20 years ago, 8 Series was the by-word for fast, powerful, gentlemen’s touring.
It was classy and sophisticated, and its unique wedge shape was seen in all the right places, the haunts of the well-heeled. Even now, when you think of that car, you imagine champagne, evening wear, and nights at the Opera House.
The new 8 Series brings back that Hollywood glamour, and matches it with M level performance. It is, quite simply, magnificent.
The M850i xDrive comes with or without a roof, and as the name suggests, All-Wheel-Drive.
The muscular bodywork starts with an aggressive front end. An elongated kidney grille and laser headlights that shine 500m ahead, dominate a sexy profile that means business. The GT looks are further enhanced as you move along the doors to the long, low rear end, sitting on 20” wheels. The bootlid is electric, and fully hands free.
The rear end has a lot going on. Wafer-thin trails of light have a touch of “Vegas-at-Night” about them. They combine with a myriad of angles and scallops, with reflectors, and inbuilt exhaust tips finished in chrome.
Jewellery is important. It gives an outfit distinctive flare.
The jewellery continues as you move up top. Carbon fibre forms a sexy double bubble roof, keeping occupants of the coupe cosy and safe. The convertible has a classic soft top that is insulated against unwanted noise and temperature intrusions. It completes operations in a mere 15 seconds at speeds of up to an impressive 50kph. If you fancy even more bling, you can opt for an Anthracite Silver Effect cloth at no extra cost.
The top stows itself into a compartment topped with a cover to match the car’s interior
The cabin drips with luxury. It has been lavished with every conceivable convenience technology can provide. Leather “Merino” upholstery covers the sports seats. The convertible has heaters at neck height to keep you warm, even with the roof down on a chilly winter day.
The cabin feels truly luxurious in a way that will make current BMW owners feel very familiar. There is a real sense of hand-built quality on every surface. Buttons and knobs feel solid, and top notch.
“Crafter Clarity” glass embellishments include an illuminated “8” just in case you forget where you are. You can change the colour of the ambient lighting too, if the mood takes you.
Like all the top shelf BMWs, the 8 Series has cutting edge technology to connect the car to the driver, the road, and the rest of the world. In fact it is so smart, it uses satellite data to pre-empt gear changes.
i-Drive 7 is the latest iteration of infotainment, and displays vehicle status and other vital data wherever you want it. It is controlled by either the command centre between the front seats, or the touch screen on the centre stack. There is also gesture control for some of the functions if you really feel the need.
BMW voice control now (allegedly) has “natural recognition” and the navigation is more intuitive with speed sign information. The car will read the sign and present the speed in the driver’s cluster and in the Heads-Up Display.
There are screens in front of the driver, and on the centre stack which are complimented by a further “heads up” display on the windscreen. You can customise information content, and the way it is displayed.
Cameras dotted are around the exterior. There is night vision mode, and a system to allow the car to drive itself. Naturally, in Australia you have to keep your hands on the wheel, at least for now. Active features will help you avoid accidents by steering clear of obstacles, braking, and raising roll bars if an accident can’t be prevented.
The heart of any sports car is the engine. A Twin-turbo 4.4 V8 Petrol powers all four wheels through an 8-speed sport-automatic. 390kw is more than adequate, but the 750Nm torque can only be described as monumental. With those big figures, comes a very small one, 3.7seconds. That’s how quickly the M850i will leap to 100kph from the traffic lights. Don’t do it too often or men in blue uniforms will come.
The convertible is a trifle slower at 3.9 seconds thanks to the extra weight courtesy of additional body strengthening.
Extra rigidity, thanks to the BMW Carbon Core transmission tunnel, reduces weight. It allows “optimised” suspension geometry giving the M850i superb ride and handling.
M enhancements include an M Sport electronic rear mounted differential, and M Performance adaptive suspension. Active anti-roll stabilisation and Integral Active Steering make the car stable and agile at all speeds.
Standard features include:
- Eight-speed Steptronic Sport Automatic Transmission
- BMW xDrive all-wheel drive system
- 20-inch M light alloy wheels Y-spoke style 728 M Bicolour Cerium Grey with performance tyres
- M Sport Brakes
- M Sport Differential
- M Seat belts (NCO)
- Adaptive M Suspension Professional with:
- Integral Active Steering
- Active anti-roll stabilisation
- M Carbon Roof (Coupe)
- Black soft top (Convertible)
- M Rear Spoiler (Coupe)
- Comfort Access
- Wireless Smartphone Charging
- Soft Close Doors
- BMW ‘CraftedClarity’ Glass Application
- Driving Assistant Professional
- Parking Assistant Plus, including Rear View Camera, 3D View and Reverse Assistant
- BMW Laselights
- Connected Package Professional, including:
- Remote services,
- Real-time Traffic Information
- Apple CarPlay
- Concierge Services
- BMW Live Cockpit Professional, including:
- 12.3-inch instrument cluster, 10.25-inch Control Display, BMW Head-Up Display and Gesture Control
- BMW Night Vision Camera with Pedestrian Recognition
- BMW Air Collar Neck Warmer (Convertible only)
- BMW Individual Metallic Paintwork
- BMW Individual Leather Merino Upholstery
- Heat Comfort Package
- Front heated door/console armrests and steering wheel
- Heated front seats
BMW M850i xDrive Coupe $272,900
BMW M850i xDrive Convertible $281,900
Engine:- 4.4 twin turbo V8
Drive wheels:- xDrive AWD