2019 BMW M850i xDrive First Test: Right the Second Time? – MotorTrend

A look back at the original BMW 8 Series should make you appreciate the new one even more. Unveiled almost three decades ago, the first-gen 850i enamored us with gorgeous styling, impressive tech, and tanklike solidity at triple-digit speeds. And its big V-12 and six-speed manual gearbox? Very enticing. But overall the 850i failed “to elicit much in the way of a visceral reaction,” we noted. “Handsome but unfulfilling.”

The hard, cold numbers confirmed our feelings. It needed 6.7 seconds to reach 60 mph and 15.1 seconds to reach a quarter mile, trailing cheaper sports cars including a savage slew of Japanese imports like the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 and Nissan 300ZX Turbo. BMW’s M division eventually worked its magic with the quicker and more exciting 850CSi, but it came years later and was relatively rare.

So with that in mind, is the second-gen 8 another lethargic luxobarge like its predecessor? Absolutely not. And it didn’t take us long to reach that answer—just 3.5 seconds to be exact. That’s how quickly the M850i xDrive rocketed to 60 mph in our testing before crossing the quarter mile in 11.9 seconds at 116 mph. Impressive numbers considering its 4,365-pound curb weight.

To make its big car go fast, BMW has stuffed a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 under the hood, good for 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. That’s hooked up to an eight-speed auto and xDrive system that divvies power to both rear and front wheels, resulting in explosive acceleration off the line with little to no wheelspin. Consistent, too, thanks to its launch control system, which is easy to activate.

Things got interesting on the figure-eight course, where we discovered that it’s quite easy to get the rear end loose—it may have all-wheel drive, but the system definitely favors the back wheels. The M850’s 24-second lap is good for a car of this size, but road test editor Chris Walton said it didn’t come easy.

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