Fighting the competition in an all-new niche we didn’t know existed

The year was 2018, and it was time for BMW to have a Halo car outside of the aging i8, but BMW didn’t go for another EV or a high-powered supercar. Instead, after a 20-year hiatus, BMW decided that it was time to revive the 8 Series name, and that’s exactly what happened on June 15, 2018. The modern, sporty 2019 BMW 8 Series shot like an arrow straight to the heart of purists as BMW let out the roaring promise of crippling power in a sexy coupe silhouette – 523 horsepower in M850i form, to be specific. Since the return of the new 8 Series that hot day in the middle of June, the 8 Series lineup has expanded to include the 840i, M850i, M8, and the soon-to-launch Gran Coupe that should be offered in both M850i and M8 form.

Like most BMW fanboys, we started picking apart the new BMW 8 Series. We wondered: Is it worthy of the 8 Series name? Will it be worth the near-six-figure price? Can this large of a car really offer up the performance, handling, and luxury that not only have we come to expect from BMW but from something that wears the crown of a halo car? We’ve set out to find the truth on a number of occasions, and have even compared it on paper to the 6 Series, the Aston Martin DB11, and the Mercedes S-Class. It wasn’t until Summer of 2019 that we actually got to sit behind the wheel of the new 8 Series, though. But, when we did, we were graced with the honor of driving the M850i Convertible – a model that is said to blend 523 horsepower, world-class driving dynamics, and the best open-air feeling on the market.

The question now is, however, does the all-new 8 Series actually live up to the bold claims made by BMW? Well, we spent a whole week with the M850i Convertible, and this is our story. You might want to buckle up because things get interesting!!

  • 2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    523 @ 5500
  • Torque @ RPM:
    553 @ 1800
  • Displacement:
    4.4 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.8 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

BMW M850i Convertible Exterior Design

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
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Let’s jump straight to the elephant in the room – that massive, single-piece, double-kidney grille. It is by far the widest grille we’ve ever seen on a BMW, and it did bring in some polarizing opinions. There was a lot of criticism aimed at that big grille, but over time, everyone started to accept it. Seeing it in images as we did back in June of 2018 is one thing, but seeing it in person is completely different. Now we know why BMW took the route it did. In person, the front end of the new 8 Series is very dynamic and symmetrical. The grille and air dam share similar lines and size, the corner vents put an emphasis on aggression and style. It would be too much, honestly, but BMW topped the front end off with a sleek, slender hood with mild body lines and just an inch of raise above the fenders. The headlights also serve a similar purpose with their sleek and wide design.

As a package, the front end of the 8 Series marks the true evolution of BMW design.

This statement holds true regardless of trim level or body style and, from the front, our M850i Convertible was just as sporty as the coupe model it was based on. The side profile, however, is a different story.

left right

The thing we like most about the design of the new 8 Series is the fact that it somehow blends the look of a sports car and muscle car into one. On both the coupe and convertible, the styling cues that make this possible are painfully obvious. Up front, the 8 Series has that stylish vent on the fenders that serve as the infinite hole at the end of the intricately designed concave section that sits between the upper and lower body lines. This is something that gives the door and side profile character, and that’s where the sports car DNA comes in. Look to the rear, though, and you’ll find that the 8 Series has muscular and dominate rear haunches that just scream muscle car. These haunches were delicately rounded at the top and rear, further blending this rare mixture of styling.

With the folding top in place, the M850i has a silhouette that’s undeniably similar to that of the coupe it’s based on.

Drop the top, however, and you have the classic convertible look with a rounded, seemingly infinite beltline – almost like a laser shooting along the curvature of the universe. Add in the stylish but smooth side skirts and Y-Spoke wheels, and it’s no wonder why people stop to look when 8 Series Convertible cruises down the street. Well, part of that look is undoubtedly from the exhaust note, but we’ll talk more about that later on, as the exterior styling of the side profile makes the 8 Series a looker on its own.

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
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Around back, the BMW 8 Series, in any trim level, screams BMW design from a mile away (or kilometer away, if you prefer). The design of the rear decklid is a big talking point here because it’s elevated in a way that allows it to serve as a mock spoiler of sorts while providing some muscular definition just below where the lid is recessed and the inner taillights reside. The overly large recess for the license plate, however, doesn’t really rub us right as it really looks like someone copy and pasted the design of the air dam up front to the rear fascia. The look does grow on you, but it’s also painfully obvious if you walk from front to back. The bottom trim piece that serves as home for the exhaust outlets does the rear end justice and helps to draw attention away from the vents back here that would otherwise be a little out of place.

In the end, the exterior design of the BMW 8 Series in coupe and convertible form is downright attractive - even if there are a few bits here and there that rub the eyes wrong.

Overall, it’s a stylish vehicle, and it certainly exudes that look of excellence that you’d expect from BMW or any other car that you pay six figures for.
BMW 8 Series Convertible Exterior Dimension Comparison
BMW M850i xDrive Convertible Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet Aston Martin DB11 Volante
Length 191.2 Inches 198.9 Inches 186.57 Inches
Width 74.9 Inches 83.0 Inches 76.37 Inches
Height 53.0 Inches 56.2 Inches 50.35 Inches
Wheelbase 111.1 Inches 115.p Inches 110.43 Inches
Front Track 63.7 Inches 65.4 Inches 65.0 Inches
Rear Track 64.6 Inches TBA 64.0 Inches
Curb Weight 4,736 Pounds 4,817 Pounds 4,133 Pounds

How big is the BMW 8 Series?

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
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The BMW 8 Series is classified as a full size car, so don’t expect it to fit very well in a single car garage. Even if you could cram it into a larger, single bay, you’ll probably have to lower the top and climb over the back just to get out because the doors are so long. So, if you’re thinking about garage storage, a larger two-car unit is the bare minimum that we would suggest. On that note, you’ll find that it is smaller than the Mercedes S-Class – by more than seven inches in length, nearly 10 inches in height, and just over three inches in width. It is larger than the Aston Martin DB11, though.

BMW 8 Series Convertible Exterior Dimension Comparison
BMW M850i xDrive Convertible Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet Aston Martin DB11 Volante
Length 191.2 Inches 198.9 Inches 186.57 Inches
Width 74.9 Inches 83.0 Inches 76.37 Inches
Height 53.0 Inches 56.2 Inches 50.35 Inches
Wheelbase 111.1 Inches 115.p Inches 110.43 Inches
Front Track 63.7 Inches 65.4 Inches 65.0 Inches
Rear Track 64.6 Inches TBA 64.0 Inches
Curb Weight 4,736 Pounds 4,817 Pounds 4,133 Pounds

BMW M850i Convertible Interior Design

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
- image 857345

Convertibles are more about cruising with the top down and enjoying that open-air feeling with infinite headroom. They are about more about luxury and style than they are performance. But, the BMW 8 Series is a driver’s car at its core, and BMW did a good job at carrying over that feeling to the convertible as well. In M850i form, it’s even more obvious that, despite the ability to drop the top, this baby is meant to drive and drive well.

To put it in simpler terms, the interior of the M850i is easy to live with.

The wraparound design of the 8 Series’ cabin has a snug feeling to it but, even in the coupe, there’s a feeling of space. This feeling is emphasized even more in the convertible with the top down. The is plenty of elbow room up front, and legroom is ample here too. The rear seats, on the other hand, are laughable. The only reason they exist is probably because the 8 Series would look weird as a two-seater without a mid-engine configuration. The rear seats are okay for children, but adults will find that area very uncomfortable and, if you’re on the larger side, don’t even think about getting back there.

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
- image 857409

As a driver, you’ll find that all of the 8 Series’ controls are in convenient locations. Thanks to such an intuitive layout, you really don’t have to take your eyes off the road very often. The downside is that BMW’s digital instrument cluster isn’t really as useful as that of Mercedes, and the gesture controls can be a little hard to get used to. Ingress and Egress is rather simple for the front, however, the doors are impressively long, and it can make entry and exit difficult in tight spots. You may want to keep this in mind if you live in large cities with tight parking.

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
- image 857350

With the top down, rear visibility is amazing. With the top up, however, you’ll find that the convertible suffers the same fate as the coupe in that there is reduced visibility through the rear corners. Driving aid nannies help to alleviate this when the top is up, but how often will you honestly drive around with the top in place? On rainy or chilly days, perhaps.

Overall, interior quality of the 8 Series M850i is top-notch, and that holds true for the convertible model as well.

In terms of comfort, technology, materials, and fit and finish, the M850i convertible stands on its own two feet, even with a six-figure price tag. As far as luxury performance cars go, the M850i convertible easily competes with the more expensive S63 Cabriolet and DB11 Volante.

BMW M850i Convertible Interior Dimensions
BMW M850i xDrive Convertible
Front Headroom 38.9 Inches
Front Shoulder Room 57.2 Inches
Front Legroom 42.1 Inches
Rear Headroom 34.7 Inches
Rear Shoulder Room 45.7 Inches
Rear Legroom 29.5 Inches

Does the BMW 8 Series Have a Lot of Room Inside?

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
- image 857351

The BMW 8 Series is a full-size car, but it’s not designed to haul around families – this much is clear the moment you sit inside it. Front passengers have plenty of room. Shoulder room and legroom up here are second to none, however, the back seat area is more of a formality and should probably be avoided at all costs unless you’re very small or like the idea of sitting in small places. In the front, the 8 Series Convertible beats out the Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet in terms of space, but the S63 gives rear passengers a little more room. As for the DB11 Volante that we’re also looking at as a competitor, your guess is as good as ours as the company has never released official interior specs.

BMW M850i Interior Dimensions Comparison
BMW M850i xDrive Convertible Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet Aston Martin DB11 Volante
Front Headroom 38.9 Inches 37.7 Inches TBA
Front Shoulder Room 57.2 Inches 57.1 Inches TBA
Front Legroom 42.1 Inches TBA TBA
Rear Headroom 34.7 Inches 37.7 Inches TBA
Rear Shoulder Room 45.7 Inches 49.5 Inches TBA
Rear Legroom 29.5 Inches TBA TBA
Maximum Cargo Room (top up) 12.4 CU-FT 12.4 CU-FT TBA

BMW M850i Convertible and Car Seats

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
- image 857349

BMW has complied with the rules and installed car seat safety latches where necessary. However, this is also a formality as you really don’t want to try to cram a car seat in the rear. A booster seat can fit, but it requires the front seats to be slid forward, and don’t even think about trying to fit a rear-facing child seat back there. You could probably fit one on the passenger side with the front seat all the way forward, but it would take some doing. On top of that, you’d have to lower the top because there’s no way you’ll get a car seat through the narrow gap provided between the body and the front seats.

How Much Cargo Room Does the BMW M850i Convertible Have

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
- image 857306

For a large car, the 8 Series wasn’t exactly well-endowed when it comes to cargo space, and the M850i Convertible has even less at just 12.4 cubic-feet. In comparison, the 8 Series Coupe offers up 14.8 cubic-feet while the S63 Cabriolet offers up exactly the same as the 8 Series Convertible. The drop in cargo room from coupe to convertible can be attributed to the convenience of having a top that retracts and hides away in the trunk. Is it a fair tradeoff? We think so.

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
- image 857305
BMW M850i Convertible Cargo Room Comparison
BMW M850i xDrive Convertible Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet Aston Martin DB11 Volante
Maximum Cargo Room (top up) 12.4 CU-FT 12.4 CU-FT 8.0 CU-FT

BMW M850i Convertible Infotainment and Technology

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
- image 857332

BMW might offer the latest technology in the 8 Series, but that only holds true to a certain extent. There is very little that the M850i is missing in terms of technology, but the fact that you have to pay for Apple CarPlay after the first year of ownership and the lack of Android Auto altogether is a smear on the 8 Series’ otherwise stellar resume. Aside from that, the standard Harman Kardon audio system does its job well, and audio quality is beyond average thanks to an overall quiet cabin with the roof up. Even with the roof stowed, though, the audio system is top-notch. Yes; they will hear you coming if you crank up the tunes.

Navigation is easy to use, and the graphics are on point – the system as a whole stands on its own two feet in terms of response and simplistic use.
2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
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The instrument cluster does offer up good graphics and plenty of customization, but it’s not quite on par with what you get from Mercedes and Aston Martin. Even if the M850i comes at a much lower price point, this is something we really didn’t expect. The climate control system works well, requires very little adjustment once set, and you can feel even air distribution even with the top down at reasonable speeds.

BMW M850i Convertible Drivetrain and Performance

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
- image 857404

One thing we knew before the M850i Convertible landed in our parking lot was that it was a performer. The 4.4-liter V-8 that lurks under the M850i’s stylish hood should provide ample power for a car its size, and it does – 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough power to put you in your seat when you jump on the gas and enough torque to burn off a set of tires in a quickness if you were to disable all the nannies. Don’t worry, BMW, we didn’t do that with our tester, however, we have to admit the thought did cross our mind on more than one occasion. Back to the point at hand, BMW claims that the M850i Convertible can hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, however, our tests got us there on the high side of 3.7 seconds.

Top speed is, of course, limited, but we didn’t have a track to actually push it to the limit, so we were limited to local speed limits, unfortunately.
BMW M850i Performance Comparison
BMW M850i xDrive Convertible Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet Aston Martin DB11 Volante
Engine 4.4-Liter V-8 4.0-Liter V-8 4.0-liter V-8
Transmission Eight-Speed Auto Nine-Speed Auto Eight-Speed Auto
Power Output 523 HP @ 5,500 RPM 603 HP @ 5,500 RPM 503 @ 6,000 RPM
Torque 553 LB-FT @ 1,800 RPM 664 LB-FT @ 2,750 RPM 513 LB-FT @ 2,000 RPM
Driveline AWD AWD RWD
Fuel Premium Premium Premium
Fuel Capacity 18.0 Gal 21.1 Gal 20.5 Gal
0-60 mph 3.8 Seconds 3.4 Seconds 4.1 Seconds
Top Speed 155 MPH 155 MPH 200 MPH
Suspension Double Wishbone Front \ Five-Link Rear Adaptive Multilink Front Independent \ Rear Multilink
Steering Electric Assisted Electric Assisted Electric Assisted
Turning Circle 39.0 Feet 39.0 Feet 41.0 Feet
Front Tire Size P245/35R20 P255/40R20 P255/40ZR20
Rear Tire Size P275/30R20 P285/35R20 P295/35ZR20

To our dismay, our M850i tester came with an eight-speed automatic, and there’s no option for a manual anywhere on the order sheet. Normally, this would be a blemish on the 850i’s reputation, but that “Sport Automatic,” as BMW calls it, was quite responsive and handles itself well. Plus, it has a manual shift mode that was probably the most refined that we’ve experienced in the industry so far, but I’ll discuss that more later on.

Back to the topic at hand, all 523 ponies and 553 pound-feet of torque is forced through the transmission and delivered to all four wheels.

Since this is an M850i, it also has the M Sport differential to handle torque distribution. The transmission and engine response adapts depending on your selected driving mode. In any case, the xDrive AWD system is rear-biased, and that’s part of what makes the M850i convertible stand out in terms of driving dynamics. In terms of suspension, the M850i kind of stands out. In place of a four-corner independent suspension setup, BMW has decided to go with a double-wishbone multi-link setup in the front and five-link setup in the rear. It handles suspension duites well, but we can’t help but wonder if a four-corner independent setup would improve things.

BMW M850i Driving Impressions

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
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In terms of driving, the BMW M850i really doesn’t disappoint.

At first, we expected the road and wind noise to be annoying at speed, but BMW has managed to keep external noises rather subdued. And, even if there’s a little too much for you, the standard audio system will drown out most of everything else. The 8 Series is impeccably easy to drive. Because of that adaptive suspension system along with near-perfect torque delivery, the M850i fills you with confidence, even when you try to push it to the max from a stop. Never once did we feel even the slightest hint that there was a possibility of losing control, and this holds true even when cornering at higher speeds during spirited driving.

Now, I told you before that the engine and transmission are rather responsive, but I feel that I should point out that there is a brief delay from the time you hit the gas until the time your back leaves an imprint on the seat. This delay is minimal, however, and isn’t anywhere near as bad as you experience in other models like the Mercedes S-Class or even the Toyota 86.

We were still able to exceed BMW’s claim of a 3.8-second sprint to 60 mph, but just barely – 3.74 seconds, to be exact.

Traction was never an issue, though, and that’s where the M850i, even in convertible form, really shines. It really does encourage you to drive harder, and that’s a good thing – or maybe it’s bad if you get in enough trouble as it is.

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
- image 857366

In terms of handling, the AWD system is second to none. The M850i convertible feels as sure-footed as any other high-end model on the market – even in wet conditions. When you’re in ECO or Comfort mode, however, there is some body roll to compete with. Move the drive mode selector to Pro or Sport, and you’ll find that body roll is more subdued and the M850i becomes much more agile in bends while still remaining attentive to mid-corner or mid-turn imperfections in the road. Part of this is thanks to the built-in driver nannies that we usually hate. However, on the M850i convertible, they aren’t as attentive as you’d expect and they do allow for some freedom before kicking in. In other words, you’re free to play a bit but if you stroll a little too far off center, the stability control and ABS systems will help pull you back where you need to be.

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
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Braking and steering are adequate, but we wouldn’t call either amazing.

The brake pedal feels impressively firm, but that’s also its downfall as coming to a stop is also a little harsh – especially in the last couple of seconds. To help you visualize what I mean, imagine what it feels like when a teenager starts driving for the first time and is just getting used to the brakes – you know those abrupt stops at low speed? That’s the exact feeling I’m talking about. Stopping distance from 60 mph wasn’t hugely impressive either as it took us around 110 feet (loosely measured), which seems a little longer than what we expected and what we’ve experienced with other large convertibles in the past. The M850i has four-wheel steering, so it has great maneuverability, and the effort required is on point with that of a large convertible. Like most other models in this price range the M850i has electric assisted steering, so feedback is minimal but accurate and responsive.

Is the BMW M850i Convertible a Good City Driver?

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
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Our time with the M850i Convertible was mixed between city driving, backroad driving, and a couple of short stints on the highway. Impressively enough, the car is rather adaptive to most driving scenarios. If you set the driving mode to Eco or Comfort in the city, you’ll find that acceleration is appropriate with a light foot and the transmission reacts smoothly and in light of what you’d expect from a luxury tourer.

The only downside to city driving is the size, which can make parking on the street or in crowded parking lots a tedious task, especially if you worry about door dings or have depth perception issues.

Parking is probably the biggest downfall to driving the M850i Convertible (or any trim, for that matter) in the city. On the highway or backroads, Sport and Pro modes will tighten up the shifting and throttle response, and you’ll immediately feel like you’re in a sports car once again. The ability to handle all driving scenarios conformably is a task a lot of cars try to handle, but few actually handle well. The BMW M850i Convertible is one of those cars that sets the standard for all-around usability. As a bonus, the 8 Series in general attracts a lot of attention from others on the street; the M850i Convertible garners even more, so if you like that kind of thing, you’ll be more than happy.

BMW M850i Convertible Fuel Economy

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
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The BMW M850i Convertible is rated by the EPA at 17 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined. That is, impressively, only one mpg down from the coupe in the city, and one mpg better than the coupe on the highway, while both coupe and convertible manage 20 mpg combined. Compared to the S63 convertible, the M850i wins big time, beating it out by two mpg in every category.

BMW M850i Fuel Economy Comparison
City Highway Combined
BMW M850i Coupe 18 25 20
BMW M850i Convertible 17 26 20
Mercedes-AMG S63 Convertible 15 24 18
Aston Martin DB11 Volante TBA TBA TBA

How Fast is the BMW M850i?

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
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With 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque at your disposal, you can hit 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds in the M850i convertible. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, but there’s no doubt in our mind that if the M850i could easily approach the 180-mph barrier if it wasn’t limited. In comparison, the more expensive Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet makes the same sprint in 3.4 seconds but also tops out at 155 mph. The Aston Martin DB11 Volante, however, is a bit slower to 60 mph (4.1 seconds) but tops out around 200 mph.

BMW M850i Convertible Specifications
BMW M850i xDrive Convertible
Engine 4.4-Liter V-8
Transmission Eight-Speed Auto
Power Output 523 HP @ 5,500 RPM
Torque 553 LB-FT @ 1,800 RPM
Driveline AWD
Fuel Premium
Fuel Capacity 18.0 Gal
0-60 mph 3.8 Seconds
Top Speed 155 MPH
Suspension Double Wishbone Front \ Five-Link Rear
Steering Electric Assisted
Turning Circle 39.0 Feet
Front Tire Size P245/35R20
Rear Tire Size P275/30R20

BMW 8 Series Pricing

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In terms of pricing, the BMW M850i sits at the top of the lineup (excluding the M8 model, of course) with a starting price of $121,400. The 840i Convertible starts out at $97,400 but that price increases to $100,300 if you want the xDrive AWD system. Of course, BMW also has the full-fledged M8 Convertible, but it starts out at $142,500. On a comparison front, the closest competitor to the M850i Convertible is the Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet with a starting price of $180,100. That car really competes better with the M8, if I’m being honest, but there is no other competitor for the M850i that’s close in power output, size, or pricing. The same story goes for the Aston Martin DB11 Volante that offers similar performance in V-8 form, but comes at a price tag of around $216,000 – nearly enough to buy to M850is or an 850i for weekend cruising and an M2 daily driver.

BMW M850i Convertible Competition

Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet

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Because the BMW M850i kind of sits in a niche all it’s own, we either have to look upmarket or down market for any type of true competition. If you take the Mercedes S-Class, for example, the range-topping, non-AMG model doesn’t come close in terms of performance while the S63, the tamer of the AMG S-Class line, is significantly more powerful and more expensive. But, the truth is, that you’ll still cross-shop the two if you’re in the market for a performance-oriented luxury convertible. Now, the S63 Cabriolet comes at a high price of $180,100, and that’s before taxes, delivery fees, and options, so it can easily exceed the $200,000 mark if you’re not careful. It’s also more powerful with its 4.0-liter V-8 pumping out 603 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. It’ll even get you to 60 mph 0.4 seconds faster than the M850i Convertible (3.4 seconds vs. 3.8 seconds), but its top speed is limited to 155 mph just like its BMW counterpart.

Truth be told, the S63 is a better competitor to the M8 b,ut this is what we have to work with. Fit and finish inside is on par with the M850i, as are the materials. The digital instrument cluster is a little more customizable, though, and we believe the gesture control for the infotainment system is a little more intuitive as well. The driving dynamics are comparable in terms of handling and ride, but the BMW seems to offer a little less noise in terms of open-roof driving.

So, that raises the question: When should I consider the M850i over the AMG S63? The answer to that question depends on a couple of factors. Since both cars share similar levels of luxury, comfort, and technology, it really boils down to your performance needs and price range. If you want something that’s luxurious as a daily cruiser – as in you don’t intend to do much in terms of spirited driving – then the cheaper M850i is your go-to. The same can be said if you’re on a limited budget as the $121,000 starting price is a little more manageable. The extra money left over by going with the M850i will also give you room to select extra options without surpassing the $200,000 mark, or it gives you the room for some aftermarket improvements that could give you even better performance than the S63 offers at a cheaper price in the long run. However, if you’re interested in stock performance straight out of the dealer parking lot and don’t care about price, then the S63 is probably the better option for you. You’ll pay more, but you won’t have to worry about upgrading aftermarket if you want more power. Just keep in mind that the S63 gets even more expensive when you start selecting options.

BMW M850i Convertible vs. Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet
BMW M850i xDrive Convertible Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet
Engine 4.4-Liter V-8 4.0-Liter V-8
Transmission Eight-Speed Auto Nine-Speed Auto
Power Output 523 HP @ 5,500 RPM 603 HP @ 5,500 RPM
Torque 553 LB-FT @ 1,800 RPM 664 LB-FT @ 2,750 RPM
Driveline AWD AWD
Fuel Premium Premium
Fuel Capacity 18.0 Gal 21.1 Gal
0-60 mph 3.8 Seconds 3.4 Seconds
Top Speed 155 MPH 155 MPH
Suspension Double Wishbone Front \ Five-Link Rear Adaptive Multilink
Steering Electric Assisted Electric Assisted
Turning Circle 39.0 Feet 39.0 Feet
Front Tire Size P245/35R20 P255/40R20
Rear Tire Size P275/30R20 P285/35R20

Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet

Another Alternative to the Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet?

2020 BMW M8 Convertible
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The other thing to note here is that the M8 Convertible is considerably faster to 60 mph (3.1 seconds or 0.3 seconds faster than the S63) and it starts out at $142,500. So, if you’re really considering the S63 over the M850i, you might want to take a look at the M8 Convertible as well, as it’s better equipped and significantly cheaper.

Aston Martin DB11 Volante

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The DB11 Volante was introduced to the market back in 2017 as a drop-top version of that DB11 coupe, and it is a prime example of Aston Martin quality. Interior materials are top-notch, fit and finish is ranked up there with the best in the business, and the driving dynamics are on point – especially for a convertible. And, that’s part of the reason why we’re comparing the DB11 Volante to the BMW M850i. The problem is that it’s slower to 60 mph, doesn’t offer as much power, and is nearly double the price of the M850i. Again, this is another example of where you’d want to consider the BMW M8 over this specific model, but the DB11 is also an Aston Martin, and nothing beats feeling like James Bond, right?

Good for a 4.1-second sprint to 60 mph, the DB11 Volante has a 4.0-liter V-8 that delivers 503 horsepower and 513 pound-feet of torque. Where it beats out the other models we’ve discussed here is top speed, and that’s because Aston Martin doesn’t limit the DB11 – the Volante can hit a cool 200 mph if you’re brave enough to take it there. However, the DB11 hits you where it matters, and that’s the wallet. It starts out at $216,495 before any taxes, fees, registration, or any options. So, you could actually pay out a small sum more and get two M850i convertibles in different colors. It might make the wife happy if you get her one too, so maybe that’s a selling point for the M850i and not the DB11. Either way, it’s a sexy convertible that will draw attention, and it will get you from A to B in style, comfort, and great luxury. The real question is whether or not you can justify paying more than $200,000 for one, but we’ll leave you to answer that question.

BMW M850i Convertible vs. Aston Martin DB11 Volante
BMW M850i xDrive Convertible Aston Martin DB11 Volante
Engine 4.4-Liter V-8 4.0-liter V-8
Transmission Eight-Speed Auto Eight-Speed Auto
Power Output 523 HP @ 5,500 RPM 503 @ 6,000 RPM
Torque 553 LB-FT @ 1,800 RPM 513 LB-FT @ 2,000 RPM
Driveline AWD RWD
Fuel Premium Premium
Fuel Capacity 18.0 Gal 20.5 Gal
0-60 mph 3.8 Seconds 4.1 Seconds
Top Speed 155 MPH 200 MPH
Suspension Double Wishbone Front \ Five-Link Rear Front Independent \ Rear Multilink
Steering Electric Assisted Electric Assisted
Turning Circle 39.0 Feet 41.0 Feet
Front Tire Size P245/35R20 P255/40ZR20
Rear Tire Size P275/30R20 P295/35ZR20

Read our full review on the 2019 Aston Martin DB11 Volante

Should I buy the BMW M850i Convertible or the BMW M8 Convertible?

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Given the weird price and niche that the 8 Series convertible sits in – especially in regard to the M850i and M8 – a serious question you need to ask yourself is which you should buy. Think about this for a minute; the M850i and M8 offer great levels of performance and luxury and the M8, for example, performs better than both the S63 from AMG or the DB11 Volante. It’s also significantly cheaper, so if you’re all about performance and going fast with your top down, the $141,000 M8 Convertible is definitely a viable option. But, is the M8 Convertible really worth an extra $21,100 that the sticker price reflects?

M850i Performance vs. M8 Performance
BMW M850i xDrive Convertible BMW M8 Convertible
Engine 4.4-Liter V-8 4.4-Liter V-8
Transmission Eight-Speed Auto Eight-Speed Auto
Power Output 523 HP @ 5,500 RPM 600 @ TBA
Torque 553 LB-FT @ 1,800 RPM 553 LB-FT @ 1,800 RPM
Driveline AWD AWD
0-60 mph 3.8 Seconds 3.1 Seconds
Top Speed 155 MPH 190 MPH
Fuel Premium Premium
Fuel Capacity 18.0 Gal 18.0 Gal
Fuel Economy 17/26/20 15/25/18 (est)
Price $121,400 $142,500

That boils down to what your intents for the 8 Convertible really are. If you really want to get down and dirty, the extra 77 horsepower will do you some good – 0.7-seconds faster to 60 mph good. You’ll also be able to enjoy the wind blowing through your hair at 190 mph (don’t do it on public roads, though.) Both look amazing, though, and the M8 simply has slightly better accommodations in terms of brand showcasing. So, if you don’t care about going faster or showing the world that you have the best BMW has to offer, the M850i will do you just fine, and you can save that extra $21,000 for something else. But, if you’re even considering the equivalent from Mercedes or Aston Martin (or an Audi R8 Spyder, for that matter), I suggest you genuinely consider the M8 and give it a test drive. Your wallet will thank you and your wife will thank you when you still have money left over to buy her something really nice too.

Final Thoughts

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven
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Our time with the BMW M850i Convertible was well-spent. Everyone on the team – even our truck fanatic and our exotic fanboy - found something they could love about the car. It’s driving dynamics, performance, and comfort met and exceeded everyone’s expectations, and that’s important considering the unique niche that it sits in. For $121,000, you really can’t find a car that’s up to par with everything the M850i offers, and we have to tip our hats to BMW for bringing what we believe to be the most competitive car in a long time to market. It bears the iconic 8 Series name and, despite its modernized, aggressive looks, this convertible (as well as the coupe and gran coupe, for that matter) honors that name and its predecessor in every way imaginable.

It’s a big car, and the convertible model is more associated with leisurely cruising, but it is a driver’s car at its core. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the 8 Series name live on for generations to come, and it will continue to do well as the only car at this price point to offer everything it does. To all the other luxury and performance automakers out there, if you’re listening, you need to keep an eye on what BMW is doing, because you just got owned in a niche that you didn’t know existed.

Further reading

2020 BMW 8 Series Convertible Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2020 BMW 8 Series Convertible.

2020 BMW M8 Convertible
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Read our full review on the 2020 BMW M8 Convertible.

2019 BMW 8 Series Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2019 BMW 8 Series.

2019 BMW M8
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Read our full review on the 2020 BMW M8 Coupe.

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