Expert Reviews

2023 BMW M850i Cabriolet Review

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This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
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As summer was coming to an end this year, the whole world seemed to wake up from a two-year slumber.

Suddenly the air felt crisper, the days seemed drastically shorter, work started to pile up, plans were filling up my calendar, and the pace of life just seemed much faster than it had been for what felt like an eternity. I was having a bit of trouble adjusting back to the speed of normal life, losing sleep over it and feeling generally anxious.

After I picked up this gorgeous 2023 BMW M850i Cabriolet, I immediately put the top down and went for a cruise. All that unease seemed to melt away and I felt like I was able to relax for the first time in weeks. That feeling is what this car is all about.

Style: 10/10

Even just looking at this droptop puts me at ease. Without the controversial buck tooth grille or all the ultra-aggressive angles and vents of most BMWs these days, the 8 Series looks graceful in a way its siblings simply can’t. Its impossibly – almost comically – long hood exudes Big Engine Energy, leading the eye over softer lines and smart details, all of which come together to give this convertible an air of dignified elegance. It’s also low-slung, wide, and sits on huge, expensive-looking wheels, all of which hints that it’s also a blast to drive. New for this year, the kidney grille glows to add some drama to the 8 Series’ nighttime presence, and the side mirrors have the signature M wings on them.

The 8 Series also comes in a massive choice of stunning colours from the Petrol Mica midnight blue of my tester to Dakar Yellow, Twilight Purple, Mantis Green, and more. In a special nod to its rich motorsports heritage and to celebrate 50 years of the M division, buyers can opt to have the BMW badges on the hood, trunk, and wheel hub covers replaced by a classic red, dark blue, and baby blue BMW Motorsports roundel inspired by the ones first used on the brand’s race cars in 1973.

Inside, the optional crystal details elevate the cabin in a way that speaks to my moneybags alter ego. When it comes to luxury, it’s all in the details and BMW nails it in this regard by using (optional) crystal on two of the major touchpoints that drivers use the most often – the gear selector and the start button. The speaker covers are sharp enough to grate cheese, the leather is supple and plush, and all the trim materials look and feel opulent without being too flashy.

Powertrain: 10/10

The BMW M850i has a 4.4L twin-turbocharged V8 lurking under its dramatically long hood that pushes 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels via a silky smooth eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s a huge testament to BMW’s engineering prowess that despite how large and heavy it is, the M850i can still swoosh to 100 km/h in a claimed four seconds.

When called upon, the M850i charges forward almost immediately with unrelenting force and rewards you with an explosion of bassy growling and burbles from the exhaust that only a V8 can bless us with. Matching the cabriolet’s whole vibe, the noise isn’t rude and doesn’t ever come across as begging for attention. The 8 Series is simply too dignified for that and it sounds expensive.

It’s fabulous to have all that power, speed, and sound, but the most standout aspect of the M850i’s powertrain isn’t performance – it’s smoothness. All its components work together cohesively to deliver a seamless drive. Shifts from the transmission happen quickly but they’re never felt; the engine’s power delivery is strong and linear; and not once did a hiccup take me out of my fantasy.

Driving Feel: 8/10

As a grand touring car, the M850i excels in feeling confident, swift, and smooth, though it lacks a certain sharpness and urgency I expect from a car with an M in its name. That’s not a critique because that’s not truly this drop-top’s mission. Even though luxury and comfort are its calling cards, the M850i still handles corners with precision and grace, staying remarkably flat and always composed. The convertible’s four-wheel steering helps it feel much smaller than it actually is, making it feel more nimble in corners and much easier to park than you might assume.

It’s more fun to cruise around lazily in the 8 Series than it is to bomb around back roads, and while it’s capable of doing so, it’s very nose heavy and the steering feel is perhaps the only aspect of the driving experience that leaves much to be desired; there’s almost no feedback, it feels too light, and at times comes across as a bit over-boosted and not 100 per cent predictable.

Comfort: 9/10

The BMW M850i is supremely comfortable for people in the front. The seats are supportive and feel like they’re hugging you, but more importantly, the seats, steering wheel, and armrests are all heated, allowing you to enjoy open-air driving comfortably even on a crisp early fall day. The seatbacks also have a heater vent in them to aim hot air at occupants’ necks, making top-down driving even cozier and relaxing.

There’s not much room in the rear seats for even kids, but this is a 2+2 and not a true four-seater, so they’re OK for occasional use.

The adaptive suspension is also perfectly calibrated to soak up any road imperfections, and when not hustling it through corners it does feel like it’s gliding because the 8 Series is so adept at isolating occupants from the outside. Its incredible smoothness and composure can also be deceiving because you could be cruising at 160 km/h and not even know it. (Don’t ask me how I know.)

Practicality: 7/10

No one buys a luxury convertible for its practicality, so it would be unfair to judge it solely based on this, but its trunk is tiny and can barely hold a week’s worth of groceries. The trunk is automatic opening and closing, but it was finicky at times during and very slow to work.

The soft-top roof can be opened or closed electronically in 15 seconds at speeds under 50 km/h, but you must hold the trigger the whole time. All the windows can be dropped or rolled up with one touch.

User-Friendliness: 8/10

Visibility out of the front is limited due to the aggressively raked windshield, chunky A-pillars, and the long hood. The head-up display also rests almost at eye level even in its lowest setting instead of a quick glance down, which is a bit distracting. I found it a bit tricky to navigate through tighter city streets with lots of cyclists and pedestrians because of the front blind spots, but the surround-view monitor and proximity sensors help a lot.

The rest of the cabin is very user-friendly. There are lots of clearly marked physical buttons, and I’m very grateful for hard buttons for radio station presets, which seems weirdly rare these days. Useful shortcuts to often-used screens and functions as well as climate control mean drivers don’t have to fiddle with menus to complete simple tasks while they’re driving.

The large touchscreen is responsive and crisp, the menus make sense, and you can also use a rotary dial near the gear selector to control the infotainment system. It’s all clear and intuitive, even if you don’t have too much experience with BMWs.

Features: 9/10

Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard (as is a wireless cellphone charger), and the integration with the car’s features is excellent. The systems take up all the screen surface so it’s much more useful, and Google Maps navigation instructions show in the head-up display – another rarity. This BMW is stacked and it feels like it has everything to be expected from a car at this price point.

Safety: 9/10

The 8 Series comes standard with a ton of safety equipment including forward collision warning, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, steering-responsive headlights with automatic high-beam controls, surround-view parking cameras, BMWs drive recorder/dash-cam security system, and more. A much-needed Premium package adds adaptive cruise control, collision evasion assist, and front and rear cross-traffic alert (along with ventilated seats, those swanky glass crystal controls, and the thermal air collar).

Fuel Economy: 8/10

Over about 455 km of mixed driving, the M850i was returning a fuel economy of 11.4 L/100 km – much better than I was expecting and a bit better than its official ratings of 14.1 L/100 km in the city, 9.9 on the highway, and 12.2 combined.

Value: 8/10

The 2023 BMW M850i Cabriolet starts at $128,900 before the $2,480 destination fee. The much-needed Premium pack adds $4,750 to the bill, and a Dark Optics package that’s mostly aesthetic adds another $2,900. The two-tone Merino leather costs $4,500, and an upgraded sound system adds $4,900. In total, my tester rang in at $149,230, which seems like a lot, but BMW makes sure it feels worth it. The V8 alone makes it worth the asking price.

The Verdict

Life hits differently and feels a bit less stressful in this swift, swanky, and smooth convertible. Music sounds more fun, the crisp fall air feels more refreshing, and all the little tensions seem to fade away as this big drop-top whisks you away. Even sitting in traffic somehow doesn’t seem as bad, though when the road opens up, this V8-powered stress reliever gives you a lot more to smile about.

Engine Displacement 4.4L
Engine Cylinders Twin-turbo V8
Peak Horsepower 523 hp
Peak Torque 553 lb-ft
Fuel Economy 14.1 / 9.9 / 12.2 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb
Cargo Space 350 L
Model Tested 2023 BMW M850i xDrive Cabriolet
Base Price $128,900
A/C Tax $100
Destination Fee $2,480
Price as Tested $149,230
Optional Equipment
$17,750 – Premium Package, $4,750; Dark Optics Package, $2,900; Ivory White/Night Blue full Merino leather, $4,500; BMW 50 Years Emblems, $300; M Seat Beats, $400; Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System, $4,900