2019 BMW 850i Review: Elegant high performance Coupe is ruthlessly efficient

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By Asian Journal Auto Editor

Recently, I was lucky to get my greasy paws on a new 2019 BMW 8 Series. A top M850i trim – as sold in Canada. First impressions, it looks fabulous: A fitting tributes to BMW’s “Ultimate Driving Machine” slogan.  I for one am happy not to see another SUV, but a large powerful Grand touring Coupe. The 2019 BMW 8 Series coupe looks fabulous and is welcome return to the brand’s core values of performance and driver engagement. Looks wise, the 850i is purposeful, low and wide. There are sensuous curving haunches embracing the fat wheels and tires, while faux vents behind the front wheels and extractors at the rear add a touch of drama. As for power, BMW offers a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 under the hood, with a stupendous 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. Transmission is via an eight-speed auto and xDrive system that divvies power to both rear and front wheels. An arrangement that is fitting of this 4,478-pound car.

The cabin is well matched to the exterior, with a typical BMW look, serious, meticulous and slightly minimalist, but it is not austere with some gracious luxury touches and an abundance of high-quality materials. The dash features a configurable digital theme with multiple multimedia menus managed via a 10.25-inch touch screen, which can also be operated via BMW’s much-improved iDrive system. His sumptuous red and black leather interior in our tester with carbon fibre trim inserts and metal accent looked simply fabulous. Options that make the interior even more opulent include the Swarovski crystal shifter or Individual Composition option that offers a palette of interior trims such as black ash wood and iridescent exterior paint colors. The front seats re very comfortable and there is plenty of front occupant room, not so the case for the rear, that has a back seat and compromised rear headroom. The trunk, however is huge.

The 2019 BMW M850i Coupe starts from $123,500. It is also offered as a convertible, and prices for that start at $131,500. Not cheap by any means, but Wow! What a lot of car for the money. Options on our $123,000 tester included Executive Package, ($4,000) with: Ventilated Seats, Glass Crystal Controls, and Driving Assistant Professional system. Stand-Alone Options included the 20” Style Bi-Colour Cerium Wheels, BMW Individual, Fiona Red/Black Extended Merino Leather trim, Carbon Roof, BMW Display Key, BMW Individual Piano Black Wood Trim With /Satin Chrome Highlight. Options boosted the price from $123,000 to $132,700

On the road Driving Dynamics are excellent: Even in “Normal” mode, the car is entertaining, but turn on its “Sport Plus” mode and it will sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds, with a top speed is limit of 250 km/h.  The highly tuned V8 is docile at low speeds, but demonstrates straight line speed that impresses. The big coupe takes corners like a lightweight thanks to the superbly engineered chassis, and the 850’s four-wheel steering – a system that turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front wheels at speeds up to 72 km/h, and in the same direction when speed increases past that. Choosing various drive modes and preferences through the iDrive Controller and buttons surrounding the gear lever.  Changing gears through the eight-speed automatic transmission can be accomplished by using the gear selector or paddle shifters.  Select Sport mode and steering inputs, suspension damping rates, and throttle response quicken. Activating Sport+ takes it a step further. The M850i also shines on twisty roads,—ride quality is remarkably good considering its sporty suspension and big wheel setup with the 20-inch-wheels (245/35 up front and 275/30 at the rear). Thanks in part to the sophisticated active suspension, 4-wheel steering, and electronic differentials which route power to the appropriate wheels in order to maximize grip and acceleration. It’s a system that provides tremendous grip with a mostly rear-wheel-drive bias, helping avoid the understeer.

Not much to complain about – it’s a big car and there are other nimbler GTs out there and the back seat is tiny. Still theses are trivial matters when you consider the 850o offers presence, gravitas and performance that just sublime. If you can afford it’ a decision not to be regretted. I would buy it in a beartbeat!

2019 BMW M850i Xdrive Coupe. Base Price $123,500. Price as Tested with options: $132,700.