By Helmut Dostal
BMW’s M850i xDrive Gran Coupé. Rarely does an automobile capture both my heart and mind with a combination of elegance and sporting spirit the way this gentleman racer has. Widely considered as one of BMW’s best, the new 8- Series means simply “Driving Pleasure.”
One glance at the M8’s long, elegant hood, the aggressive air intakes and kidney grille up front, there is no mistaking that this potent coupé is breathing fire under its hood. The 4.4 litre V8 engine is fed by twin turbo chargers and pumps out some serious 600 hp, producing 750Nm of torque at 1,800-4,600 rpm.
The M850i Gran Coupé is a high-speed, four-door cruiser, designed to accommodate four adults in safe, luxurious ambiance. Its 16-speaker Harmann Kardon Premium Sound System turns the M8 into a concert hall on wheels—all in the comfort of the elegant dual-tone Merino leather interior. The driver’s experience is enhanced by massaging, heated and cooled seats, heated armrests and steering wheel, as well as the eco-friendly micro-filter ventilation.
Our test drive with the M850 Gran Coupé was nothing short of exceptional. Once on the road, the M8 is right at home as it whispers its way through our leafy downtown neighbourhoods. But when it comes across the ramp that connects to the highway, Comfort turns to Sport and to Sport Plus, as the hungry V8 roars through the gears.
The car is not just quick off the mark at 3.4 seconds to 100km/hr. but still more capable when it takes just two heart-pumping seconds to pass from 120 km/hr. to 200 km/ hr. The 8’s unforgiving acceleration and seemingly endless power reserves take the car up to a limited top speed of 250 km/hr in one effortless rush.
Our M850 came well equipped with all the safety features, BMW has in their top-of-the line toolbox that includes semi- autonomous parking, Automatic Collision Mitigation and Daytime Pedestrian Detection, Adaptive LED headlights and Laser Lights, full colour Heads Up Display and BMW Assist eCall and automatic collision notification.
The Gran Coupé’s back-seat passengers benefit with extra legroom courtesy of the car’s extended wheelbase of 7.9 inches. This compares with the shorter wheelbase of the two-door 8-Series Coupé and convertible model.
The legendary smooth 8-speed ZF automatic transmission delivers power to 20-inch V-spoke alloy wheels. It also has huge 15.5” front wheel disks to provide all the necessary stopping power. The steering is precise and surprisingly responsive, given the size and weight of this 4,600 lb all- wheel drive car.
All this performance is wrapped in one of the best automotive designs, BMW has produced since the timeless 3.0 CSi of the 50’s.
The M850 truly delivers “Freude am Fahren.”