FIRST DRIVE | 2018 BMW M850i

The company is promising a 0-100km/h time of 3.7 seconds, which is impressive given that the whole package weighs in at just under two tons. That’s with a whole load of carbon fibre included to reduce the weight.

Like the original, there’s plenty of brawn about the new 8. Obviously there’s the V8 lump under the bonnet, but there’s a level of presence about the styling too, although that varies depending on specification. There’s an active exhaust to make some noise and large rear tyres to get the power to the tarmac, although not run-flats because these are not as comfortable for a car that is both sports car and GT.

Testing the GT bit was relatively easy. It was a Saturday morning and the roads were full of tourists and cyclists. We had little chance to put test to any claims here, although the occasional piece of twisty tarmac did allow us to experience the active rear-wheel steering.

It’s basically the same system as on the 7 Series, allowing for up to three degrees of turn with the direction depending on your speed. It works very well on the tighter corners, making a car measuring in at 4,851mm feel a fair bit smaller. It was comfortable too, with a great driving position and the kind of equipment you expect. GT box ticked.

Talking of equipment, it gets the new BMW Connected Drive system including over the air updates and a 10.25-inch touchscreen with displays that you can personalise to show the information you really need.

It’s joined by a fully digital instrument cluster too. The display is a bit too 1980s arcade game. Maybe it’s just something different in a BMW. I’ll reserve judgement for now.

I’ll also reserve judgement on the optional glass gearstick and starter button. The button’s ok, but you can’t talk about how dynamic and sporty a model is and then have a sort of Swarovski crystal gearstick. You wouldn’t have seen that on the original. Each to their own on this one, I think.

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