REVIEW | The BMW M850i Gran Coupé - Does it have the hype that goes with the show?


• The BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupé comes in for review. 

• The stately sedan's design is brutish yet classy.

• The car is powered by a turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 engine.

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Regardless of the situation, the question is often asked if sedans are still relevant. Well, yes and no. No, because SUVs and crossovers have become the go-to vehicles. Yes, because nothing says sensible quite like it. But what to do when you want a sedan, but want to be different?

That's where BMW and its Gran Coupés come in. In this case, the M850i xDrive GC.

From the off, it's quite a machine to look at: imposing and ferocious, yet stylish and oozing luxury. And at R2 039 300, it does not come cheap.

BMW M850i xDrive Grand Coupe

2020 BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupé (Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond)

Designed for four

This car is not small in any way, especially when you factor in its weight of just over 2000kg. But the Gran Coupé was designed to transport four passengers in serene comfort, even if rear headroom is somewhat compromised for those touching the 2.0m-tall mark.

How so? The roof slopes downward and into the big rear window. If you are around the average height of 1.8m, you will be comfortable over any distance, but taller occupants might have to stretch their legs more often. And speaking of legroom: with a length of 5082mm, the M850i xDrive Gran Coupé has ample room for passengers both in the front and rear.

Adding to a sense of practicality, the GC has a luggage capacity of 440L - enough for a few suitcases and a set of golf clubs.

BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupe

2020 BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupé (Press Club / BMW SA)

A sense of opulence

The M850i makes use of BMW's newest multimedia system, which includes a fresh design for the dashboard with fewer buttons. A creamy, soft-touch leather covers the surfaces and is merged beautifully with black accents.

The center console houses a charging dock for your smartphone, and the gear lever has a beautiful crystal effect with the number '8' engraved into it. It adds a nice touch and enhances the cabin's overall feel.

While impressive, the car takes care of its four passengers with seats that are designed for extreme comfort. And those in the rear have not been forgotten. Between the two aft seats, passengers can operate the climate control for their comfort, without the need to rely on air from the front having to blow over them.

BMW also offers a vast list of optional extras prospective buyers can tick off on, but the standard list is extensive enough for one to be content with.

BMW M850i xDrive Grand Coupe

2020 BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupé (Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond)

Ooh, that ride quality

One of the smartest things BMW could have done was to fit the 8 Series with adaptive suspension as standard. With the press of a button, one can toggle between a variety of driving modes; each bringing something different and unique to the car's on-road dynamics. Given that the car rides on low profile 20-inch wheels, it makes sense for it to have suspension that can conjure the best possible ride quality at any given moment.

It works well with the turbocharged 4.4-litre engine, which makes putting all 390kW/750Nm down to the road is easy. In typical BMW fashion, the car drives well and, despite the all-wheel-drive system, it has a well-balanced feel to it. It is incredibly rewarding on a twisty road where everything comes together nicely for sheer driving pleasure - to quote BMW's slogan.

An eight-speed automatic gearbox channels power to all four wheels and performance figures are rated at 3.9 seconds for the 0-100km/h time and a top speed that is electronically limited to 250km/h.

Which would you choose: A sedan or a Gran Coupé? Email us with your opinion.

BMW M850i Grand Coupe

2020 BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupé (Press Club / BMW SA)

In summary

The M850i xDrive Gran Coupé is a wonderful car. In standard trim, it has plenty to offer, and the adaptive suspension is a significant attributer to its flair. Though pricey at just over R2.0-million, this is one of those four-seaters that will reward its occupants with the very best the automotive world has to offer.

And that engine is a real gem, too, purring along at under 2000rpm whilst traveling at 130km/h, and a tad over 1000rpm at 80km/h. Yet, there is always enough power in reserve when you need it. 

It might not be the sedan we're used to, but it is a niche car that will not disappoint.

BMW M850i Grand Coupe

2020 BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupé (Press Club / BMW SA)

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