might have left the 850 convertible feeling unrefined versus the Mercedes SL or other pure grand tourers. But no. The finishing of the top on the inside is sublime with matching soft-touch alcantara that lines the roof being the same as the windshield surround. You basically do not know this is a convertible. I don’t know how they have achieved such hushed interior cabin noise levels, but suspect a lot of shared knowledge with Rolls Royce.
The wind deflector is hugely helpful when the top is down for keeping things refined even at triple digit speeds. Windows up, deflector flipped up, and this is the calmest cabrio your tester has ever experienced. Your perfect hairstyle will arrive intact.
Refinement also applies to the little details. Curated style in this baby. Familiar elements from the 6 series before (like the too-flat seat bottoms) and center stack are blended with BMW’s carbon-fiber structural elements around the doors and windshield. This makes it more rigid than anything you’ve ever driven, ever. A McLaren feels like it has more chassis flex than this 850 ragtop.
Scuttle shake? Nope. Not a bit. Not even a squirmy wiggle.
Although, the suspension does run out of travel on bumpy off-ramps sometimes, and could be comfier in general. Adjustable dampers but not the glide-tastic shocks from the X7. Might be nice to have those if you demand cream-puff comfort over bumps.
Does it have the tech? Yes. You name it, and 850 has it. Favorite elements are the four-wheel-steering that is not even on the window sticker. But it brings the car to life around tight corners, and gives it a turning radius that is half what the 6 series did. This huge machine can turn around in under 19 feet! That’s like doing u-turns on a skinny two-lane road.
Laser lights that are the most powerful on the market, and perhaps most powerful highbeams of any car ever made? Check. Brilliant wireless Apple Carplay? Check. Insanely-fast power top that works at 30-mph up or down? Check.
And what is this? Are my arms warm!? Heated armrests on doors and center console are a delicious detail. The car is full of them.
The M850i stickers from about $119,000 and rose to $130,000 for the tester. Curiously, this one lacked the cut-glass jeweled switchgear inside. But no matter. Still a showstopper of a cabin – especially at night.
Is M850i perfect? You know, after reconsidering all its awesome merits here, we’re going to change our answer from above. This car is perfect. It certainly made an impression on your author and around Charleston, SC for my time as a boss. It will do the same for any driver and any town worldwide.
We even warmed up to the Davit Grey paintwork that seemed too subtle at first. In the sun there is delightful gold fleck to it! That being said, the white, black or blue would be high on my color list.
Just be careful with how rich you feel. Being humble while driving M850iwill be the hardest part of ownership!
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.