BMW has produced the 8 series for over four decades and the M Sport versions for about the same time. Even in the evolving world of automotive manufacturing, these two symbols of German craftsmanship still stand out for driving enthusiasts. Getting behind the wheel of an M 850 i xDrive, showed Jeremy Webb that the internal combustion engine is not dead.

The first time I get a Convertible in years, and what happens to me? Yes, you guessed it, it poured down the entire week. Being British, I still had to drop the roof down and drive around because I was in a Convertible. Not letting the weather dampen my spirits, I was buoyant to use the M 850 i xDrive as much as possible.

Starting the car makes you feel tingly; it is a visceral experience; awesome exhaust and engine sound and the adrenaline buzz when you put your foot down, combine to make you want to keep driving the M 850i. I would love to have driven a manual version, but the automatic does have a manual shift through the gear shift and the paddles on the steering wheel.

You buy the M 850 i xDrive as a driver who wants the Motorsport pedigree and the engineering that goes with it, which comes from the 4.4-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 with 523bhp. The engine produces 750Nm of torque, enough to keep up with plenty of its rivals. Despite the power output, the V8 engine is relatively economical, with 25.9mpg; this matches many SUVs with smaller engines.

The four-wheel drive system accelerates the M850 i xDrive from 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds, 0.2 seconds shy of the Coupe model. Impressive in a car weighing over two tonnes, and you feel it when driving. BMW hasn’t fiddled with the 8 Series regarding its powertrain and chassis. The eight-speed gearbox is super smooth and copes with all types of driving, from tooting through country villages to flooring it hard on the twisty A roads. The suspension is incredible, making long journeys into relaxing trips. I travelled on almost every type of road surface during my week with the BMW

Several drive modes are available on the M850 I xDrive, with Sport and Sport Plus, Comfort, Eco Pro and Adaptive. The modes alter the throttle mapping, steering, transmission, damping and even the exhaust note.

As you would expect from a sports car, the handling is exceptional, with crisp, accurate steering, and you have complete confidence in the vehicle. Excellent grip comes from the all-wheel drive system, so you have a car that can hold its own on the track you can play with on the roads. Added security comes from the M 850 i xDrive having rear-wheel steering, so it’s like being on rails through the bends.

The few times I did get my top off, I found the M850 i exceptionally refined, and on an airfield where I got the car over the national speed limit, I could talk to people, listen to music and hear the Sat Nav directions, even though she was a bit lost on an out of use runway. You don’t get buffed by wind or blasted by the air around you, and I didn’t need to use the wind deflector that comes in the boot.

The roof folds away into the boot, decreasing storage from 440 litres to a respectable 350 litres. The problem is that the entrance is very thin, and the front is basically unreachable due to the roof.

The M850i xDrive I tested costs £119,200. I feel in love with the car and think you will if you get behind the wheel of one.

 Jeremy Webb has his own website where you can read more reviews on cars, motorcycles and products.