BMW M850i vs. M4: Performance, Driving, Interior & Reliability

When looking for a high performance BMW coupe, we’re met with two titans: the M850i and the G82 M4. The M850i leans towards grand touring, combining power with plush comfort, while the M4 takes a more traditional sports coupe route, focusing on agility and raw driver engagement.

Whether it’s the luxury and commanding presence of the M850i or the raw, adrenaline-fueled nature of the M4, each vehicle offers a unique proposition. How do these two BMW’s compare against each other? Here is a full in-depth comparison of the M850i vs. the G82 M4.

BMW M850i vs. BMW G82 M4 Specifications

BMW G15 M850iBMW G82 M4
EngineN63TU 4.4L Twin-Turbo V8S58 3.0L Twin-Turbo I6
Horsepower523 hp473 hp (503 hp in Competition model)
Torque553 lb-ft406 lb-ft (479 lb-ft in Competition model)
0-60 mph3.7 seconds3.6 seconds
Dimensions190.7″ L x 74.9″ W x 53.0″ H188.7″ L x 74.3″ W x 54.9″ H
Curb Weight4,332 lbs3,700 lbs
Wheelbase111.1 inch112.5 inch
MSRPStarting around $108,900Starting around $78,100
Years Produced2018-present2021-present

M850i vs M4: Engine & Powertrain

N63TU vs. S58

The heart of the BMW M850i lies in the N63TU, a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine paired to the familiar ZF 8HP automatic transmission. With 523 hp at 5,500 – 6,000 RPM and 553 lb-ft of torque between 1,800 – 4,600 RPM, the M850i is a rocket at any speed, with plenty of torque at low RPMs.

The M4, equipped with the S58, a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-6, may not match the V8’s rumble but offers an agressive altough subsued soundtrack of its own. The M4 Competition outputs 503 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. Although factory power figures are lower than on the M850i, the M4 will outperform it on nearly every scenario.

g82 m4 s58 engine

The S58 a more high-strung engine, with peaky power delivery and a relatively high redline, giving it a much different character as well. We personally prefer the S58 over the N63TU. BMW was proven once again that its specialty are inline-6’s with this new M-engine.

M850i is AWD only; the M4 is either RWD or AWD

The M850i’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system ensures that the power from the twin-turbo V8 is planted firmly on the road, providing confidence in all driving conditions, but it adds weight and can induce understeer compared a comparable RWD car.

The M4 is available in both RWD and AWD configurations, catering to a wider range of driving preferences. BMW purists might lean towards the RWD variant for a more traditional, tail-happy driving experience, while the xDrive version is for those who want the best possible acceleration from a dig and great traction even in inclement weather.

The M4 is available with a 6-speed manual transmission

The icing on the cake for the M4’s drivetrain is the available 6-speed manual transmission. Altough it isn’t available in Competition models, having a 6-speed manual as an option in a 2024 European sports car is quite the feat, and this alone makes the M4 very appealing to enthusiats.

M850i vs M4: Driving Experience

Performance on track

While the M850i can hold its own on a circuit and leave most cars in the dust on a long straight, the M4 is specifically honed for the track. With a lower center of gravity, lower weight, and a stiffer, more aggressive suspension setup, the M4 is the clear choice for those who live for apexes and lap times.

bmw g82 m4

What holds back the M850i at the track is its sheer size and weight. Although BMW has worked its magic to make the M850i feel more nimble than you would expect from a 4,000+ lbs. car, it cannot defy physics, and the car will understeer much sooner than a G82 M4 would.

Daily Driving Experience

As a daily driver is where the M850i shines, its refinement, comfort, and understated power will transform every errand around town into an event. Although it is far from being a fuel-efficient car, the hum of the V8, the refinement of the cabin, and xDrive make it a sublime year-round daily driver. It delivers excellent straight-line speed, more than enough for any kind of maneuver, and a composed ride even on twisty roads.

bmw 850i

The M4’s more spartan approach appeals to the purist, offering a more raw connection with the road, a stiffer ride, and more feedback and driver feel. It is still a comfortable daily driver but there is no doubt that the M850i will be more comfortable, especially on longer rides.

Chassis Dynamics: Handling and Ride

The M850i is a grand tourer, a label it wears with pride. It’s built for speed sustained over great distances, with a chassis tuned for comfort over long stretches of road. BMW’s integral active steering and the adaptive M suspension system work together to make the M850i’s considerable size and weight feel nimble.

The M850i is a GT car, the M4 is a full-fledged sports coupe

In contrast, the M4’s rigid chassis structure, aggressive suspension tuning, and rear or all-wheel-drive layouts showcase its sports coupe DNA. It’s the one you want for track days and spirited backroad cruising.

M850i vs. M4: Interior & Comfort Features

The M850i could be described as a 7 Series coupe, designed around providing the ultimate driver and passenger interior comfort and innovative technology. Ambient lighting sets the mood, while the high-fidelity sound system by Harman Kardon or optional Bowers & Wilkins outputs impressive audio. The fit and finish is impressive and interior materials are top notch, with leather and soft touch panels.

The M850i is a step above the M4 in terms of interior features and cabin

m850i and g82 m4 interior comparison

In contrast, the G82 M4 offers an interior focused on the driver’s experience, integrating performance with functionality. The M4’s cockpit is designed with a sportier intent, featuring M Sport seats with optional bucket seats that provide enhanced support during spirited drives.

While not short on luxury, the M4’s interior prioritizes elements that emphasize its performance heritage, such as the M-specific instrument cluster and infotainment features that include track-ready telemetry.

M850i vs M4: Long Term Reliability

The BMW M850i’s N63TU engine is a marvel of modern automotive engineering, providing robust power, relatively good fuel economy for a V8, and essentially no turbo lag due to the hot-vee turbo configuration.

However, it’s no secret among BMW enthusiasts that the N63TU engine may start presenting quite a bit of issues in the long-term. While the N63TU in the M850i is much more reliable than earlier iterations, it is far from being a problem-free engine. This engine suffers from early ignition coil failure, early injector failure, among other problems that appear at high mileage and need high labor costs due to the complicated engine bay.

The G82 M4 will have better long-term reliability than the M850i

Although this is a new platform and a new engine, and long-term reliability is unknown, we think that the G82 M4 will be more reliable long term. Its inline-6 configuration is a BMW staple, and its predecessor, the F82 M4 has proven itself has a stout platform with a strong and durable drivetrain.

Both are high-performance machines with high long-term maintenance costs

It’s essential to note that both of these machines are complex, with intricate engineering that requires attention beyond the scope of average cars. Ownership of either model comes with the understanding that maintenance costs will be higher than the average BMW, such as the ones powered by the B48 or the B58.

M850i vs G82 M4: Price & Value

MSRP is higher for the M850i

The M850i xDrive, with its grand touring aspirations, commands a higher starting MSRP ($108,900), reflective of its V8 engine, all-wheel drive, and a longer list of standard luxury features. The M4, aimed more at the performance purist, has a slightly lower entry price ($78,100) but still offers significant power and driving dynamics.

Depreciation will be less on the M4

As with any vehicle, depreciation is the largest cost to owners over time. Historically, models like the M850i, loaded with luxury features, tend to depreciate at a faster rate compared to a full-fledged M car. The M4, while not immune to depreciation, will retain its value better due to its appeal to enthusiasts, especially in versions with manual transmissions or sought-after performance packages.

Conclusion: Choosing the Right Model for Your Lifestyle

In summary, choosing between the M850i and the M4 comes down to prioritizing luxury and comfort over outright agility and track prowess. Whether cruising the coastline in the M850i or attacking apexes in the M4, they both offer distinct takes on the ultimate driving machine.

The M850i shines with its blend of luxury features, powerful V8 engine, and standard all-wheel-drive , making it a superb choice for those who desire comfort and practicality without compromising on power. The M4, stands out with its track-oriented engineering, lighter chassis, and a smooth but roaring twin-turbo inline-6.

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