Personally, I feel like I’m on a bit of a mission to set the record straight about the BMW M850i. Almost every review about the 8er I read seems to criticize its lack of steering feel, purity or communication. It’s all hogwash, though, because the 8 Series isn’t designed to be a scalpel sharp driver’s car. It’s a sporty GT car, designed to be comfortable, luxurious, fast and, when the mood strikes, fun. Yet, there are few reviews that get that notion right. The most recent episode of The Grand Tour is one of them.
In the latest episode from The Grand Tour, they take, well, a grand tour from the western coast of Georgia (the country) on the Black Sea to the eastern coast of Azerbaijan on the Caspien Sea. On this trip, they each take an expensive, fast GT car and the BMW M850i is among them.
As a longtime Aston fan, Jeremy Clarkson takes the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, while Richard Hammond takes the Bentley Continental GT and the ever-so-pragmatic James May takes the BMW M850i.
While Clarkson and Hammond make fun of the 8er for looking like a Toyota and having a boring interior, May ends up falling in love with it over the course of the trip. Despite costing nearly half of what the other two cars cost, the BMW M850i never failed to do anything the others could. In fact, it was faster in a straight line than the Bentley in a drag race. It was faster than the Aston, too, as the race was in the wet and the rear-drive Aston couldn’t hook its tires up to save its life. Though, that is an advantage of the 8er over the Aston — it’s fast in any weather, not just in perfect conditions.
This episode, though, shows off just how good the 8er is as a proper GT car. It’s not designed to be a precision machine, that’s what the upcoming M8 is for. However, during their massive road trip, the M850i was comfortable, good looking, fast and fun and proved to be an excellent touring companion. Which is exactly what it’s for.