When BMW Malaysia took the wraps off what is arguably the sexiest product in their portfolio at the moment – the all-new G15 8 Series Coupe, the car was being referred to as many things – a luxury coupe, a sports car, as well as a grand tourer, but just what exactly is it?
One thing was certain though – it was the sexiest BMW in the portfolio at that time, no doubt. Some argued that the i8 is sexier, but as impressive as it is, a hybrid is a hybrid and it will never touch your soul quite like the roar of a good ol’ V8 engine, will it?
So, in order to find out more about the M850i’s behaviour, we spent some time with it recently to see what exactly it has to offer.
Unveiled in March 2019, the G15 BMW 8 Series Coupe is available in two versions in Malaysia - the M850i xDrive and the full-blown (F92) M8.
Powering the M850i xDrive is BMW’s 4.4-litre TwinPower Turbo V8 engine which produces 530 hp and 750 Nm, enabling the car to sprint from nought to 100 in just 3.7-seconds.
Paired to the engine is an 8-speed automatic transmission and BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system. Further complementing the whole package is the M Adaptive suspension, with double-wishbones in front, and a multi-link setup in the rear.
It is also worth mentioning here that the 8 Series here is the successor to the BMW 6 Series.
On the exterior, key features include BMW Laser headlights, LED DRLs, 20-inch wheels, and since the model we tested was clad in M Performance kit, it came with sporty bumpers, as well as kidney grilles and logos finished in Cerium Grey.
Measuring 4,843 mm long, 1,902 mm wide, 1,339 mm tall, with a 2,822 mm-long wheelbase, the M850i is quite massive actually, and complemented by the wheels and the M Performance goodies, the coupe actually looks quite aggressive.
if we are to compare it with the 6 Series just to put things into perspective, the 8 is 43mm shorter, 23mm lower, and 8mm wider, which puts this car somewhere between an S-Class Coupe and the Porsche 911 in terms of size.
It may not look as extravagant as some of its rivals like the Bentley Continental GT, but if owners get the body and wheel colour combination right, the M850i here surely looks like it means business.
There are many exterior colour options and a wide range of personalisation options available under BMW Individual collection, so owners can actually knock themselves out when it comes to picking the right colours.
Inside, the 8 Series is fitted with M Sport steering wheel, M pedals and footrest, Merino genuine leather seats, and a dashboard that is unique to the 8 Series family.
Providing the driver with all the necessary information is the 12.3-inch BMW Live Cockpit Professional digital instrument display which takes some time to get used to, as well as the 10.25-inch screen in the middle of the dashboard, both of which are running on the latest BMW Operating System 7.0.
Unlike most instrument panels where the speedometer and the rev meters move clockwise, BMW's Live Cockpit Pro has the rev meter moving anti-clockwise. On top of that, we have a whole lot of information - from who sang the current song you're listening to, to the navigation map - being displayed within the 12.3-inch screen.
With so much happening, it definitely took us some time to familiarise ourselves with the system as we didn't know where to focus.
Below the central display, is a pretty straight forward air-cond control panel followed by a compartment with two cubby holes and also a wireless smartphone charging dock.
Further down below is the gorgeous crystal glass gear lever which sits next to the iDrive dial, and the buttons to choose between driving modes as well as the suspension settings.
Unlike most sports cars which are fully loaded with Alcantara and carbon fibre trims inside the cabin, the 850i feels way plusher and easier on the eyes thanks to items like the generous dose of leather upholstery and the crystal glass gear lever among others.
It may not be as visually appealing as cars like the Aston Martin DBS or the Bentley Continental GT, but it is still quite a welcoming cabin to be in.
In terms of setbacks, there is one small issue with the 8 Series - the rear seats are useless. Even the folks from Munich whom we spoke to during the global press drive of the 8 Series Convertible last year said that the 8's rear seat is more of a place to store things instead of human beings.
For a car that weighs like two tonnes, the M850i is mighty quick. The 530PS and 750Nm of torque which comes courtesy of the 4.4-litre TwinPower Turbo V8 mill was more than we could ever ask for.
There are four driving modes (Sport, Comfort, Eco Pro, Adaptive) which can be selected via a dedicated button for each mode.
Throughout our stint with the car, we were mostly in Adaptive mode, where the suspension, steering, and the Steptronic transmission constantly adapted the settings to suit the current driving situation, ensuring that there was always the right balance between comfort and sportiness.
In Sports mode, however, the steering tightened, throttle became more sensitive, the pops and crackles from the exhaust pipes got louder, and the gears were being held for a longer period. After about an hour in Sport mode, we felt things were getting a tad too wild for our liking, and back we went to Adaptive mode.
This was when we realised that the 8 is more of a grand tourer by nature than a full-blown performance-oriented sports car. However, the 8 felt much more eager and sportier than the 6 Series, which is a good thing.
Compared to the more aggressive Mercedes-AMG’s 63-series models and most Porsches in which you feel the urge to push them harder the more you drive them, the 8 Series Convertible got us going back into Adaptive or Normal mode after some time, where we just wanted to chill and cruise with the top down as that was when the car felt the best.
But that doesn’t mean that the 8 can’t take a hammering. This car, despite its sheer size, is capable of sprinting from standstill to 100 km/h in just under four seconds. Plus, the xDrive all-wheel drive system ensures that there is constant grip. So, make no mistake that the 8 Convertible is a car that can mean business if it wants to.
Thanks to the M Adaptive air suspension system, the 8 Convertible felt very comfortable both when we were driving slowly in town and when we were travelling at much higher speeds along the highways.
As much as BMW wants to call the 8 Convertible a sports car, it is more of a luxury grand tourer by nature. It is big, it is powerful, and feels absolutely at home while blasting down the highway and along scenic roads. At the same time, it is also comfortable and refined enough to be used as a daily.
Yes, it is still a BMW and does not disappoint at all when you push it really hard, but why rush when you can just bring the top down, cruise down the streets with every pair of eyes locked on your car and yourself?
It may not look as extravagant as an S-Class Cabriolet or a Bentley Continental GT Convertible, but it definitely drives better than the two. At the same time, it may not feel as raw as a Porsche 911 Cabriolet in the driver's seat, but it certainly looks better and feels more luxurious and refined.
Where the 8 Convertible sits is somewhere right in the middle of its segment, offering the right balance between luxury, style, performance, and comfort. Plus, if we are to look at it from a BMW fan's point of view, the 8 Convertible is arguably the best looking model they have to offer at the moment.
So, if money is not an issue at all, and you want a gorgeous power cruiser which offers the best of all worlds, look no further than the 8 Series Coupe. For those who feel that there is room for more madness, don’t worry as the M8 Coupe is there, waiting for you.