Having experienced the flagship sedan from BMW and a need to satisfy a craving for horsepower, it only made sense to turn the dial from 7 up to 8.
Choosing a car to fit our needs, taste and budget is sometimes a task we have trouble with. Since the average customer buys a car only every 7 years, we have to get reacquainted every time to see what’s new in the world of cars, how our needs and tastes have changed, and if the new car we are hunting for can meet our new found requirements. Most of the time we know what we want, but hitting the trifecta of needs, taste and budget is an issue we may have all faced at some point in time. We may love the look and capabilities of the car, but it’ll be out of the price range, or we love the price and the capabilities but the car just doesn’t meet our design tastes. Some settle and realize they can't get everything they want, but I’m a firm believer that everyone can find the perfect car if you look hard enough. This logic is the way we figured out that the M850i Gran Coupe (GC for short) was the perfect next car for my cousin.
We had a unique problem to solve
My cousin was in the market for a new car since the lease on his BMW 740i was coming to a close and this time he wanted something that was a little more……let’s say “enthusiastic” to drive than the Turbo 6 he currently had in the 740i. He wanted to keep 4 doors as a priority since he has a family of 5 and would like to take them places and help with the occasional errands and school runs he would eventually be tasked with. Importantly, this car would need to have a component of fun attached to it as his second car, a Honda Pilot, was tasked primarily as a people hauler and daily commuter. He wanted his primary car to be the cool luxury car you could “pull up” in and the Pilot to remain in the stable as the work horse. So, the hunt for he the cool car began.
The aspects he truly loved about his 740i was the comfort the car provided gliding down the road and the space it provided for the family in the back. Technology was also well incorporated, but the only let down was that the car leaned way more towards comfort and convenience than it did towards a connected driving experience and overall power. I’m not saying that it was totally numb and had no feedback, but you knew the priorities BMW was after when the 740i was put in production. It was all about luxury and comfort and less so a full-on sporty drive. The new car needed to attain these attributes of space, comfort and tech but also add in a healthy dose of sports car performance.
How we boiled down our choices down
One thing was clear: the next car needed a sprightly engine, so any base engine options would not do. We also needed to narrow our search to 4 door flagship sedans or large four door coupes, and it had to be German. We started the search and 6 cars came to mind: go for another BMW 7 series (specifically the M760i) or the new BMW M850i GC, turn to Audi and hope we could get our hands on a S8 or the Audi S7, and lastly look at the Mercedes and the AMG GT 4 Door or the Mercedes CLS 53 AMG. To wind the list down further, we looked at the prices and saw every flagship sedan was well over $150,000, so we cut those out. We wanted to stay as close to the $100,00 mark as possible, but we were willing to be flexible to negotiate the price down some more. After we narrowed the search, we looked at the AMG GT Coupe, the CLS 53, the S7 and the M850i. Now it really came down to design tastes and capabilities. The AMG GT was the most expensive on the list approaching close to $130k, but the CLS 53 was closer to the $100k price we hoped for. The reason we didn’t choose either of the Mercedes was simply aesthetic. The looks didn’t tickle my cousins fancy and while the AMG GT was a super capable machine, the CLS 53 slightly missed the mark on being a fun car to throw in the corners. Not to say it’s a bad car, but my cousin just didn’t lean towards Mercedes in the way most do. Now the contenders that remained were the S7 and the M850i GC. Right off the bat here, aesthetics played a huge part. The exterior of the M850i GC was more aggressive and the way the interior was setup and equipped drew in my cousin more than the S7 did. The combination of the red and black interior, the sheer noise and the pulling power of that Twin Turbo V8 was the icing on the proverbial cake.
The M850i Gran Coupe was the winner, unsurprisingly.
Putting aside the fact that BMW as a brand connected more with my cousin than the other cars, there was this overwhelming sense of “eureka”. When he sat in the car and launched it for the first time at a traffic light, he felt an immediate connection to the car, and for the entirety of the drive, him and the car were one. The type of power he experienced made him nostalgic of a car he used to own, but he told me point-blank this level of brutal acceleration was on another level. It reminded him of an Audi S5 he had for a few years and while that car was quick, doing a 4.5 second 0-60 time, this car could easily cover that range in sub-3 second numbers. Some reviews even posted numbers as quick as 3.5 seconds and given the right conditions, I feel we could easily replicate those figures. Needless to say, he was quickly reminded this is what spirited driving feels like. The car would provide so much linear acceleration that it felt like you were being sucked into a black hole. The 4.4 Liter Twin Turbo V8 cranks out 523 HP with 423 lb.-ft. of torque that would snap necks in launch mode. The car, being so heavy, felt surprisingly light and agile on its feet and with the rear based X-Drive all-wheel drive system the car felt planted and inspired confidence when cornering. This type of excitement was something you could expect out of a full blown “M” car. It was that good.
For him, having the 4 doors of the Gran Coupe meant there was space in the back to take the family in comfort, with ample space for people who were over six feet tall. The style was eye opening and literally made heads turns while ripping it down the road and the powerful connected drive ticked the last box off the checklist. Not to mention we were able to negotiate a deal that made the purchase that much sweeter. Adding in headlights, that are “freakin laser beams”, the full suite of driver’s assistance features with an updated iDrive system, along with the glorious 16 speaker 600W Bowers and Wilkins sound system, these were all details that came together to make this car the perfect car he imagined would be the successor to the 740i. It was a great combination of the sporty drive he liked about the Audi S5 he used to own and the convenience and space he had come to admire on his 740i. It was needless to say the that BMW 850i Gran coupe was a stellar fit and then some.