The fire-breathing BMW 850i Coupe.
The fire-breathing BMW 850i Coupe.

New BMW coupe combines power, luxury and excitement

Proportions, presence and price. BMW's muscle car has it all.

Pleasant golf claps at swanky events welcomed the 850i into showrooms earlier this year but beneath this two-door's skin is pure nastiness. Bursting with muscle that comes courtesy of a lustful twin turbo V8, it has warp speed abilities.

Given the price nears $300,000 once on the road, you'd rightfully expect something special.

It's the first time we've seen an 8 Series Coupe in Australia since the 1990s.

Despite its brute-like characteristics, the 850i is an interesting blend of sports car, new technology and luxury.

While the sticker ensures the coupe remains exclusive territory, those with deep pockets who want a brilliant touring car with sporting attributes now have something new to consider alongside a Bentley, Maserati or Mercedes-Benz.

The fire-breathing BMW 850i Coupe.
The fire-breathing BMW 850i Coupe.

VALUE

High-end buyers don't typically like buying from the shelf. BMW offers a rage of tailored options, including different 20-inch alloys, six interior colours while there are also six tiers of paintwork. Some at no cost, others will put a further dent in the bank balance, like the 'metal silver' exterior hue for $10,400.

There are plenty of features which come complimentary, like the diamond style gear shifter, wireless phone charging, super slim headlights which can illuminate up to 500m on high beam, wireless Apple CarPlay, soft close doors, auto boot lid, merino leather trim, satnav with real time traffic updates, 12.3-inch instrument cluster along with a 10.25-inch display that is hooked up to a 16-speaker Harman/Kardon surround sound system.

Spend another $9000 and the convertible can be yours with a soft-top roof that opens or closes in 15 seconds.

To help reduce weight in the coupe it comes standard with a carbon roof (those who want it body-coloured can option a lightweight aluminium lid).

Servicing packages are available to cover maintenance for three or five years, expect it to be upward of $3000. Warranty coverage is three years and unlimited kilometres, which is standard by luxury standards but behind mainstream vehicles.

The fire-breathing BMW 850i Coupe.
The fire-breathing BMW 850i Coupe. Matt Hull

COMFORT

Sitting low, once aboard the 850i it is ultimate BMW refinement.

For those up front there is electric adjustment of the seats, while the pews also have a heating function as does the door armrests, console and steering wheel.

Gesture control is available, were you can turn up the volume by making circle motions in the air with your hands, take a phone call, hang up and a range of other operations - or you could just press the button. It's all at your fingertips, and really isn't an imposition, which makes the gesture controls more somthing to impress your friends.

Climb into the back and despite the leather-clad appearance it's second-class citizen accommodation despite being classed as a "two-plus-two” chariot. It's territory primarily for kids due to the seat-back positioning and limited leg and head room.

The driver has a slick high-res 12.3-inch customisable instrument cluster, while the large head-up display can project varied information onto the windscreen like a jet-fighter.

Operations can be difficult to master, and the functionality takes some time to get your head around simple things, like changing the radio station.

Owners can set up their smartphone to lock, unlock and start the car - access can also be approved for up to five users.

Many coupes struggle for good storage space, but the 850i silhouette encompasses a 420-litre boot that is long and can handle a couple of large suitcases. Rear seats also fold 50-50 to provide a useful load area.

The fire-breathing BMW 850i Coupe.
The fire-breathing BMW 850i Coupe. Matt Hull

SAFETY

There's no official rating from Australia's crash rating authority because the sales numbers will be so low, but the coupe does come with the latest technology.

All the givens are there, like autonomous braking to help avoid or lessen the impact of an accident, parking sensors, lane control to keep the Beemer between lines if the driver loses attention, radar cruise control, front and rear cross traffic alert as well as a surround view camera.

It's also equipped with a night view function which has pedestrian recognition.

The fire-breathing BMW 850i Coupe.
The fire-breathing BMW 850i Coupe. Matt Hull

DRIVING

Beating within the eye-catching skin is a 4.4-litre V8 twin turbocharged heart. Just the sound has an ability to quicken the occupant pulse.

Despite weighing just under two tonne, there is a monstrous amount of torque available from low in the rev range. Combined with power going to all corners, as well as four-wheel steering, the 850i has an ability to rip up the bitumen - in straight lines and when the going gets curvy.

Step on the right pedal at the lights and it will reach 100km/h in less than four seconds. That comes with a meaty soundtrack from the sports exhaust. It's not overtly loud or attention-grabbing, more refined that raucous.

Big 20-inch light alloy wheels and an M Sport brakes offer ample grip and stopping power.

It's fast, not insane. Those wanting something more raw can wait for the more powerful (460kW/750Nm) M Competition version (that can do 0-100km/h in 3.3 seconds).

The BMW 850i Coupe.
The BMW 850i Coupe. Matt Hull

ALTERNATIVES

LEXUS LC500 FROM $190,000

Spectacular looks and unusually emotive for Lexus. Powered by a 351kW/540Nm 5.0-litre V8 which is not as powerful or as quick as the BMW with a 0-100km/h sprint of 4.7 seconds, but a fair bit cheaper.

MERCEDES-BENZ S560 FROM $316,900

The S-Class epitomises quality in fit, finish and engineering. More luxury focused than the AMG version, it's powered by a turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 good for 345kW/700Nm which does the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.6 seconds.

VERDICT

Head-turning looks with performance to match. This is sporty grand touring at its best.

The fire-breathing BMW 850i Coupe.
The fire-breathing BMW 850i Coupe.

AT A GLANCE

BMW 850i COUPE

PRICE $272,900 plus on-roads (exclusive)

WARRANTY/SERVICING 3yrs/u'ltd km (average), $3500 for 3yrs (est; not cheap)

ENGINE 4.4-litre V8 turbo, 390kW/ 750Nm (fast)

SAFETY Not yet rated, 8 airbags, AEB, active cruise control, forward collision warning, lane keep assist (good)

THIRST 10.4L/100km (bit thirsty)

SPARE None, inflation kit (not good)

BOOT 420L (spacious, long not deep)



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