BMW’s long-awaited replacement for the iconic 8 Series of the 1990s has arrived in Australia. Launching with the top-shelf (not including the M8) M850i xDrive, there’s a choice of Coupe and Convertible.
Strap yourselves in folks, it’s not cheap but you get a lot of go for your dough.
|BMW M850i xDrive|
What do you get?
Thankfully, a hell of a lot of gear. And chassis technology. In an effort save weight, the Carbon Core from the 7 Series is along for the ride. It’s not a huge amount of carbon fibre, but the transmission tunnel is made of the lightweight and is strong stuff. I don’t think it has saved much weight, but it does improve structural rigidity. The Convertible also has a stronger windscreen frame and a set of rollover bars to help with the loss of the roof.
A stiff structure means the Adaptive M Suspension has a good starting point – the stiffer the shell is, the more scope chassis engineers have. While all four wheels are 20-inches in diameter, the front tyres are 245/35s and 275/30s on the rear. All-wheel steer is along for the ride, which should make things interesting.
Suspension is by double wishbones up front active anti-roll. BMW says the setup is designed to separate the steering and damping forces and there are torsion struts to “more directly link the suspension to the 8 Series bodywork.
The five-link rear has bi-elastic mountings (answers on a postcard, please) and a load-bearing strut for further rigidity and response.
Front brakes are M Performance aluminium four-piston fixed calipers and the rears a single piston floating caliper. The discs are a massive 395mm and made of steel.
The package also includes all-wheel steer, BMW’s new 12.3-inch Live Cockpit Professional, a new and bigger head up display and a 10.25-inch iDrive screen running BMW Operating System 7.0.
The Coupe also scores gesture control which is never not hilarious when you’re watching someone trying to get it working. Another funky feature is either an NFC card for iPhone users and Android phones can unlock the car.
The car also comes with a mix of subscription services – Apple CarPlay and real-time traffic info and concierge services.
Other tech highlights include the amazing Laserlights that can basically illuminate the moon and a carbon fibre roof (you can have a painted aluminium one as a no-cost option).
M850i Engine and Transmission
As the 50 bit suggests, there’s a ton of grunt under the bonnet from BMW’s twin-turbo V8. Sound familiar? Well, it should, it’s in the M5, X5 M and X6 M. Under the M850i you’ve got 390kW and a massive 750Nm.
As we found out in the M5, there’s probably more. A fair bit more.
The Coupe cracks the sprint to 100km/h (62mph) in 3.7 seconds (the drop-top is 0.2 seconds slower).
As in the M5, the eight-speed ZF changes the gears for you and sends the power to all four wheels. As with sister company Rolls Royce, the sat nav looks ahead for you and will tell the transmission to change gear for the next corner.
Between the rear wheels is an M Sport diff and that’s always A Good Thing.
You can buy an M850i xDrive now from BMW dealers.
|Colours||Price (AUD, May 2019)|
|Alpine White, Black Sapphire, Mineral White, Sonic Speed Blue, Sunset Orange, Barcelona Blue, Dravit Grey, Tanzanite Blue II, Aventurine Red II||No-cost option|
|Frozen Arctic Grey, Frozen Brilliant White, Frozen Cashmere Silver, Frozen Dark Brown, Frozen Dark Silver||$2600|
|Pure Metal Silver||$10,400|
|Colours||Price (AUD, May 2019)|
|Alpine White, Carbon Black, Black Sapphire, Mineral White, Sonic Speed Blue, Sunset Orange, Barcelona Blue, Dravit Grey,||No-cost option|
|(May 2019)||M850i xDrive|
|M850i xDrive Coupe||M850i xDrive Convertible|
|Boot capacity||420 litres||350 litres|
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.