BMW M850i beats a first-gen Audi R8 V10 Plus in performance testing

BMW’s big bruiser is stunningly quick in a straightline

BMW M850i Performance Testing

The BMW M850i is surprisingly fast. It shouldn’t be surprising, as there’s a potent 390kW/750Nm 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 under the bonnet, massive numbers for a car that isn’t a dedicated ‘M’ model.

Add in an eight-speed automatic and foolproof all-wheel drive system and the result is a claimed 0-100km/h of 3.7sec, but we suspect few have clocked the fact that BMW’s current flagship coupe (until the M8 arrives) boasts of such savage acceleration.

BMW M 850 I Engine Jpg

Line up at Heathcote Park dragstrip, slowly bringing the revs up against the torque converter, release the brakes and the M850i reels off pass after pass precisely matching its 3.7sec claim. Impressive, but there’s more to come.

The M850i has a rudimentary launch control system. Once the powertrain is up to temperature, disengage stability control, move the Swarovski crystal gear lever to S, squeeze the brakes with your left foot and floor the accelerator with your right.

Revs rise to around 2800rpm, slightly more than can be achieved manually, and this makes the difference, the M850i rocketing off the line – aided by extremely short initial gearing – to hit 100km/h in 3.63sec.

BMW M 850 I Gear Selector Jpg

It passes 160km/h in 7.90sec and the quarter mile in 11.68sec at 194.24km/h before breaching 200km/h in 12.45sec. Overtaking from 80-120km/h in Drive takes just 2.2sec. Remember, this isn’t the full-fat M8, but the ‘regular’ M Performance model.

Those numbers better the figures we achieved in the first-gen Audi R8 V10 Plus (3.82sec 0-100km/h; 11.71sec 0-400m), though the supercar gets to 200km/h quicker.

Regardless, it’s a remarkable result for a four-seat grand tourer which weighs nearly two tonnes with fuel and driver on board.

Check out the October issue of MOTOR for a comparison between the BMW M850i, the Jaguar F-Type SVR and the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 S.


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