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The BMW M850i Gran Auto is a anniversary of aggregate abundant about cars. Mostly.
The acknowledgment of BMW’s 8 Alternation should accept been apparent as account for anniversary – a boastful reimagining of the brief but fabulous ‘8’ brand that adorned a alternation of coupes in the 1990s. That E31-generation 8 Alternation charcoal an amount admitting its abbreviate shelf life, not atomic of all for the V12 agent awash into flagship 850 variants.
Now, though, and absorption alteration tastes, the avant-garde 8 Series, as able-bodied as alms a ambit of coupes, comes with four doors. Meet the 2020 BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupe, a V8-powered admirable tourer arising with bling, achievement and, for the best part, practicality.
It’s absolutely arresting visually: its long, low, avant-garde and glassy accommodation casting an arresting vision, and beard the actuality this is one of the better cars in the greater BMW range. And abundant bigger than the two-door auto it shares its belvedere and chromed badging with – 5082mm long, with a 3023mmm wheelbase, the Gran Auto is 231mm longer, 61mm taller and 30mm added than its two-door sibling. It is, in every respect, a big car.
And it comes with a big sticker price. How big? Try $272,900 additional on-road costs and afore options. That places the M850i Gran Auto in baby aggregation aback cross-shopping rivals. Its abutting rival, absolutely on price, comes from aural its own ranks, with the M750i allurement for an identical $272,900. But that added acceptable access to four-door architecture has boilerplate abreast the artery attendance of this long, avant-garde and low tourer.
There is Merc’s AMG GT four-door coupe, but the tip-in point is $256,600 and that ‘only’ gets you a 3.0-litre six cylinder. You’ll charge to carapace out $359,100 for AMG’s V8-powered four-door coupe. And Porsche’s Panamera commands a starting bulk of $367,100 for the best affordable V8 in the ambit afore topping out at $467,200 for the 4.0-litre turbo hybrid. Makes the Bimmer assume absolutely bargain in comparison.
Unusually for BMW, our analysis car came with alone basal options – brownish Frozen Bluestone acrylic at $2600, piano atramentous autogenous trim for $200, and the biggie, the $10,200 abounding Merino accoutrement autogenous trim in Ivory White/Night Blue. As tested? $285,900 additional on-roads.
Slide central the M850i and you’re anon met by that sea of Ivory leather. Yes, it looks a actor bucks (or at atomic $10,200), but admitting actuality analytic abutting to new, it was already starting to appearance signs of grubbiness. Sure, it’ll apple-pie off with a acceptable accoutrement conditioner, but really, do you appetite to be accomplishing that every few weeks aloof to accumulate your Ivory accoutrement attractive beginning as a merino?
The seats are low-slung and snug, absolutely clashing a sedan, and added affiliated to a sports car, which this fundamentally is. It’s ample up there, too, the M850i’s avant-garde attitude on the alley advice into the berth breadth amplitude is the adjustment of the day. Save yourself two-hundred bucks and opt out of the piano aback embellishments. They aloof get besmeared actual quickly.
Maybe they are there to booty absorption abroad from the clear accessory batten and rotary dialler that are aloof a bit, I dunno, tacky? Different tastes, I suppose.
The rotary dialler is one of the abounding and assorted means to ascribe commands into BMW’s infotainment system. It’s a circuitous system, too, BMW’s OS 7.0 operating system, anchored about a 10.25-inch touchscreen. There’s the accepted scattering of features: DAB radio, accessory navigation, Bluetooth connectivity as able-bodied as wireless Apple CarPlay; a affliction to affix the aboriginal time (it took 10 account aboriginal time around), but again seamless and burning already set up.
The clear affectation of the awning is as acceptable as any we’ve seen, and OS 7.0 is a admirable interface to attending at. But, the card anatomy can be appealing daunting, with submenus and sub-submenus. I feel it’s accomplished for a Dummies Guide (remember those)? Or maybe I’m the dummy.
Using articulation commands mitigates the charge to annal or bang or blow through submenus. Aback it works. Not consistently a given.
BMW has done abroad with its attractive signature alternation dials and replaced them with a 12.3-inch agenda apparatus affectation which, while attractive slick, isn’t the best applied affair going. The tacho needle, for instance, sweeps counter-clockwise. You get acclimated to it, of course, but it seems a aberrant affair to do for the account of design.
Similarly, the map bump nestled amid the two agenda dials offers no advice whatsoever, alone a arrangement of blah curve that may or may not be the breadth you’re travelling in. Perhaps it can be changed, but we haven’t begin that sub-sub-submenu yet. Luckily, the GPS affectation and mapping on the touchscreen are excellent.
There are affluence of animal comforts, as able-bodied as tech wizardry, to adore in the M850i. Those avant-garde seats are acrimonious and ventilated, although the closing is actual loud aback in use. How loud? It sounds like a Dyson exhaustion cleaner whirring abroad in the background.
Other accepted accessories highlights include: 20-inch M ablaze admixture auto accomplished in bicolour Cerium Grey, soft-close doors, a abounding colour head-up display, 16-speaker Harman/Kardon sound, keyless entry, push-button start, a two-pane across-the-board roof, ambient lighting, sun blinds for the rear windows, wireless charging for your smartphone and an electric boot.
The additional row isn’t the aftermost chat in spaciousness. Head allowance is abnormally impacted acknowledgment to that coupe-like roof line, while toe, knee and leg allowance are adequate. And realistically, there are alone two seats aback there, the rear centre animate that houses altitude controls, air vents and a brace of USB-C credibility bistro into the accessible space. To be fair, BMW does bazaar the Gran Auto as a 4 1-seater, and it is. That average pew is best aloof for emergencies only.
The acceptable account is those outboard seats are costly and adequate with affluence of support, added affiliated to sitting in brazier seats or a lounge armchair than the rear of a car. You can abound aback there in about comfort.
Those seatbacks don’t bend bottomward to chargeless up cossack space, however, acceptation the 440L BMW claims on the blueprint area is it. There is a ski port, though, for those best angular items. No additional tyre either, aloof a adjustment kit. And the appearance of the – electric – bootlid is such that the breach is on the attenuated side. This is not a car to lug big boxes in.
No, this is a car to annoyance your neighbours in. Fire up that stonking 4.4-litre (4395cc) twin-turbo V8 beneath the M850i’s bill and there’s little agnosticism that this is a achievement car. The complete at idle, a addled boom that you can feel in your heart, is annihilation abbreviate of august and speaks of an amaranthine abeyant to collection autobahn kilometres.
Shame we don’t accept any, then, because aback its abounding 390kW (at 6000rpm) and 750Nm (at a convenient 1800–4600rpm) is unleashed, you’ll be nudging actionable speeds in aloof 3.9 seconds.
The eight-speed auto chiral plays its allotment nicely, an orchestra of acid accouterment that accumulate the big Bimmer hurtling. Leave it in auto, and the accompanying accouterment beneath adamantine dispatch breeze you aback into your seat, all while that august and aureate V8 howls at the sky.
Switch to chiral mode, and use the concrete paddle-shifters to blueprint your own destiny, and the M850i will appropriately run out to redline, eliciting added growls from beneath the beanie and added smiles from the plonker abaft the wheel. Change apparatus and there’s artlessly an exhilarant applause – no ancestor and crackles here, this is authentic abundant metal – as the abutting accessory keeps the M850i surging along.
You run out of alley and acknowledged speeds afore too long, and the charge to be attentive with your licence blame in. Ease off the accelerator, cast it aback to auto approach and adore the serenity. Yeah right, there is no calmness with this thing. It’s authentic theatre. Loud theatre.
BMW claims the M850i will accomplish do with 10.7 litres of 98RON per 100km. We saw an adumbrated 16.8L/100km, but that’s partly bottomward to spending affluence of time in the burghal bullwork and affluence added time aloof admirable the bawl V8 beneath the beanie with some apathetic acceleration. Drive it like your grandpa, and you ability get abreast the 10.7L mark. You won’t be able to, though.
Perhaps the M850i’s best affair ambush is aloof how abundant anchor it has. That’s bottomward to BMW’s all-wheel xDrive accurateness that assignment abroad seamlessly to ensure the appropriate bend has the appropriate bulk of absorption at the appropriate time. There’s additionally BMW’s Active Roll Stabilisation Arrangement at play, which works to accumulate the abreast two-tonne luxo tourer flat, alike beneath adamantine cornering.
The council feel is exemplary, too. A compact and abounding acknowledgment that telegraphs what’s accident beneath caster on the road. It’s accurately responsive, too, reacting to alike accessory inputs with purpose and accuracy.
The ride errs on the close ancillary of comfort. In accustomed mode, there’s a plushness to the way the M850i tackles the burghal jungle. It’s firm-ish, but not to the point breadth you acquisition yourself regretting your best of car. Dial it up to Sport, however, and the adaptive dampers add some agitation and accurateness to proceedings. Firm? Yes. But uncomfortably harsh? Not really.
The better ache about the abeyance tune in any ambience is the ability for the big Bimmer to basal out over beyond obstacles, like acceleration humps and departure driveways, for instance. Tackle such an obstacle, alike at sedate speeds, and the M850i showed signs of porpoising, while the avant-garde splitter would scrape unceremoniously on the ground. To ensure it wasn’t aloof me experiencing this, I threw the keys to several added CA testers who all appear the aforementioned issue.
It boodle what is contrarily a appropriate acquaintance abaft the wheel. One that has been hewed from the stones of the grand-touring gods themselves. Certainly, the theatrics of its soundtrack affiliated to the blingy plushness of its autogenous and its audacious achievement numbers allege of a admirable tourer in the acceptable sense.
In agreement of safety, the BMW M850i Gran Auto has you covered with an all-encompassing arrangement of avant-garde tech. There’s no ANCAP score, as it hasn’t been crash-tested, but adaptive cruise ascendancy with stop/go function, free emergency braking with banal and cyclist detection, cross-traffic alert, both avant-garde and rear, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping abetment all appear standard.
There’s additionally an absorbing arrangement of camera angles: from rear-view, advanced view, and 360-degree view, the M850i’s cameras won’t leave you guessing. Additionally, BMW’s parking abettor can advice you, yes, esplanade the M850i, while the abandoning abetment remembers the aftermost 50m you collection and will get you out of a bound atom by replicating that exact route.
BMW covers the M850i with its accepted and angular three-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, while application is ‘condition based’, acceptation the car will let you apperceive aback a cruise to the branch is required. As for how much? The basal BMW Service Inclusive plan asks for $2094 for three years or $2849 for five, accoutrement all appointed fluids and filters. Ramp that up with the Service Inclusive Additional backpack and you’ll be attractive at $4215 for three years and $6315 for five, with anchor pads and rotors, and wiper blades, included.
The BMW M850i Gran Auto is actually a alcove car that will tug at the heartstrings of alone a few. It absolutely cuts a adventurous and alarming figure, its arduous calibration assertive anchorage and driveways like few cars can.
And in a avant-garde sea of homogenised SUVs, the actuality that a car like this exists at all is acumen to celebrate. Loud and aboveboard large, the M850i Gran Auto is a 18-carat admirable tourer with refinement, affluence and theatre arising from its actual core.
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