The 2019 BMW M850i xDrive Coupe: Partly what the F06/12/13 BMW M6 should have been.
When the F12 BMW M6 debuted in 2012 it had a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 putting 560 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, or the MDCT as it was called. Fuel mileage was 14 mpg city and 20 highway, respectively, and it weighed about 4250 lbs. All this could be had for a base price of about $110,000 (the price went up slightly each year). Due to a bland launch control system, it was hard to get the M6 faster than 4-seconds to 60 mph (the M6 Gran Coupe would later achieve this same feat in 3.5s), and a 12.1s 1/4-mile time at around 123 mph was decent-ish. Peak horsepower came at 6000 rpm, while all 500 torques were available from 1500 all the way up to 5750 rpm. Redline was 7100 rpm.
Now, for a base price of $112,895, including the $995 destination fee, you can have a 2019 BMW M850i xDrive. This all-new car features a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 making 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels, albeit with a preference to the rearmost ones, via a ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox, and it features a rear-wheel steering system that makes a big boat feel as nimble as a Miata in a parking lot or turning in and out of driveways. This is especially handy in parking garages, where the front nose of the 850 feels like it will hit everything in sight. The fuel mileage for the new 8-Series is 18 mpg city and 25 mpg on the highway, respectively. Furthermore, the car weighs in at 4,478 lbs according to BMW. BMW estimate that the M850i xDrive will pass 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, while Motor Trend have done that deed in 3.5, and Car and Driver have done it in 3.3, and taking the 1/4-mile in 11.5 seconds at 123 mph. The 850’s M-sneezed-on V8’s peak power happens at 600 rpm, and all of its torque, 53 lb-ft more than the M6, is ripe from 1800 rpm, gliding up to 4600 rpm. The as-tested price of my car was $118,845.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
While I’m not much a fan of BMW’s insistence that everything now wear an M badge, even though it’s what would have been called the Sport Package, or M-Sport, I have to say that the actual “sportiness” of the M850 gives me pleasure for one reason: There’s no optional sport package above what’s already here. This is aimed squarely at the Corvette crowd. A non-Z51 Corvette shouldn’t exist. The standard Corvette is shit. So I thank BMW for making the M850i the maximum sporty model from the factory. Although, an optional extra cooling fan and high-performance tire option -packaged together for $1,850- should just come with the car.
I guess the biggest knock against the new M850i is that it’s actually too fast and agile for daily driving pleasure. So you end up driving around in something that has nowhere to go, which makes it feel boring and blah. While I know this will annoy plenty of people, I believe this to my core: this car would be more fun with a manual. Sure, I know, it’s made to be the “poor man’s” Bentley Continental GT, but I think with the pure speed and performance the 2019 BMW M850i has, a 7-speed manual gearbox would do wonders to keep the driver more engaged and fascinated with the overall character.
Regardless of performance, the 2019 M850i xDrive is very comfortable and capable as a daily-driven GT car. The trunk is very nicely sized at 14.8 cubic feet -just remember that this is a coupe and isn’t meant for tall items in the trunk. Back seat space is useless, though. But the rear seats do fold down to allow you to slide things in from the trunk. So, usability is more than pretty much anything else for the same amount or more, and it’s about as quick as anything you can think of. I’d call that a major win. With standard all-wheel drive, the BMW will definitely be usable all-year-’round. I would definitely recommend a set of winter wheels and tires for it if you’re going to be doing that, though.
Speaking of usability and function, I said in the previous paragraph that the back seat isn’t useful. It’s good for luggage, maybe a small pet, and sadly that’s about it. The interior space overall is just okay. I wouldn’t say it’s cramped, but I’m pretty surprised that for a car that is 191.2 inches, or 15 ft 11-1/4 inches, doesn’t have more interior volume. Hell, the BMW 5-Series and X5 are both 194.3 inches, or 16 feet 2-1/4 inches. I feel like that speaks louder than any text I can write.
Sitting in the driver’s seat and looking forward you are fed a ton of information through the iDrive and infotainment system, and the digital gauge cluster is very nicely laid out, albeit boring. With a head-up display you’ll be able to keep your hands on the wheel and pay less attention to the meh gauges. Wireless Apple CarPlay is the best feature, by far, along with a standard USB port and a single USB-C port, too. Wireless charging is in front of the cup holders, but I hardly used it. I mainly stuck my iPhone in the cup holders. The only time I really used the wireless charger was to charge the pointless specialty Display Key. You can also use the Near-Field Communication system in your smartphone to lock, unlock, and start your car once you’ve placed it in the wireless charging area. I’m still very upset with BMW that they’re charging you for Apple CarPlay. That’s so silly and arrogant. Then again, the generation of buyers that can buy the M850i think Apple CarPlay is slang for having sex in a car. “You better not be having CarPlay in my new BMW, Anthony.” *Update: BMW have rightly scrapped their bullshit plan to charge customers for Apple CarPlay in a car they’ve already paid for, or are paying for.”
The 2019 M850i xDrive features some of the best headlights you’ll ever witness. They are BMW’s lately LaserLight headlight technology, and I think they could light the surface of the moon.
So in the end what do I think? Well, I really like the car, for the most part. It’s a great cruiser, brilliantly fast, and cheap for what it can do. But there’s something missing, and it has to do with all of the fun pumped into the car by way of technology. The original 8-Series was not the car of the century, nor was it the best car BMW have ever made. However, it’s timeless, especially with the pop-up headlights alone. New BMWs are so good, but also so boring at the same damn time. They are beyond capable, incredibly beautiful to look at, and the models with a V8 sound damn good… on the outside. The best way to describe the 2019 M850i xDrive is to quote Jason Cammisa in an Instagram post, where he called it “… the fastest Buick ever.” I don’t think there’s a better way to end this review. Goodnight.