2019 BMW M850i: The Quintessential Grand Tourer

The first-generation E31 BMW 8-Series was last produced in 1999. Over the years, fans have eagerly awaited the return of BMW’s quintessential grand tourer – and it’s finally here. The 2019 BMW M850i is for the driver who’s looking for a luxurious and fun to drive grand tourer.

With that being said, we can think of many reasons why the 2019 BMW 850i should not be overlooked in the bewildering world of high-performance GT cars.

2019 BMW 8-Series Coupe

Choosing a new BMW 8-Series is as simple as it gets

Unlike other luxury brands that bombard you with endless trim options and equipment, it’s relatively easy to choose a new BMW 8-Series. The car is offered in a single trim model: M850i xDrive. You can choose a coupe or convertible, and that’s it. Easy, right?

Both body styles are equipped with a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 motor with 523-horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. The engine sends the power to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic.

2019 BMW 8-Series Convertible

It comes loaded with standard luxury features

It doesn’t matter if you choose the coupe or convertible. The BMW 8-Series is not short on standard luxury equipment. Both models receive adaptive LED/laser headlights, 20-inch alloy wheels, power operated trunk lid, selectable drive modes, automated parking, and soft-closing doors.

You also get a heads-up display, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated and cooled power front seats with memory functions, a surround view camera, wireless charging, interior ambient lighting, full leather upholstery, a 10.25-inch touchscreen display with navigation, and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon premium surround-sound system.

The BMW M850i coupe can be optioned with the Cooling and High-Performance Tire package. If you’re planning to drive the BMW 8-Series on the track, this feature comes with upgraded cooling systems for the engine and the tires. This means you can go harder for longer while still reveling in exceptional comfort.

BMW Concept 8 Series

The design is lifted directly from the magnificent BMW Concept 8 Series

Our dedicated Editor-in-Chief Vincent Nguyen was lucky enough to drive the BMW Concept 8 Series at the 2017 Concorso d’Eleganza Vila d’Estye at Lake Como, Italy. And while the event is home to the rarest vintage cars and classic motorcycles, the BMW Concept 8 Series managed to stand out. Why is it so special? “Think of it as the purest example of sportiness and luxury from a BMW coupe,” said Nguyen. “More importantly, much of what we see here, both inside and out, will translate over to the new BMW 8 Series Coupe,” claimed Nguyen. And he’s right.

The concept has the same low-slung design with an elongated silhouette and flowing roofline as the production 8-Series. The distinctively shaped double-bubble contours are most prevalent in the rear. The BMW 8-Series has a powerful and commanding presence on the road and has the slimmest headlights in BMW’s history. The trademarked BMW kidney grille is larger and more pronounced as it wraps seamlessly on the wide and contoured hood. The production car also has an elaborate yet toned-down front apron with large air intakes, which were again lifted directly from the concept.

“Even if I only got to cruise ahead of the sunset, rather than race off into it, the quick squirt around the gorgeous grounds of Villa Verba was enough to stoke my anticipation for the production BMW 8 Series,” concluded Nguyen.

BMW M8 GTE race car

The BMW M850i is co-developed with the M8 GTE FIA endurance racing car

Yup, you heard that right. The new BMW 8-Series is not merely a large and cosseting GT car. It is developed to behave like a proper sports car on the road or racetrack. Of course, the M850i won’t run circles around the Aston Martin Vantage or the Porsche 911, but it won’t be far in the rearview mirror when the going gets tough.

Both the production 8-Series and M8 GTE race car have four-wheel steering, an intelligent xDrive four-wheel drive system, and a body crafted from steel, magnesium, aluminum, and carbon fiber. In fact, the V8 engine in the M8 GTE shares 40-percent of its components with the production 8-Series, so it’s hard to deny the motorsports pedigree of the M850i.

It behaves like a proper luxury car

Despite the sporting lineage, the 2019 BMW M850i is still very much a grand touring luxury coupe. Even the convertible version is not lost in translation as it retains the desirability and refined styling of the hardtop version. It doesn’t feel as effortless as the Mercedes S-Class Coupe or the Rolls-Royce Dawn Drophead Coupe, but the new BMW 8-Series is not meant to ‘float’ or glide over the road. It is intended to be driven aggressively over long stretches of empty roads and highways without overtaxing the driver and passenger. This means you’ll be as fresh like morning dew upon arriving at your destination thanks to a bespoke double-wishbone front and five-link rear suspension with electronically-controlled dampers.  

The BMW 8-Series Convertible transforms in no time at all

If there’s a contest for the fastest folding convertible roof, the 2019 BMW 8-Series should be in the top ten. The soft top roof in the 8-Series folds up or down in 15 seconds, and you can do so at speeds up to 31 mph (50 km/h). The only thing left to do is slap a pair of sunglasses, put on some driving music, and drive away.

It comes with abundant safety kit

The BMW 8-Series is not only luxurious and exhilarating to drive. It also comes with an abundance of standard safety features. This includes forward collision warning with emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams. In the meantime, active cruise control with stop-and-go capabilities is optional along with steering and lane control assistance.

The 2019 BMW M850i is not perfect. Despite the sporty handling and agile reflexes, there’s no disguising the size and heft of the new 8-Series. And despite the lengthy dimensions, the cramped rear seats are only good for small fluffy dogs and a couple of duffle bags. However, the 8-Series has 15 cubic feet of space in case you need to carry luggage or golf bags along the way.