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The BMW 8 Series proves capable of sporty performance and more so at being a luxurious grand tourer that's as handsome as it goes.

08 Apr 2019



If you've never heard the album S&M, it contains performances of Metallica songs with additional symphonic accompaniment of The San Francisco Symphony.

The idea was to combine heavy metal with an epic classical approach, nestling Metallica's massive crunch inside a muscular swirl of chugging strings and ominous winds.

In my opinion, it is sheer awesomeness. But why am I going on about this 20-year old act, you might ask? That's because it reminds me of the car you see here, the all new second generation BMW 8 Series.

The G15 model marks the second coming of the stylish BMW 8 Series Coupe

It all begins with the first generation model… sort of

The 8 Series was first introduced in 1990 under the E31 model code and was a range of grand tourers available as two-door coupes with V8 and V12 engines. Unfortunately, due to poor sales, it was later discontinued in 1999 - the year Metallica's S&M debuted.

BMW revived the model in 2018, with the second generation coupe codenamed G15, and here's where the similarities with Metallica's dramatic and powerful album really begin.

An artful masterpiece

BMW is quick to correct anyone who calls the 8 Series a replacement for the 6 Series because this is the new flagship BMW.

The 8 Series sits at 4,851mm long, 1,902mm wide and 1,346mm tall

And more than just taking the grand touring fight to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe, BMW now has its sights on rivals like the Aston Martin DB11 and the Bentley Continental GT.

Yet, despite its aforementioned English rivals being much more expensive, the 8 Series isn't any less of a head-turner, whether it's munching miles or parked at the lobby of a Shangri-La.

With its imposing proportions and emotional styling, it's clearly dressed the part as the highest-ranking member of the BMW fraternity. From its long bonnet and flowing lines to its low-slung body and muscular rear end, the 8 Series oozes class and authority from all angles.

The twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 produces 523bhp and a peak torque of 750Nm

And rightfully so, considering it has all the necessary performance credentials to back its devilishly handsome yet timeless design - here's where its rock star side begins to show.

Powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8, the M850i we drove offers both creamy grand touring pace as well as riotous acceleration depending on what mode you flip it in.

In standard Comfort setting, its 523bhp and 750Nm of torque is delivered in the same way a delicately plucked harp sends a crying baby into slumber, while its softened adaptive suspension glides you along creamily.

Sport Individual mode allows you to individually customise settings such as suspension and steering

But even in Comfort, the engine is quick to respond, just as is its eight-geared autobox. There's never a time you would really require any other mode than Comfort, until of course you want to get a bit naughty.

A master of speed 

So make no mistakes. While the M850i is amply capable of the luxuriously velvety experience a top grand tourer should deliver, it's also capable of baring muscle.

Flip it into Sport Plus and everything tightens and heightens; the steering gains heft, the dampers firm up and the powertrain goes into attack mode, along with a growlier and crackly soundtrack as the exhaust valves open.

It is in Sport Plus mode that the M850i goes from symphonic orchestra to giving you fuel, fire and that which you desire, and a 0-100km/h sprint in 3.7 seconds (0.3 seconds slower than an M5).

Find a long enough stretch of road you'd be able to gun down hard enough and the M850i also displays the sort of top-end ferocity M5 owners may find familiar.

Despite being a big, comfortable grand tourer, the M850i is also capable of sporty driving

But more importantly, it's more than just a big, burly muscle car. To ensure the M850i is capable of holding its own in case it finds a Porsche 911 hot on its tail, BMW have also given it some dancing shoes.

Trickery such as rear-wheel steering, and chassis and suspension tuning brought over from the company's racing division give the M850i a level of agility that hides its size.

While admittedly the steering is a bit numb - thankfully it's progressive and smooth - there's a huge amount of traction offered from the all-wheel drive system, and the M850i never fails to maintain its poise even along twistier roads.

The large M Sport brakes offer a powerful bite and excellent braking feel

It's no full-on sports car for sure but it's agile enough and shrinks around you more than its rivals, and that's good enough for most considering one. For anything more, there's the upcoming M8.

Special in many ways

And if you're already familiar with BMW's current crop of cars like the 3 Series and the X5 then the cabin of the M850i won't be much of a revelation.

Still, its digital displays, dead-straight stitches, sparkly diamond-like switchgear and Merino leather finishing do well to complement the grand affair that is the rest of the car.

The cabin combines sumptous materials with modern features such as the two digital displays

While little of it is considered revolutionary, you will undoubtedly feel special just sitting inside, given the level of attention to detail paid throughout and just how good it all looks together.

All things considered, while this 8 Series may just be the Bavarian marque's second stab at the model, they've already gotten it right in almost every aspect.

Luxurious and comfortable, it shows plentiful signs of being an accomplished grand tourer, yet offers riotous performance and a surprising amount of agility for something this big.

Its 420-litre boot offers even more cargo-carrying abilities than some family hatchbacks

Like Metallica's S&M, it combines the best of two worlds and that results in something that's not just a nostalgic revival but most importantly, a product that's quite special.
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Car Information

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BMW M Series M850i Coupe 4.4 xDrive (A)
Rate it

Price

: $612,888

Engine Type

:

V8 Twin-Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

4395cc

Horsepower

:

390kW (523 bhp) / 6000 rpm

Torque

:

750 Nm / 4600 rpm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A) Steptronic

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

3.7sec

Top Speed

:

250km/h

Fuel consumption

:

9.6 km/L

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