We managed to get behind the wheel of the first-ever BMW M850i Coupé, and were truly exhilarated by the vehicle.
The number 8 is a significant and auspicious number in many cultures – being associated with wealth and abundance – plus it’s akin to the symbol of infinity and has a myriad of pop culture references tied to it. Thus, it’s fitting that BMW have decided to bring back the 8-series, and have done so with aplomb.
As such, we give you 8 reasons you will enjoy driving the latest M8 Coupé, which was launched locally in Q3 last year.
1. Luxury meets power
BMW has always been known as a status symbol, and the first-ever BMW M850i Coupé is probably the epitome of the German manufacturer’s prowess in merging both luxury and power harmoniously. Though, with the amount of technology, research and development that has gone into the beautiful machine, you would be expecting to pay a hefty, but worthwhile, price of an upwards of RM1.4 million – excluding taxes and any additional trimmings you would want to add on (more on this below).
After all, it was during the launch of the M8, when Harald Hoelzl, the managing director of BMW Group Malaysia shared that, “At the BMW Group, M is the Most Powerful Letter in the World, as it represents the high-performance vehicles born out of pure passion for motorsports. This fascination for power, speed and dynamics has put M on the map since 1972.”
As we picked up the car for our test drive, it was apparent from its mere sight, that this was going to be a spectacular experience. We figured this, as we were handed not one, not two, but three ‘keys’ to the ride. The first was the usual key fob, that most keyless entry car drivers have. Then there was the digital key, which allows you to check on and preset and cool your ride before your time of departure, and finally the convenient ‘credit card key’ which you can store in your wallet and leave both other keys at home.
Plus, there must be sound reason if BMW itself had decided that the 8-Series would be assuming the position of the much-liked 6-Series. We find out why, as we get acquainted further with this gentlemanly racer.
2. Performance at its peak
The First-Ever BMW M8 Coupé takes the BMW 8 Series model range to a whole new level in terms of performance as it benefits from the most powerful engine ever developed by BMW M yet.
For all you car junkies to take note: The Coupé, befitting its name, hosts an 8-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic technology, which sees a max torque delivery of 750Nm!
The 5.0 litre, V8 engine (which translates to a 5-figure road tax payment) is a joy to even just start-up, as it gives a humble roar to begin with. The sound won’t wake the neighbours up, but those who’re already awake, will definitely be intrigued and want to find out where the sound came from.
As per usual, there are different drive modes you can choose from. The four being: Sport, Comfort, Eco pro and Adaptive. The most exciting, being sports, of course. While comfort and Eco are somewhat more ‘tame’ and adaptive gives you the best of both the ‘tame’ and ‘wild’ (Sports mode) side.
Simply pushing the Sports mode button transforms the personality of the engine, and its roar is more pronounced. Accelerating is easily more exhilarating in this mode, and now, you might just wake up those neighbours who didn’t mind you starting your engine. Going from a purr to a roar, and ending with the crackle of the exhaust, car enthusiasts will definitely appreciate the sounds the BMW M850i makes.
On top of that, the highly efficient engine delivers power exactly when you need it to. And the car seems almost intuitive, giving you the exact boost you’re looking for, whether it is to do a quick overtake, or whether you’re switching it up to cruise faster – and this is applicable in all modes of driving.
Design definitely stands out with the Coupé – both in terms of its interior as well as the exterior. First, let’s take a look at the inside. With its clean design cue, the M8 doesn’t seem to offer much to toy around with, although there’s a host of settings and actions for you to configure to your liking.
The new M Mode selector on the centre console can be used to control the driver assistance systems as well as the content of the instrument cluster displays and the Head-Up Display.
While the standard M8 features the BMW Individual headliner Alcantara anthracite Gearshift lever knob with M badge, the G15 M850i xDrive comes with a brilliant gearshift design of its own (which we’ll discover below.) Then there’s the mood lighting which align the doors, that add to the luxury ambiance of the interior, which is already amplified by the premium materials used within the cabin. Sitting inside will definitely make you feel like you’ve made it in life, and rightly so if you can afford it.
Also it’s easy to be wow-ed by the dashing exterior. The BMW 8 Series design language which features muscular sculpted surfaces and distinctive characteristics in the frontal appearance. These include the new M-specific front apron, along with the BMW kidney grille featuring M-specific decorative mesh, double slats and M8 designation. The slender BMW Laserlights with high-beam assistant are positioned slightly higher than the kidney grille and widens towards the road, thus emphasising the models’ low-slung stance and low centre of gravity. As you would have guessed, the design isn’t just for mere looks, but also aids in terms of performance, by making the car more stable and aerodynamic.
And in typical fashion of BMW premium coupés, the frameless side windows and the BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line adorn either side of the vehicle, while flared aluminium wings with M gills and M8 designation emphasise track width and wheel size. Towards the rear, you see the M rear spoiler, as well as M-specific M8 rear diffuser and M-specific exhaust system with twin tailpipes and chrome trims.
The Coupé is offered in seven alluring colours, namely Alpine White, Brands Hatch Grey, Marina Bay Blue, Motegi Red, Black Sapphire, Donington Grey and Barcelona Blue. Although its design cues do not necessarily scream out for attention, car aficionados are bound to take notice, and admire the sexy ride.
4. Safety Always
Like Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Which is why this hero, is packed with a host of safety features, to keep you and others safe on the road. Seeing as to how the BMW M850i packs a punch, necessary safety functions were added to ensure the car performs exactly the way you want, or need it to.
Firstly, the model is fitted with the M-specific integrated brake system. This innovative technology combines brake activation, brake booster and braking control functions in one compact module. The required brake pressure is established by an electric actuator. This optimises braking dynamics and pedal feel as well as the precision and speed of DSC stability control interventions.
The brakes are truly amazing, and coupled with the handling, it’s too easy to speed yet still be in control of this magnificent ride. And no matter what, you will be confident that the car would behave exactly how you intend it to, and stop right when you need it to.
That’s not all for sure, apart from the standard safety features like air bags as well as monitoring technology, to help you easily keep track of your car’s maintenance – from tire pressure to engine wear – there’s a host of other technology which also aids the driver in making the best decisions. We find out more, in the next point.
5. help, when you need it
The good thing about the M8 is that the technology isn’t that intrusive, and is of great help when you want or need it.
As it is paired with the Active Protection safety system, the Coupé contain functions such as Lane Keeping Assistant with side collision protection, Lane Change Assistant, Crossing-traffic Warning and the Reversing Assistant and prompts you when necessary, but allows you to still be fully in control of the vehicle.
Apart from that, there are the other advanced assistance systems that provide comfort and safety, such as the Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go function, the BMW Personal CoPilot driver assistance systems include the Driving Assistant Professional, and Parking Assistant Plus.
6. the ‘x’ factor
Again reiterating on safety and handling, but also having a hand to play in terms on power is the fact that the M850i includes BMW’s all-wheel drive system, the xDrive.
Driving dynamics via the M xDrive all-wheel drive system contributes to the vehicles’ directional stability and superior traction. Its rear-wheel bias makes it suitable for extremely dynamic driving and the supremely flexible, fully variable torque split of this all-wheel drive system makes the vehicle easy to control at all times. Drivers can also adapt the M xDrive’s power distribution according to their personal preferences: from the 4WD default setting to the 4WD Sport mode and, with the DSC switched off, a rear-wheel-drive-only 2WD mode for use on the track.
7. the finer touches
Of course, there’s got to be finery that’s added to this million Ringgit coupé. And one of the standout pieces you’ll definitely notice is the crystal gear shifter – yes, you’re seeing (and reading) that right. Although its been done before by other carmakers, this marks a first for BMW. And what better car to start with!
Apart from that, when you connect your phone via Apple CarPlay or Bluetooth, you will get pristine audio blasting (if you wish) from the Harman Kardon surround sound system.
Plus for an added fee, you can amp up your Coupé with a carbon fibre kit, for the grille, side skirt and side mirror cap, to give your ride an even meaner stance.
8. Comfort: Not last, not least
Coupés aren’t necessarily heralded for their comfort levels, however, with its plush interiors and full Merino leather upholstery, the BMW M850i holds well in terms of comfort. Of course, being a coupé, it’s ideal for two, and any extra passenger might not share the same sentiments on comfort as the two seated in front. However, BMW does solve that problem by offering the M8 Gran Coupé model, which comfortably seats passengers at the back, plus has the same power output as the standard M8 Coupé.
The front seats – upholstered in Merino leather as standard – are comfortable, with a moulded shape that provides maximum lateral support even during dynamic driving. The seats, which add to the luxurious feel of the car, help to also keep you in place during tight corners at high speeds.
All in, BMW definitely redefines this iconic segment with the BMW M850i xDrive model, which strengthens its brand presences alongside its renowned M DNA.