Our first drive in a BMW M850i a couple of years ago had us questioning the need for the then incoming M8. Sure enough, we weren’t particularly taken with the full-fat M version of the 8er when we tried it a few months later, and when we got together Gran Coupe versions of each, it was the M850i that came out on top.
The M850i is still a hard sell at its near-£100,000 list price, with a healthy spec usually pushing that figure to around £110k. However, as with a lot of big luxury performance cars, some stonking discounts were possible. And now, a little further down the line, you can pick one up for under £50,000 - around half the RRP.
This one on Autotrader](https://www.autotrader.co.uk/car-details/202105112465754) is just £48,950, although it has clocked over 50,000 (to whoever managed that with a V8 luxobarge in the space of two years, we salute you). So instead, we’re taking a closer look at this First Edition which costs £57,990. It’s worth the extra, as it’s done a mere 15,000 miles. Too much engine? There’s also this 840i on Buy a Car for a few grand less that’s done just 2000 miles. What it lacks in displacement it makes up for in fun - the six-cylinder petrol version is the only rear-wheel dirve 8er.
Back to the M850i, you’re getting a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 producing 523bhp. 0-62mph takes just 3.7 seconds, which is surely more than enough for all but the most bonkers speed freaks. You also get a more conventional exhaust manifold than the M8, making for a rumblier, traditional V8 soundtrack.
Although the M850i doesn’t get the same fancy switchable xDrive system as the M8, the all-wheel drive setup here has a healthy rear-bias to it. BMW’s decision to fit steel springs on all models and forego air suspension even as an option is a curious one, putting the car in a bit of a no-mans land. It’s a little too soft and heavy to be a proper sports car, but not comfortable enough to be a great GT.
This becomes much more acceptable when you’re paying mid-level 4-series money on one, of course. For the same cash, you’re getting something bigger, far better looking and very well equipped.
Being a First Edition, you won’t be wanting for spec with this one - you even get a snazzy carbon fibre roof. It’s arguably in the best colour, too - Sakhir Orange.