Is it best to think of the BMW M850i as a budget Bentley Conti GT?

8 Series, News | March 8th, 2019 by 31
BMW M850i Sunset Orange gallery 24 830x553

There seems to be a bit of confusion about the BMW M850i. Judging by a lot of reviews, there seems to be a large group of enthusiasts that are disappointed in the new M Performance 8er for not being as much a driver’s car as they hoped it’d be. Not schporty enough. However, that’s not the right way to look at the BMW M850i, and any non M 8 Series, to be honest. As Car and Driver rightly points out, the M850i is best looked at as a budget Bentley Continental GT.

While the BMW M850i is sporty, thanks to its 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8 and 523 horsepowers, it’s not exactly a scalpel. It’s still big, it’s still heavy and it’s still very luxurious. Much like the Bentley. The Big Brit has gobs of power, all of the torques and all-wheel drive, just like the M850i. When it comes to twisty bends, the Bentley is more than capable of being fun and agile, more so than its size and weight would suggest. Is it a proper driver’s car, a back-road weapon? No, it’s a very fast, sporty GT car; aimed at being luxurious, beautiful and speedy.

BMW M850i Sunset Orange gallery 05 830x553

Same goes for the BMW M850i. It’s the sporty GT car of the 8 Series range. While the lesser 8’s are just GT cars and the upcoming BMW M8 will be the proper driver’s car, the M850i rests nicely in the middle, splitting the difference between sports car and luxury car. Just like the big Bentley.

Now, maybe a lot of the confusion stems from the BMW badge itself. The blue and white Roundel represents performance and a motorsport heritage. So a lot of enthusiasts have come to expect driving dynamics and purity first, luxury second. Those expectations need to be abandoned when driving the BMW M850i.

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If you don’t think of it as a sports car and more of a sporty GT car, in the same vein as the Bentley Continental GT, it begins to make so much more sense. It’s not designed to have the steering feedback of an E30 M3, nor is it designed to tackle race tracks like an M2. It’s designed to be effortlessly fast, incredibly luxurious and, if the occasion arises, more than sporty enough to put a smile on your face. So don’t think of the BMW M850i as a cut-rate M car. Instead, think of it as a Bentley Continental GT at a $150,000 discount.

[Source: Car and Driver]

31 responses to “Is it best to think of the BMW M850i as a budget Bentley Conti GT?”

  1. pacho kardana says:

    Which one is better – rebadged VW or true BMW ? I choose the BMW because the true things are always better than the immitations. M850i individual is the car . The FAT Bentley looks like nothing special in live comparison with the elegant 8er.

    • Chuck Fickens says:

      Rebadged VW what though? Please take me to a VW showroom and point out this rebadged Continental to me.

      • maxnix says:

        We haven’t had the big bucks VW Phaeton here for over a decade. It was basically a steel bodied A8.

        • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5 says:

          It was such a failure VW built Bentleys in Germany just to fill the empty production lines in the Phaeton factory.

      • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5 says:

        Same platform as Panamera, which Porsche reportedly refuse to use for rumoured 928 replacement because it would compete with Continental.

    • Price Action Guru says:

      While it is true that the Bentley is a mix of VW and Audi parts with its interior and exterior dressed up with British elegance, it is still far more reliable than BMW.

      I own both a BMW and a Bentley and the BMW has cost me far more to repair and has more frequent and costly repairs than the Bentley.

      • maxnix says:

        Facts, please. As per my previous post above, tell us why and how quantitatively.

      • pacho kardana says:

        I own 2 BMWs 3 series and have friends with audis and the audis are more expensive to repair and not more reliable .

      • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5 says:

        BMW are on the top 10 of Consumer Reports & JD Power, the rebodied English Panamera is not built in sufficient quality to even make a representative sample wrt reliability. If BMW are not reliable, why are Toyota buying their Supra drivetrains from them?

  2. emulajavi says:

    It’s just a ‘more luxurious’ 2-door Coupe compared to the 4 Series 2-door coupe, just like the 6-Series was a more luxurious 2-door coupe compared to the 4 Series 2-door coupe; numbered higher than ‘7’ just to ‘justify’ the price increase.

    It’s also less ‘usable’ than a 4 Series 2-door Coupe, because despite being longer and wider, it’s space for rear passengers is smaller than on the 4 Series.

  3. NaBUru38 says:

    The M850i weighs almost 2 tons. How would anyone expect it to handle like a Lotus Elise?

    • maxnix says:

      It is over 2 tons, more like 2.2 tons.

      And it is a GT, not an autocross car.

    • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5 says:

      Motor Trend & Road & Track both were surprised @ the performance of the big coupe. BMW active electronics have been defying physics since the X5 M & X6 M.

  4. trollsbwild says:

    Bently is a nice looking car, but it drives horribly. Way too bloated. BMW does not get nickname the Ultimate Driving Machine for nothing.

    I have a 2015 Z4 3.5i. 57K with Dinan stage 1. When that goes, if I were lucky enough, would like to buy a Series 8 convertible. 530 HP, all wheel drive. Best of all worlds.

    • Price Action Guru says:

      Bentley’s drive well actually.
      They are not as precise as a BMW, but much better than much of the competition such as Lexus and Mercedes.

  5. CfAuto says:

    My personal opinion is that BMW should have make this car more sleeker. The concept 8 series front looks so much more appealing for the eye than the production version. There is also lots of thing happening in the back, it should be more cleaner. While the interior should also be luxury oriented and not only focus on the sporty side, even though its not meant to be luxury GT. But again this is their flagship model. Dont get me wrong, it looks great but could also be much better. But again, this is just my opinion.

    • Chuck Fickens says:

      Yeah, they should’ve kept and updated the 6 series coupe and gran coupe -and canned that bloody awful 6GT thing- and made the 8 a DB11 competitor.

      • CfAuto says:

        Exactly! I dont know why they ruined the 6 with that awful GT. Why will someone want to be seen in a car like that. The sad part is that its just a 5 series with ugly shape. I didnt know that it was possible to ruin that beatiful 5 series but somehow they managed.

    • maxnix says:

      It is not a Luxury GT? Is your other car a Wraith?

  6. Pevvex says:

    Bmw M850i is exacly what i wanted. It’s perfect mix of luxury and amazing GT. There is plenty of M cars including bad models and amazing models but all of them are sports cars.
    I don’t want sport car, I want luxury GT that’s why M850i is perfect.
    Same way my wife drives M550i instead of M5 and it was amazing choice. it’s still great V8 with 5 door comfort everyday driving without unessesery “sport car abilities”. It’s great upgrade for BMW line up.

  7. Price Action Guru says:

    As an owner of a Bentley and a BMW, I can assure you that discount comes with frustration.
    BMW is far less reliable than Bentley.

  8. B.Stokes says:

    I hated the way my M6 drove so I’m not a fan of big heavy sports cars. But the 650i just wasn’t enough. So if this drives somewhere in between those two it should be a great car.

    • maxnix says:

      The 650i I drove was nice and comfortable like the world’s greatest Thunderbird.

      I am staying away from M6 Performance for fear of no will power. I hate going over 2 tons unless it is a super luxury sedan.

  9. maxnix says:

    Absolutely! Why spend the money unless your ego needs the badge? Same for the marginally faster Aston Martin. The M8 will put it to pasture.

  10. cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5 says:

    Continental built on Panamera platform @ extortionate price. M850i closer to M5 & an actual competitive LeMans race car.

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