First Drive: 2019 BMW M850i xDrive


I’ve in no way been a big fan of BMW. There’s not anything in particular off-setting approximately the motors, it’s just that handiest a handful have ever truly spoken to me, and handiest or three of those “right” BMWs have been constructed after 1999. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a BMW fan like the all-new 2019 BMW 8 Series, particularly in the M850i xDrive guise. You just ought to revel in awesome cars.

Built on the same simple components that made the original eight Series a cult hit (appropriate looks, masses of energy, and a large dash of dynamism), and despite the shortage of a V-12, the new car isn’t any pretender to the name—a truth made thrillingly clear the primary time you fire the four.4-liter twin-faster V-eight and unharness its 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. Routed through an expertly tuned ZF eight-velocity automatic and a strongly rear-biased xDrive all-wheel-force device, that strength launches the M850i towards the horizon, hitting 60 mph from a dead forestall in only three.6 seconds on to an electronically constrained pinnacle velocity of a hundred and fifty-five mph.

The numbers don’t truly do the M850i justice, however, as wonderful as they are. Why? Because the eighth Series is set so much more than figures on a chart. There’s an attention to the qualitative aspect of riding leisure that has seemed absent from—or at least on the very bottom of—the BMW development checklist in the latest years. Whether you’re launching onto an on a ramp, creating a 50-mph bypass on a B-road, or genuinely queuing your manner through a metropolis middle, the spirit of BMW’s motorsport-bred prowess is engineered into each unmarried a part of the auto, now not just the abundant badging.

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That suggests on the primary set of curves you hit within the M850i. Its four-wheel steering machine, which steers the rear wheels contrary the front wheels at low speeds for agility and in tandem with the fronts at better speeds for balance, is absolutely transparent; however, additionally at once important, because the long, extensive 8er shrinks around you, diving thru corners like an automobile two-thirds it’s size and half its weight. But despite its marvelous road-preserving and flat, controlled cornering, the M850i additionally cruises in serenity, absorbing unwell-maintained Portuguese asphalt in stride, rarely jostling occupants or droning out atypical tones. The best gripe we had with the M850i on any level during the street power become the grindingly slow, always-past due navigation device. Hopefully, that’s just an artifact of these being pre-production cars. That small pork aside, the brand new 8 Series is really adorable on the road. And it’s sincerely thoughts-blowing on the track.

I say this, of direction, no longer out of blind fancy, however after spending an afternoon wheeling the M850i around the Portuguese countryside and onto the currently repaved floor of the ancient Autódromo Fernanda Pires da Silva raceway, or Estoril, as it’s usually known. Even as I’m told, that repaving became a whole lot needed, controlled to reduce grip to close-to-wet ranges, even at the same time as heat and dry. Launching the eight Series at Estoril turned into a brave pass for BMW, as there could be no chance for the slightly portly (4,478 lb slash weight in U.S. Trim) BMW to hide its dynamic missteps below layers of excessive mechanical grip.

Even after having pushed the M850i prototype in advance this yr at a secret location in Wales—on damp roads no grippier than the resurfaced Estoril—I was amazed, even shocked, at simply how desirable the car is on the right track. Not even the brake-with the aid of-twine machine may be criticized, turning in an excellent and consistent pedal feel and preventing power. I became sure that might be a soft spot inside the underbelly of the eighth Series. I turned it in incorrectly.

In reality, there are no actual soft spots, nor even an underbelly to speak of. Boot the throttle popping out of the long Ayrton Senna parabolic nook main onto Estoril’s front straight, and you’ll, in brief, come across its 155 mph digital restrict earlier than clamping the laptop-managed four-piston the front calipers onto the steel discs. Turn in, and the auto slightly rolls, speedy taking its set and arcing in in the direction of the apex as you path off the brake. A little greedy getting lower back at the fuel? You’re rewarded with tail-out attitude and nevertheless-ample acceleration—inspite of the steadiness manipulate half of on in Traction mode—before the torque being despatched to the front wheels facilitates pull you back into line and on in the direction of the next brake sector. With its big strength, robust brakes, and ample grip, the M850i is convenient to pressure at a ludicrously brisk tempo. Steering effort is by no means too excessive, the brake pedal never too stiff, and the seats do a masterful job of balancing each day’s comfort with track-worthy balance.

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Is it a great track weapon? No, of direction no longer. oseBut the M850i is already far, a long way higher tune vehicle than any 6 Series ever became, and better than an automobile so forgiving and fun on the street has any right to be, tons much less one with so much computer-witchcraft going on behind the curtain. But that’s not the M850i’s activity—BMW’s saving those paintings for the upcoming M8.

If you haven’t figured it out but, I lied to you just a chunk at the start. While it’s authentic, I’ve in no way been a massive fan of BMW; after using the 2019 BMW M850i, I’m going to start saying, “I’ve by no means been a huge fan of BMW—till now.”