2019 BMW M850i xDrive v Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Comparison Test | carsales

2019 BMW M850i xDrive v Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Comparison Test | carsales


In the quest for automotive excellence, the
work of Porsche and BMW is never done. Witness their latest sports cars, the new
911 Carrera 4S and M850i xDrive. Both big names, both big cars, and both with
big personalities. And while one may be the obvious choice for
the sports car buyer, the other certainly has plenty to interest if you’re in the market
for a $300,000 super sports car. But as these cars move closer towards automotive
perfection, is it going to be possible for us to choose just one? The BMW oozes drama with its elegant exterior
design, while the Porsche is unmistakably a modern 911 with a polished and high-tech
finish. Each car is all-wheel drive and each is ostensibly
a two-seater, although they both do offer rear seats for small or contortionist passengers. But that’s where the similarities end. These cars may have a similar price point,
but they’re very different and very excellent beasts. The M850i xDrive is powered by a stonking
4.4L twin turbocharged V8 driven through an eight-speed torque converter automatic, which
propels the grand tourer to 100km/h in just 3.7 seconds. And the Porsche favours its classic six-cylinder
configuration. The 3L engine also features twin turbos and
is paired with a super sharp eight-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission. It beats the BMW off the line by just 0.1
seconds and is even quicker if you option the Sport Chrono. The M850i is longer than the 911 by over 300mm,
and it’s heavier by a whopping 400kg. So it’s no surprise that the 911 offers more
sprightly performance. But the new 992 is a large car too. It’s slimline but looks bulkier than earlier
iterations. Now the BMW is absolutely chock-full of technology
and features. Driver assistance aids, infotainment technology,
wireless Apple CarPlay, absolutely seamless integration, connected drive. There’s heated and chilled seats. There’s absolutely everything that a driver
could ask for in this vehicle. Now in direct comparison with the BMW, the
911 is definitely more of a sports car rather than a grand tourer. And as a result, you don’t get as much accommodation
for your bits and bobs as you do in the BMW. There’s only one cup holder here. The passenger’s is right over here. There’s a small area for mobile phone. And the door pockets, well they’re pretty
small. So it is somewhat compromised on the cabin. But in terms of technology, the 911 does have
plenty to offer. The screen’s been updated so it’s a little
bit more functional than it has been in the past. And it’s got this large driver information
display. But the edge of it is cut off by the steering
wheel position. So you actually have to move your head to
see all of the array. Practicalities, gloss, and glitter aside,
the battle betwixt 911 and M850i is fought on the road. And as different as they are in size and engineering,
the two cars offer similarly divergent personalities once behind the wheel. Both vehicles are supreme driver’s cars. The BMW offers a real wallop when the loud
pedal is pressed. But the Porsche’s responsive engine and perky
PDK shine too. Where’s a racetrack when you need one? The 911 simply shines when it comes to its
chassis too. It feels alive and committed, compelling and
spirited. And as a driver’s car, it’s hard to criticise. It’s got balance, it’s got roadholding, it’s
got presence. The 911 Carrera 4S has got absolutely everything
going for it. If you’ve owned a 911 before, you’re going
to want to buy this car. If you’ve never owned a 911 before, you’re
still going to want to buy this car. It’s just an absolute weapon. There’s just so much to love about the new
Porsche 911. Where do we start? Well, it’s got exceptional roadholding. It’s got amazing confidence-delivering ability
as well, thanks to its all-wheel drive system. Steering is super communicative too. So when you combine all of those things, it’s
hard to see how Porsche can improve with the future generation of this vehicle. The M850i is a real revelation. It certainly holds its own against the 911. It’s got just as much character but it’s completely
different. Yes, the twin turbo V8 puts out a lot more
power and torque. It’s a bigger, heavier car however. So it’s a bit of a challenge to drive, but
that’s why I like it so much. No matter what vehicle you pitch against the
Porsche 911, it’s pretty hard to bet against it. But what we’ve seen in this back-to-back comparison
is that BMW has certainly brought plenty to the table in the form of the M850i xDrive. In terms of performance, it stacks up really
well against the 911. It’s got plenty of great driving characteristics,
and the addition of that extra technology, and more room, making it a more liveable vehicle. In any other comparison with any other sport
coupe, the BMW M850i xDrive would take the win. But this is the Porsche 911, and it’s the
stuff of legends for a reason. Porsche continues to improve on this classic. So it’s the Carrera, for us, that takes the
win.