19-years after the discontinuation of the E31 8-Series, BMW has revealed the launch of the G15 8-Series. While various models are in the works, including an M8, the first car to hit the US market is the 2019 BMW M850i.
The E31 8-Series featured a 840i and 850i, both 2-door coupes only. The 840i/Ci featured 4.0L and 4.4L V8's, while the 850i models were the king of the castle with 5.0L V12's on the 850i models and 5.4L V12's on the 850Ci's. After spending nearly $9 billion in 2019 money to develop the 8-series, BMW discontinued sales in North America in 1997 after only selling approx. 7,500.
The G15 8-Series will include both the 840i and 850i models, but BMW doesn't have any more V12's in its lineup unfortunately. The M850i will feature BMW's N63 engine, a 4.4L twin-turbocharged V8 which is also used in various other 50i models from 2008 to present.
The S63 engine, used in the F10 M5 and F06 M6, is likely the engine we will see in the 2020 M8.
BMW M850i Specs, Horsepower, 0-60mph, Price
M850i Engine: N63 - 4.4L twin-turbocharged V8
N63 Horsepower/Torque: 523hp / 553lb-ft. of torque
0-60mph: 3.6 seconds (Car and Driver tested it a 3.3 seconds, however)
Powertrain: All-Wheel Drive (xDrive)
Transmission: 8-speed dual clutch
Weight: 4,478 lbs.
Price: Starting around $111,900
M850i Power and Tuning Potential
The M850i numbers are pretty stout from the factory, with over 500 horsepower and torque. However, the engine is the same engine BMW has been using for more than 10 years on some of its other cars, such as the 550i GT and X-Series. Using an engine with a lengthy history has its benefits as BMW has been able to really hone in the reliability and performance of the N63.
The M850i uses the N63B44T3 version of the N63. The B44T3 version in the M850i received a handful of updates in 2018. The engine got a new ignition system and improved crank case and cylinder head thermal shielding to improve engine reliability. Additionally, the engine uses higher pressure (5000psi) fuel injectors, larger turbochargers, an improved intake manifold, and an upstream cooling radiator. These improvements are what allow the engine to produce 69hp and 70tq more than the previous version.
The best part of the tenured history of the N63: the DME has already been cracked and there are already a handful of tunes available out on the market. A German tuning company has already gotten their hands on an M850i and was able to achieve 661hp and 656lb-ft. of torque. Converted to horsepower at the wheels, this comes in at almost 600whp. Not bad!
Suspension & Handling
The M850i has some crazy cool technology, some of it pertaining to the suspension setup. The front suspension is a double-wishbone setup with a 5-link setup in the rear. The car also has rear wheel steering for tight turns and high-speed stability. Further, it has adaptive suspension which can be changed to various levels of stiffness, and variable-ratio steering. The sway bars are actually equipped with electric motors that apply torque to produce counter roll and keep the ride as flat as possible...I had the same "what?" reaction when I first learned this too.
The car is rather heavy, as expected, at 4,478lbs. but the suspension and handling is right in line with what you would anticipate from an M-Performance BMW. With all the technology built into the suspension, this car is built to terrorize your passengers on twisty roads.
Technology and Cool Features
2019 and automotive technology has become very advanced. At a near $112k base price, this car has a lot of tech that you won't see in other cars, as it should.
To start, the car can be locked, unlocked, and started all with your smartphone, instead of a normal key. The transmission is integrated with the GPS system to help predict gear changes. The GPS will notify the transmission when you are approaching intersections, turns, etc. which allows the transmission to shift accordingly.
The car is powered by all four wheels, however, the xDrive system controls the power distribution and only sends power to the rear wheels, unless it detects a lack of traction, at which point it will disperse power to the front wheels. Additionally, the car will alert you to change your driving line to prevent over or understeer during heaving braking and tight turns. Rear-wheel steering capabilities will also be automatically triggered to help prevent this.
Some other features are semi-autonomous driving, a wireless smartphone charging pad, ambient lighting features, and onboard WiFi.
In addition to all of that cool stuff, it also has the standard collision detection and driver assistance features that most new cars today have. Overall, this car is packed with some cool technology that we've only seen before by BMW's high-class brother, Rolls Royce.
M850i vs. M8 Comparison
While the BMW M8 has been announced, and has been seen hanging around the Nurburgring, it is not scheduled for launch until the end of Q3 or early Q4. This is likely the around the same time that the '8-Series Gran Coupe', a 4-door version of the 8-Series Coupe, will be launched.
We haven't received an official report of what engine the M8 will use, but we anticipate it to be the S63. The S63 is the engine used in the F10 M5 and F06 M6. It has been in production since 2010 and follows the same 4.4L V8 platform as the N63. The S63 utilizes pre-tuned turbochargers and a cross-engine exhaust manifold to get its performance jump over the N63. A new version of the S63, known as the S63B44T4, was released in the 2018 M5 and packs 617hp and 553lb-ft. of torque.
Our presumption is that the G15 M8 will use that same version of the S63, meaning the M8 will be putting down a cool 600hp+ from the factory. Compare that to the 523hp from the M850i. Additionally, the S63, like the N63, has been out on the market for years which means that aftermarket modifications will be extremely easy to implement. A handful of flash tuners are already on the market for the S63, so you can expect the 700whp mark to be hit pretty quickly on the M8 once customers get their hands on it.