Why Wait for for the M8? The M850i xDrive Convertible Is Already Here
M850i Convertible has the right combination of power, sound, and luxury that makes waiting for the M8 much easier.
This is a big year for fans of BMW’s modern classics from the 1990s. Not only is the 8 Series back for 2019, it’s also available as a factory-built convertible for the first time. The good news doesn’t stop there. BMW recently released the official specs for the 2020 M8 coupe and convertible models, which go into production this July. In standard form, they’ll offer 600 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque, as well as an array of other M performance features; in Competition tune, they’ll pump out the same amount of torque and 617 horsepower.
But what if you just have to have a new 8 Series drop top and can’t wait for the full-on M version? According to CarBuzz‘s Jared Rosenholtz, you don’t have to. The 2019 M850i xDrive Convertible is that good.
Rosenholtz found that out for himself at “Topless in Miami,” a media event in Miami Beach, Florida where he was able to sample a variety of open-top and panoramic-roof cars. The M850i may not have the same sky-high output as the M8, but its numbers are nothing to scoff at. Its twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 generates 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque, then routes that through an eight-speed automatic and all four wheels (hence the xDrive in its long proper name).
There are other perks to the M850i’s N63 V8. One of them is obvious, especially in a roofless car: its roar, which Rosenholtz describes as “not as obnoxious as [what you’d hear from] an AMG car.” The other benefit is “monstrous” acceleration. Sixty mph arrives in as little as 3.8 seconds – not bad for a flagship cabriolet that tips the scales at 4,736 pounds. However, there’s a time and especially a place for a car of the M850’s size. It’s not something you can point and squirt at winding back roads. Wide-open spaces seem to be its natural environment.
Unlike the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet, the M850i Convertible’s interior has a pronounced sportiness to it. The rim of its steering wheel is thick like an M car’s. In fact, Rosenholtz likens it to the wheel in an E90 M3. “The steering is pretty light, but it feels more direct than you’ll get in … an S-Class Coupe.” The M850i’s cabin still has its share of available luxury materials, though; Rosenholtz’s test car is outfitted with glass switchgear and a crystal shift knob.
If you don’t want to wait for the M8, you don’t have to. Clearly, there are plenty of incentives not to. However, instant gratification comes at a price. Getting your open-air 8 Series fix with the 2019 M850i xDrive Convertible will cost you at least $121,400.