On the road, there’s nothing quite like a BMW. No matter who you ask, they will tell you that BMWs are one of the best handling cars in the world. As for this, the 2019 BMW M850i Convertible, it’s no exception. With 523hp and 553lb-ft of torque, this monster is sure to thrill those who are capable of taming the power.
Killing off the 6-series, the 8-series is all-new with beautifully sculpted surfaces that screams elegance. The hood is long, low and sleek with sharp creases that tells you there’s something special underneath. Curving over the angular front Laser headlamps that flank the cooperate grill, the entire front-end yells get out of my way. From the side, the M850i is sort of bland. The only thing that sticks out is the grill on the front fenders directly behind the wheel, but the rest is quite subdued. It’s not until you get to the back where the designers got a bit more time to fiddle with the rear LED taillights and the lovely diffuser on the bottom.
Moving on to the inside and we find the usual suite of leather and soft-touch plastics one come to expect from BMW. While the interior certainly is beautiful, it lacks that extra level of pizzazz. Let’s start with the gauges. As it’s 2019, they are digital with an easy to read. Sadly unlike other German rivals, they are not as configurable. You can change smaller items to see what’s on the radio, a map, and even economy figures, but unlike Audi’s virtual cockpit, it’s nowhere near as customizable as some may want. Off to the middle of the vehicle is where we find a widescreen infotainment system. This is where BMW gains back some ground. While the convertible doesn’t have gesture control, it does still have a full touch screen display that works flawlessly. The only thing is those with and Android devices are not able to utilize Android Auto, and if you’re wanting to use Apple CarPlay, prepare for a subscription fee. But not all is bad, as said the unit is straightforward to use and the screen is bright enough for even bright sunny days with the top down.
Like most BMWs, I do like the dedicated climate control. Made better in the M850 is a small digital screen in between the front vents that show the current temperature settings and more. Overall the electronics within the cabin are easy to use. There are plenty of settings, but it’s all logically laid out where, in a few days of ownership, everything should fall right in hand.
Passengers in the 8-series are treated with soft creamy leather seating surfaces that are heated, cooled, and bucked to keep you steadily in their seats. For those colder winter months, you can still drive with the top down thanks to an air scarf system that gently blows hot air on to the back of the occupants’ necks. What’s even more extra are the heated surfaces, typically heated seats and steering wheel is the norm, but on the 8-series you also get heated armrests because when you drive around in an 8-series, you get nothing but the best. Unless you’re sitting in the back that is, the convertible top does squeeze the rear occupants together, so the rear seats are tight. Luckily what’s neat is you can fold the rear seats down, and there’s a decent size pass-thru for those rare Home Depot trips.
Now, as said right at the beginning, all BMWs are handling machines, and this is no exception. The talented engineers added rear-wheel steering to the 8-series to help the car feel smaller than it actually is. By turning with or against the front wheels, it can reduce the length of the turning radius and increases stability on the highway. This wizardly, combined with Einstein levels of suspension tuning, means this car is a blast to drive. Yes, it has 523 hp, but power is nothing without control, and in this, there’s plenty of mechanical grip to make you smile from ear to ear.
When it’s done tearing your face off in the corners, it’ll stretch it all back during heavy acceleration. Even with 4478lbs, this convertible can hit 60 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds. Stomp on the brakes and the massive calipers brings to beast to a halt in 161 ft from 70 mph. All while delivering an amazing soundtrack thanks to the opened valued exhaust when in Sport Plus mode. That said, when it’s all said and done, press the comfort mode, and the top up the m850’s well-insulated cabin makes short work of making you feel in an isolated cocoon. Away from others and their noise, this performance car can still be a true luxury vehicle.
Overall the M850 is a great successor to the 6-series, just like 20 years ago when the 1st 8-series was introduced this beast of a car is optimized for all sorts of conditions. That is, if you can afford one, the base price of the convertible is $131,500. With all the bells and whistles within this demo, it comes to a neat $143,200. While that may sound like a lot, comparing to similar vehicles like Aston and Porsche, it’s one hell of a bargain.