The M850i xDrive, which taps the resources of BMW’s M-Performance division, will sit beneath the M8 in the grand tourer’s hierarchy. International media has already had its first taste of the 390kW/750Nm “regular” 8 Series range-topper, with the accompanying press material exposing some of the secrets of its depth and breadth of ability for the first time.
“[The M850i] is as close as we’ve ever got to a full M car with an M Performance model,” 8 Series line director Markus Flasch told Autocar.
BMW is planning to reveal the 8 Series in June, before it goes on sale later this year, with the M850i being the first model offered.
Powering the M850i-badged version of the 8 Series is a development of the ‘old’ 4.4-litre V8, but with plenty of new work done – BMW’s engineers have lifted performance to 390kW and 750Nm.
For context, the M5 produces 441kW and 750Nm from its twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 and until the arrival of the M8 will stand as the most potent M car available – expect the M8 to trump those figures, along with usurping the M5’s claimed 3.4-second 0-100km/h time.
BMW says the M850i is both a sports car and a grand tourer, and stressed to British media it is most definitely not simply a 7 Series coupe. It will use a similar multilink rear suspension to the 5 Series, and will ride on coils, not air springs.
BMW also confirmed the 8 Series is shorter than the outgoing 6 Series, both in terms of overall length and wheelbase, but is slightly wider.
Other tech additions now confirmed include adaptive dampers, rear-wheel steering, an electronically controlled limited-slip rear axle differential, an all-wheel drive system that can redistribute power between the front and rear wheels, and optional active anti-roll bars.
BMW is believed to be saving the 8 Series for a global debut at June’s 24 Hours of Le Mans WEC endurance race.