PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA – BMW’s 8-series was first launched in 1990 as the brand’s flagship grand tourer model, competing with the likes of Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupe, Porsche 911, and Jaguar XJS. It came with timeless styling that is distinct yet unmistakably BMW, an elongated silhouette, and a choice of V8 or V12 gas engines. Unlike the aforementioned companies that continued to evolve and build their luxury grand tourers, BMW stopped production of the 8-series in 1999 and deprived the world of its two-door high speed cruiser.
That is, until recently, when BMW announced they are reviving the familiar nameplate and introduced their all-new flagship within the brand’s high-performance portfolio, the BMW M850i xDrive. The all-new BMW 8-series will come in three forms; Coupé, Cabriolet, and the four-door Gran Coupé. Our team had the chance to road test the M850i xDrive Coupe (reviewed here) on home soil, and BMW invited us to their Performance Center in Thermal, California to get a preview of this 2019 BMW M850i Cabriolet xDrive.
The M850i xDrive Cabriolet shares its gorgeous looks with its coupé sibling; with chiseled bodylines, wide athletic stance, and 20″ wheels that remind onlookers of its high-performance capabilities. In top-down form, the extended hood and the highly raked windscreen give it tremendous appeal. The widened BMW signature kidney grille and slim LaserLight headlights make the M850i look focused and menacing. The M850i Cabriolet is no small roadster; its 4,856mm by 1,902mm size gives it a commanding presence on the road. The overall presentation exudes beauty and elegance and is a definitely one of the cars that makes you want to look at it over and over again.
The M850i Cabriolet shares its new 4.4L twin-turbocharged V8 engine with the Coupe. The engine features an all-new crankcase that’s made using a new aluminum alloy for better strength, and it also has a new damper on the crankshaft for better engine smoothness. With the help of two twin-scroll turbochargers, the M850i produces 523 horsepower between 5,500 and 6,000RPM, and a massive 553 lb-ft. of torque between 1,800 and 4,600RPM. Even though the M850i is equipped with the xDrive intelligent AWD system, in situations where all-wheel traction is not required, it delivers all of its power to the rear wheels for the full BMW sports car experience.
With such power figures, any pressure applied on the throttle will bring on instantaneous acceleration and momentum goes on with zero hesitation all the way up to the 6,500RPM redline. It will go from 0 to 100km/h in four seconds flat, 0.3 seconds slower than the Coupe, and all the way up to a limited top speed of 210km/h (250km/h optional). Power is sent through an eight-speed automatic transmission that is lightning fast to shift and drivers can choose to shift using the available glass crystal shift lever or the paddles on the steering wheel.
For any grand touring convertible, how it sounds is almost just as important as how it sprints. BMW has recognized this emphasis, so on top of the natural deep rumble of the V8, they have also equipped the M850i with a standard flap-controlled sports exhaust system. The outcome is an acoustic experience that is deserving of this flagship status. Especially when set in the “Sport+” setting, the glorious note it elicits makes the entire top down driving experience an absolute delight.
Anyone who is familiar the new line of BMW products will recognize the interior layout of the M850i Cabriolet, and that is a good thing as BMW controls are easy to use and the iDrive infotainment is excellent as always. BMW had also dressed the interior up a notch to reflect its top of line ranking, with full leather trim on the instrument panel and door shoulders, fine wood trim with Fineline Copper Effect or Gloss Ash Grain Grey Metallic, Merino Leather seating surfaces, and available Glass Crystal control elements.
The seats are comfortable for any long journeys you plan to take with the M850i xDrive Cabriolet. The optional Executive Package includes ventilated seats and an Air Collar to ensure its front passengers’ comfort in all temperature. Rear legroom is tight as expected, but there is decent seat support for short trips if you do get relegated to the back. The available Cognac Extended Merino Leather sampled here looks and feels rich, and vastly increases the M850i xDrive Cabriolet’s curb appeal. A Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system is available with three diamond tweeters and twelve illuminated speakers for a total output of 1,125 watts.
As part of BMW’s commitment to elevating safety technology in their vehicles, the M850i xDrive comes standard with Driving Assistant equipment which includes Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Detection, Front Collision Warning with Brake Intervention, Cross Traffic Warning (Rear), Rear Collision Prevention, and Speed Limit Info. The optional Driving Assistant Professional package comes with Steering and Lane Control Assistant, Lane Keeping Assistant with active side protection, and Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function. The 8-series Coupé and Cabriolet both come standard with the latest generation BMW Head-Up Display, which is 16% larger and projects driving information onto the windshield.
With summer right around the corner, the all-new 2019 BMW M850i Cabriolet is perfect for that road trip you have planned. For the first time in 20 years, buyers who are looking for the best luxury grand tourers once again have an option from BMW. This is going to be one of the hottest new summer cars for the elites and is the perfect sidekick to the sunshine and breeze, or to the movie premieres, or both.