The BMW 8 Series was a car of huge significance for the German titan. It represented a vast step up for its coupe game, the mildly opulent 6 Series became a full bodied GT car – well I thought so anyway. BMW are adamant, stubborn, nigh on hellbent on insisting that the 1955 kilogram, 4.8 meter long hunk is a ‘sports car’. In my mind, you say sports car and a 911 pops into my head, not the 992, but that is a story for another time.
The M850i Coupe is the only 8 Series I had driven until I landed in sun soaked Faro, Portugal – the other option being an 840d that many claim suits the cars character far better than the V8. BMW had lobbed the top off the coupe and I was here to put the M850i Cabriolet through its paces.
BMW M850i Cabriolet Exterior
In my mind I was pleased that I would have the opportunity to drive the 8 Series as a Cabriolet, not because I like the wind passing over my balding scalp, but because I imagined it would feel even more like a GT and not a sports car.
So what are the headlines? Very similar to the coupe – there’s the same new 4.4-litre, twin turbocharged V8 pumping out 523bhp. As the name suggests, the M850i xDrive is all-wheel drive, so it will fire you from 0-100km/h in 3.7sec, identical to the coupe despite weighing 125kg more.
Sounds sporty enough? What are you moaning about? On paper, yes – it is very sporty. Start it and you still get the same vibes courtesy of some V8 roar and artificial yet amusing pops. It has certain sporting elements, but they do not come together to make this something you want to fling around a mountain pass or even a wide racetrack. The sheer size and weight juxtapose the sport touches by making you feel a little nervous that, in Cabriolet form, the 2,105 kilogram mass will not make a corner or stop where you would like it to. Don’t get me wrong, it will, but it does not feel like that is what it was built to do.
It contradicts itself and removing the roof only makes you want to cruise instead of attack a pretty sweeping road. So I found myself in Faro driving roads I had previously enjoyed in an M2 Competition just cruising and topping up my brown boy tan instead of attacking apexes and chasing the redline as I had done previously.
BMW M850i Cabriolet Interior and Details
For such a purpose it is fabulous. The V8 burbles away, the steering (void of almost any feedback) is light and the whole experience is very soothing, sedate – peaceful. They you find the spec and price list and things are not so peaceful anymore. It is a very expensive piece of kit – the M850i Cabriolet starts at £107,045 before you start adding options such as the Bowers & Wilkins HiFi that you will want and special paint options that make the sensual lines of the 8 Series look their best.
One thing you get as standard is the the roof that retracts elegantly in just 15 seconds whilst driving up to 50 km/h. The roof is also well put together, BMW claims that the Cabrio is just 2% less stiff than the Coupe, a the weight increase being a fair price to pay.
It all comes together to make the M850i Cabriolet something that is indeed special as it feels like a premium product the cossets and makes you feel comfortable cruising whilst basking in the suns warmth.
I maintain that it is a fantastic cruiser and not a sports car. It is premium, but cannot be likened to a Bentley Continental GT C or Aston Martin DB11 Volante. Those cars warrant such price tags as they are super GT cars that sit in different leagues to the 8 Series Cabriolet. I imagine the M8 and its variants to be the bonafide sports cars that will wear an even more inflated price tag, and for good reasons. Until then, the M850i Cabriolet is there to be enjoyed as a Cabriolet to saunter to the coast or a nice dinner in.