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The 8…M850i Xdrive – Launch Drive


The 8…M850i Xdrive – Launch Drive

Where do I start…….Since the concept I was intrigued by the 8 series coupe and cabriolet, it was something that looked different progressively from BMW. It reminded of the famous 6 series coupe, an ultimate status vehicle in any lingo, the grunt , looks and that rear sliding window in cabriolet was just pure masterclass.

The 8 As I affectionate call it, looks are vital in this very select segment, The 8 comes packing BMW new approach(new design grille) , the bolder ,wider and bigger, in my launch car it was blacked out with a coloured M logo, and a carbon package kit to boot . The front lower bumper boasts some striking lines, housing intakes and front Centre mesh that is also home to adaptive cruise control unit. The side vents have some decent carbon finishes, which adds lovely detail. The headlight s blend very well from the front bumber to the side panel , an entirely new look that works so beautifully, these are now available in standard LED or optional laser beams that extend up 500m of light. The side panel and bonnet have some neat yet prominent lines that one can’t miss. All units at launch rolled on 20” alloys , the door is pillarless and lower fender is curved outwards for presence, the hipped rear fender is notable as you drive cause it stands out from the side view mirror. The roof is made from carbon and has a sunken centre for better aerodynamics (Double bubble) and weight saving, the rear is just art overload, the boot blends from that bold side fender, this is another aero creativity feat for better airflow at speed, the rear bumper has bold slits to let air through from the rear wheel wells, lower bumper houses huge trapezoidal black tail pieces , these had carbon surrounds in our launch unit, the carbon extended to the centre diffuser as well.

The Interior oozes opulence, luxury  parallel to none, from the sporty yet comfortable power seats, to the new designed dash and lovely cluster with head on dials . The centre console is a thing of beauty, the co-ordination of the buttons and flow design is just pure magnificence. The gear lever is the main attraction in my view, diamond crystal piece with a blue illuminated figure number 8 smack dab in the middle . I kept shining it as if I should not touch it, it’s that BEAUTIFUL. The sunroof  fans will have  opt for the cabriolet when it is available later as the roof is made from carbon, so no incoming light, not that it would matter as the interior is a place you do not want to leave in this car. Rear passenger space and seating is decent so long as the front occupants are reasonable enough to allow more leg room for rear occupants. It can load 4 people thus making it practical.

The drive comes from the pure breed 4.4L V8 with twin turbo charging, producing an impressive 390kw and a mammoth 750nm of torque, this is mated to an even more responsive 8 speed steptronic  gearbox and this is transferred to BMW’s X-Drive with most of the power going to the rear wheels, with 4 drive modes one is never left unpleased or lacking and any form of entertainment, sports plus is the one I drove in most of the launch route , this opens up the lovely exhaust tone(flap controlled system) , sharpens the throttle, stiffens the suspension (Adaptive M Suspension), sharpens the steering(Integral active steering) and just gives you sheer adrenalin rushing stuff. Did I mention that traction is partially off in this mode. How the M850i  sounds and delivers the power is nothing short of epic , its immense acceleration  matched with a nature being light on its feet, it does not feel big even though in the back of your mind you are well aware that it is a big car. It catapults from stand still to 100 km/h in 3.7secs and will deal with its 250km/h top speed in shorter distance than your mind can comprehend. It Is tough to seriously accept how the 8 covers ground, while on the subject of performance, the brakes are super good, and they work very time, no fade, no sponge effect, they just bite and bring you to a halt every time. Handling is great with little to minor bodyroll, which is expected as this is a Gran Tourer(Sports Luxury), it does feel floaty at speed but not to the point where you feel unsafe.

Luxury and features would take me another page of writing this review, a handful of options are on the additions lists as most come standard, at R1.872. 900 with the standard BMW 5year 100 000 Motorplan it makes sound sense if you are in the market for something with great looks, superb performance and an insane road presence . It gets my NOD no doubt , heck I want one!!!! For wind in your hair type of vibe , wait for the Cabriolet which arrives later in the ¾ of this year. Oh a hardcore M8 is also on its way!


Thanks to BMW SA, Edward, Lesego, Lerato and the whole for a great time hosting us at the launch.

Yours in Motoring

Wezile Lorenzio Bonani

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