Fine jewelry makes you happy. You should wear it every day.
Last year I fell in love with the BMW i8. I loved the experience of it: merging onto the highway is like taking flight. Driving a curvy mountain road is exhilarating. Seeing the car waiting for you in the driveway feels exquisite (and seeing it drive away from you leaves a hole in your heart). And the narrowed hood lines designed to slice through the air and sweeping roof-to-tail silhouette are swoon worthy.
But, in the end, it’s not the most practical car. There’s hardly a place to put groceries or your handbag. There’s only seating for two. And the butterfly-wing doors are intimidating (though I found it easier to get in and out of than I thought). And, it’s conspicuous. It stands out wherever it goes.
So I was excited to spend time with the i8’s soul sister, the M850i, which marks the return of the 8 series to the carmaker’s lineup. They are clearly cut from the same cloth: they share a similar toned profile, they are both all wheel drive, they are both designed for performance driving and they both carry price tags north of $100,000: The i8 starts at $164,000 and the M850i starts at $111,900.
The M850i’s 523 HP engine and does not have a plug-in electric option (yet) but it does seat four, though it’s more of a convenience factor than option for family transportation. And, there’s a place to put your groceries or handbag; both will fit nicely on the rear seat.
Good Jewelry Shouldn’t Be Reserved Just for Special Occasions, Right?
Our grandmothers used to bring out the good jewelry for fancy events—a country club formal, an anniversary, Christmas dinner.
But women who earned their baubles, for whom picking out their next piece is a pastime, took a different view. If it makes you happy, why save it just for special occasions? Wear it every day!
The i8 sort of feels like a special occasion car if only for its limited practicality. The M850i is more like fine jewelry that you can wear every day. It’s not just a more practical design, from standard doors to a luxe interior, but its elegant lines and fine-tuned performance give it true integrity, which is the dividing line between good and fine jewelry.
Jewelry For Your Left Hand, and Your Right, Thanks to Swarovski
The idea of the M850i as a glittering, road-gripping gem is enhanced by the actual jewelry in the car. As in, the Swarovski crystal gear shifter, iDrive dial selector, starter button and volume knob on the infotainment system. The gear shifter is an eye-catcher that you’ll never get tired of looking at. It glows in your hand, it begs to be touched and held, its facets catch the light, winking and glittering.
And, it’s Swarovski. Not just any crystal, but the same crystal used in the Times Square New Years Eve Ball, in the star that adorns the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, and that sparkles and glimmers on the hands, earlobes and clavicles of untold celebrities. Swarovski is a celebrity in its own right, a centuries-old family-run luxury company with a reputation for creating superior crystal. The pairing with BMW fits perfectly.
A Glorious Daily Driver That Will Inspire You To Take Up Track Driving
Under all that luscious metal leather and crystal lies the heart of a race car (hello, i8!). I had the chance to drive the M850i both on the road and on the track and it delighted in both places. Certainly the coupe’s 523 horsepower gives it wings, but there’s more: it’s also all wheel drive. This means that in addition to being capable in the snow or on slippery surfaces it is also designed for each wheel to really grip the road. This means you can get up to speed faster and hug the corners with more power. And, the rear wheels turn, so again, on those tight curves, every inch of this car is helping you to get through them tighter and faster.
The M850i also has multiple drive modes, including Sport and Sport+, which turns off traction control. The day we drove on the track it was raining so I kept the traction control on for just a bit more grip, and we were able to speeds of more than 100PMPH. Talk about wind under your wings!
On the street the M850i was everything you’d expect it to be: Calmly reserved in Comfort mode, a bit more anxious with a throaty-sounding Sport mode, and for those places where you really need to resist temptation, such as in your neighborhood or cruising on the highway next to a state patrol car, there’s Eco Pro mode. But honestly, when cruising the highways and city streets, the beauty of this car might make you might forget about the drive mode options.
M850i: When It’s Time For Style That Means Business
Who was the first woman you knew whose wardrobe and car were all that? Who exuded grace, style and success in all she did and wore? The ionic style paring struck like lighting in the Moonlighting as star Cybil Shepherd sped around town in a BMW 635 CSi coupe and clad in gorgeous, flowing silk suits.
Her BMW was as much a star of the show as she was, smart, sophisticated and kicking ass in every episode. Suddenly every woman in the country was craving a BMW coupe and silk suits. Expect to see the M850i showcased like this soon. It’s too beautiful to be relegated to the track and special occasions. It needs to be driven—and worn—every day.
What We Listened to in the BMW M850i
The BMW’s premium sound system begs you to turn it up. So we did. This is what we loved listening to in the M850i.
Disclosure: I was BMW’s guest for to test drive the M850i; all opinions expressed are my own.