BMW’s M850i xDrive Is Perfect for When the Road Is Long and the Pursuit Is Pleasure

Grand Touring is a rich man’s game and it’s played poorly. Cars like the Aston Martin DB11 and Bentley Continental GT serve a restrained purpose — namely looking beautiful and consuming large quantities of petrol. The likelihood of owners taking such ornate vehicles on extended drives is slim. Rather, their immense powertrains and sumptuous leather seats are utilized for occasional jaunts in and out of the city, where a critically acclaimed play or restaurant promise some cultural “awakening.”

Back on planet Earth, prospects for a comfortable, engaging two-door are scant. Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class Coupe is dauntingly large and lacks the finesse of a corner carver. Only Lexus’ LC500 combines extraordinary design with respectable athleticism. Still, the aspirational yet attainable GT niche is underdeveloped and begging for playmates.

BMW has been out of the grand touring game for some time. Following the retirement of the 8 Series in 1999, the German automaker revived its 6 Series moniker as a placeholder two-by-two coupe. The later four-door coupe introduced an element of visual flair, but the two-door was far from the sort of aspirational model BMW needed.

2019 BMW M850i xDrive

News of the 8 Series’ rebirth stirred some cautious optimism in enthusiasts’ hearts. The original car was truly special, after all, with sleek styling, V8 and V12 engines, and BMW’s characteristic “ultimate driving” dynamics. The successor looks promising too. Longer, sharper, and far more potent than the now-dormant 6 Series coupe, the 8 Series (in M-Sport guise) could give the GT segment new life.

The Barcelona Blue Metallic vision before us is a well-optioned case for BMW’s fortitude. Fetching from every angle, the M850i xDrive’s standout features include a set of striking LED headlights, sharp 20-inch wheels, and muscular rear haunches. This coupe has presence, yet doesn’t overwhelm its own aesthetic grace with angles and ridges. The exterior design is so successful, in fact, that we’ve already erased the underwhelming 6 Series coupe from our memory.

Inside, the 8 glistens with a crystal gear selector, metal mesh trim, Bowers and Wilkins speakers, and vivid digital displays. A duo-tone leather cabin affords the right amount of intrigue for a refined coupe. Though layout and material quality is shared with other BMW models, the 8 Series’ superior details are befitting a $112,000 halo product.

America’s only taste of the 8 Series (thus far) is a twin-turbo V8 delight. The 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque are sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. With sufficient thrust to leave the Lexus’ LC (and most other road cars) for dead, the M850i snaps through its gears without a hint of drama. Road and wind noise within the cabin is minimal, letting us appreciate the burbles and pops of overrun in Sport Plus driving mode.

Aided by a sophisticated rear wheel steering system and robust brakes, the 8 Series slips through curves and scrubs speed with nimbleness incongruous to its 4,500-pound mass. At moseying speeds, the adaptive suspension softens ride quality to fulfill the other requirement of a GT: comfort. The 8 Series’ letterbox visibility through narrow windows does create a few blind spots, but a complete suite of driver assistance features restores driver confidence.

There’s a just-right feel to the 8 Series that not only helps define BMW’s “performance lite” M-Sport brand but also renews the GT segment for driving enthusiasts. Leave the pomp for the Brits; this German has purpose.

Travel

The View of an American Road Trip from the Back of a Motorcycle

One day while heading to my favorite peak, an idea formed: "What if I could tour the Rocky Mountains of the West on the motorcycle of my dreams?"
Travel

Newfoundland Road Trip Itinerary: Where to Visit, Eat, and Stay on the Canadian Island

One of Canada’s most remote provinces is also one of the most spectacular places to visit within the massive country.
Food & Drink

NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Davis Is Behind Defy, a CBD-Infused Sports Drink

Everyone seems to be getting in on the CBD game these days. One of the latest? NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Davis, who created Defy.
Auto

The Recently Revealed McLaren GT is a Road Trip-Ready Supercar

This is the first-ever McLaren built exclusively for the road and not the racetrack.
Travel

Road Trip! DriveShare is the Airbnb of Vintage, Exotic, and Collectible Cars

DriveShare’s goal is simple: connect owners of the world’s most sought-after cars with prospective non-owners who would very much like to drive said cars.
Auto

The HoverSurf Hoverbike Is a Real-Life, Star Wars-Esque Speeder Bike

If you've ever wanted to fly around your local park terrorizing neighborhood soccer moms, your time has come thanks to the Hoversurf Hoverbike.
Auto

Take Shelter Wherever You Roam With Rhino Rack’s Batwing Awning

Hiding in your tent every time you want a reprieve from the sun, wind, or rain while camping can get old quick, which is why retractable awnings have become popular.
Travel

This Camper Wants to Be Whatever Type of Travel Trailer You Need It to Be

SylvanSport's Vast is possibly the most versatile and configurable travel trailer ever.
Travel

Futuristic Polydrop Travel Trailer Looks Straight Out of Blade Runner

The haphazard angular design is sure to polarize even the most future-forward road-tripper.
Auto

5 of the Coolest Boats, Yachts, and Subs

If you've ever dreamed of exploring the deep blue sea, why not add a super luxurious yacht or personal sub to that daydream?
Auto

This Luxury Yacht Comes With an Amphibious Car, Hovercraft, and Jet Ski

Bored of sunbathing? Try the 14 water toys included on this superyacht.
Auto

Ride Out the Apocalypse with the Ariel Nomad Tactical Buggy

With hypercar acceleration and a rally-inspired suspension, the Nomad Tactical can take you anywhere — fast.
Auto

The Trek Aerospace FK2 Is the Flying Go-Kart You Didn’t Know You Wanted

With the ability to take off vertically from a dead stop, it's like an ejector seat for daily life.
Auto

How to Live Comfortably Out of Your Car for a Few Weeks

Here’s everything you’ll need to stay safe, sane, and happy when you choose to live out of your car.