M850i xDrive gets a dynamics shakedown in Wales

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In preparation for its launch later this year, BMW has been focussing on the dynamics of the range-topping 8 Series Coupe as it enters the final stages of the development process. The dynamics and durability team have been driving prototype M850i xDrive models on roads in Wales, UK to evaluate and fine-tune the drive and suspension systems, which in this model include intelligent four-wheel drive technology, an active rear axle differential lock, adaptive M suspension with active roll stabilization, and active steering.

The BMW team has evaluated the car on racetracks and proving grounds, including BMW Group’s proving ground in Miramas in the south of France, at its test center at the Nürburgring in Germany, and winter test drives at Arjeplog in Sweden. Following this work, prototypes are also tested on public roads such as the fast and twisty routes found in Wales, to gain input from the more everyday situations the car will be driven in.

The 2018 BMW 8 Series Coupe

One key dynamic factor being evaluated is the tire setup, with the 8 Series Coupe featuring a mixed tire setup. “This gave us the possibility when coordinating the suspension control systems to exploit the potential of the wide rear wheels to attain particularly sporty handling characteristics,” explained Jos Van As, head of suspension on the 8 Series program. “Also, the higher camber values on all wheels and specifically tuned elastokinematics, resulting in the realization of exceptionally high cornering speeds prior to the intervention of the electronics. So those who wish can drive on the racing track with active DSC, too.”

Track drivers should find the M850i xDrive’s power sufficient, with the 4.4-liter V8 offering 530hp and 750Nm through an eight-speed Steptronic sport transmission.

“The new V8 engine offers exactly the right balance between performance and emotion, which is what also sets the new BMW 8 Series Coupe apart,” stated Christian Billig, head of drive system integration for the model. “Thanks to BMW xDrive and active rear axle locking, the engine always transfers power precisely to where it can be best converted into driving dynamics.

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Adam divides his time as an editor between the worlds of aviation and motoring. These worlds may seem a little diverse today, but autonomous technology and future urban mobility is bringing them ever-closer. Adam is also chairman of the Vehicle Dynamics International Awards.

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