“2019 BMW M850i xDrive Convertible”
The Ultimate Drop-Top Bimmer
The iconic BMW 8-Series has returned following a 20-year hiatus. It launched initially with the all-new 2019 BMW M850i xDrive 2+2 Coupe – a quintessential GT, signifying a new chapter in the luxury sports coupe’s history of incredible performance, breathtaking design and the latest in technology. What could possibly be better than that? The answer is obvious, a fresh air version, with a retractable, self stowing soft top. Enter the stunningly gorgeous and highly desirable and ultimately proper GT – the BMW M850i xDrive Convertible.
As with the Coupe, the number ‘8’ in the model name indicates the highest-ranking status within BMW’s product portfolio. As with the BMW Z8 in the past and the current BMW i8, the ‘8’ is reserved for emotionally stirring, sporty cars of an exceedingly outstanding nature – the cream of the crop as it were.
The obvious focus of the all-new BMW 8 Series Convertible’s design was to provide an exceptional driving experience sans top. Objective achieved. The body, powertrain and suspension have all been tuned to provide the car with amazing agility, precision and poise.
Both the new 8-Series luxury sports coupe and convertible will be built at BMW’s Dingolfing plant in Germany, where BMW 7 Series sedan production takes place. The Coupe was the first key vehicle of the Munich-based brand’s luxury segment model plan.
ELEGANT YET SPORTY EXTERIOR STYLING
Sporting appeal takes on an emotional new face with the 8-Series Coupe’s modern exterior design that’s blended with an air of sensual exclusivity and allure, which is topped only by the BMW M850i xDrive Convertible. The production models deliver on the form suggested by the BMW Concept 8 Series unveiled at Italy’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in 2017.
The Convertible version of the 8-Series displays a low-slung, elongated silhouette featuring a streamlined silhouette with the top up or down. expressive wide track.
A sculpted overall design form with new signature headlights aids in the dramatic visualization and promise of the car’s outstanding performance capability, enhanced by the exaggerated and elaborate jutting design of the front end with its large, functional air intakes, for an even more imposing persona when equipped with the optional M Sport Package.
The kidney grill showcases increased proportions featuring a hexagonal outline that widens towards the bottom with a single-piece surround that encompasses it. The all-new 8 Series Coupe features standard Full LED headlights with BMW LaserLight technology similar to the slimmest headlights of any BMW model thus far.
The aft end of the convertible is composed of sculpted surfaces emphasizing the car’s tail width and low center of gravity. Slim all-LED rear light clusters extend deeply into the flanks adding to the effect. The taillights light uniformly in an ‘L’ shape, and twin exhaust tailpipes with a trapezoidal contour appear on either side of the rear lower section.
An almost fully covered underbody, active air flap control with adjustable kidney grille slats and Air Curtains including Air Breathers aid in aerodynamacism along with narrow exterior mirror bases, mounted directly on the side window weather strips.
FUNCTIONAL INTERIOR AMBIENCE
The cabin was designed to aid the driver in focusing on and enjoying the task at hand. The wide center console rises up towards the instrument panel at the front, separating the driver and front passenger areas. This center space houses the audio control unit and its operational buttons, the air conditioning control panel and air vents along with the freestanding and frameless Control Display.
Apart from the crystal gear selector and the iDrive Controller, the center console also accommodates the Driving Experience Control switch and the engine start/stop button, all arranged within a newly designed function cluster with active haptic feedback. The control unit for the light functions is new and consists of buttons placed at the bottom of the instrument panel between the steering wheel and the driver’s door. A leather M sports steering wheel with multifunction buttons and shift paddles for manual gear selection is standard.
The newly developed sports seats are crafted individually in Merino leather providing high levels of comfort and lateral support. Headrests are integrated into the backrests and may be adjusted for both height and fore/aft position. Decorative stitching in a contrasting color accentuates the sporting contours and a semi-electric folding function is included for front seat backrests, activated by a leather strap located on each seatback for convenient rear diminutive passenger entry and exit. The 8 Series convertible unusually has folding rear seats — but with the convertible top stowed, lowering the seat backs doesn’t offer much utility.
The rear-wheel steering helps to reduce the long BMW’s turning circle at low speeds with the rear wheels able to turn 2.5 degrees, maneuvering the 8 Series is a cinch. Couple that with plentiful active-safety systems at low speeds helps reduce the long BMW’s turning circle with the rear wheels able to turn 2.5 degrees.
There are also large door pockets, a roomy glove compartment, two cup-holders under the center console’s trim finisher and a large storage compartment under the armrest’s longitudinally divided covers for stowing travel accessories, beverages and other items. Automatic trunk lid operation is a standard feature, while the Comfort Access option permits hands-free opening and closing of the trunk lid.
The new BMW M850i xDrive Convertible contains exclusive design features and options that enhance the driving experience. In addition to multifunction seats and the M leather steering wheel, there’s M pedals, M driver’s footrest and special floor mats. The illuminated doorsills and the instrument cluster display feature the BMW M Performance Automobile model badge or the M logo respectively.
SERIOUS GET UP AND GO
Beneath the hood, a longitudinally front -mounted 4.4-liter BMW M Performance TwinPower turbo, DOHC, 32 valve V-8 engine with Double VANOS and Valvetronic and high-precision direct injection supplies the “Get-up-and-Go”, producing 523 horsepower in a range from 5,500-6,000 rpm. along with a whopping 553 lb.-ft of torque from 1,800 to 4,600 rpm. An eight-speed Steptronic Sport Automatic transmission with Sport and Manual shift modes, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters and Launch Control gear motive energy to the ground through BMW’s xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system with rear wheel bias and differential lock.
My test 2019 BMW M850i xDrive Convertible came with its exterior finished in Sonic Speed Blue metallic, the lined cloth convertible top and the interior were done in Black Extrended Merino leather with satin chrome trim accents. The base sticker was set at $121,400., while the final tally came to $126,395 after factoring in the Driving Assistance Package, Driver’s Assistance Pro Package and destination charge.
Incredible comes to mind in describing the performance capability of this sleek and highly desirable 8-Series Convertible. The big TwinPower turbo V-8 hurtles the more than two ton convertible’s mass from 0-60 mph in a scant 3.8 seconds with an electronically-limited top track speed of 155 mph. EPA mileage estimates are 17.0 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.
Prior to testing the new Convertible on my home turf for a week, I was able to experience the track prowess of the Coupe version in the rain at speed through standing water at Palm Springs’ Thermal Club’s South Course track. While conditions were less than favorable, the M850i’s performance was stellar. The car was not phased in the least by the severely inclement weather conditions. Acceleration was blistering, steering was spot on and the overall handling characteristics were extremely positive and beyond reproach with amazing stability – all while in total luxurious comfort. It obviously also does quite well in normal every day driving with all of its power at the ready. The same attributes hold true for the Convertible, but with the added attraction of open air motoring. Press the Sport button twice for Sport Plus to enjoy the heightened response and delicious V8 rumble with a crackling burble fo backpressure upon deceleration.
The powered multilayer fabric soft top does do an outstanding job of minimizing cabin wind and road noise, and is this model’s defining feature. It may be lowered or raised in only 15 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph. Top down wind buffeting may be reduced by a pop-up wind blocker that fits behind the rear seats. An optional $400 warm air feature comes from the front seat headrests for additional comfort on chilly days. The heated seats and steering wheel provide additional comfort.
OUR FINAL TAKE
The 2019 BMW M850i xDrive Convertible is a truly amazing automobile, representing the perfect GT persona. It’s worth every penny of its sticker price if you are fortunate enough to be able to afford it, and if you don’t need to carry two full sized adults in the back seat’s limited space.
It is not only possesses heart-stopping, alluring and elegant good looks, it’s incredibly comfortable and it’s unbelieveably quick as well, while generating smiles. Its pleasing engine and exhaust notes are enhanced by the standard flap-controlled sports exhaust system. The Driving Experience Control switch may be used to activate both extremely sporty and distinctly comfort-oriented powertrain settings. In the SPORT and SPORT+ modes, accelerator response as well as the V8 engine’s power delivery and acoustics – which take on a particularly distinctive note in the SPORT+ setting – are all configured for an exhilarating motoring experience.
The inventory of Safety and Connectivity technology features is extensive. If it’s not here, you probably can live happily ever after without it.
Bottom line, the 2019 BMW M850i xDrive Convertible provides a highly desirable alternative to the 850i Coupe, with a standard tanning advantage, and weighing in at only 258 pounds more than the Coupe, it costs only a mere $27.52 per pound.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2019 BMW M850i xDrive Convertible
Base Price: $121,400.
Price as Tested: $126,395
Engine Type and Size: 4.4-liter BMW M Performance TwinPower turbo DOHC, 32 valve V-8 with Double VANOS and Valvetronic and high-precision direct injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 523 @ 5,500-6,000 rpm Torque (ft./ lbs.): 553 @ 1,800-4,600 rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed Steptronic Sport Automatic with OD, Sport and Manual shift modes, steering wheel- mounted paddle shifters and Launch Control. EcoPro, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus and Sport Individual.
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system with rear wheel bias and differential lock.
Suspension: Adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled dampers.
Front – Double wishbone axle
Rear – Five-link axle
Brakes: Power-assisted M-Sport four-wheel vebted discs with ABS, DTC, DBC, CBC, Brake fade compensation and start off assist.
Tires: Michelin Pilot Super Sport High Performance Run Flat 245/35 ZR 20×8” 95Y XL front / 275/30 YR 20×9” 97Y XL rear mounted on 5-“Y”-spoke Black painted M alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 111.1 inches
Length Overall: 191.2 inches
Width: 74.9 inches
Height: 53.0 inches
Curb Weight: 4,736 lbs. (+ 278 over Cpe)
Turning Circle: 19.5 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 18.0 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 17.0 mpg city / 26 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.31
0 – 60 mph: 3.8 seconds – Top track speed 155 mph electronically limited.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.
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