2020 Porsche 911 vs. 2019 BMW 8 Series (M850i) — Battle of the Grand Tourers

Alistair Weaver and Mark Takahashi pit the 2019 BMW 8 Series against the 2020 Porsche 911. Both the Porsche 992 and the M850i are stout performers that you can also drive every day. Does the 911 Carrera S sports car background give it an advantage over the more comfort-oriented 8 Series? Watch to find out and let us know which car you would pick.

The 911 may be down on power versus the M850, but it is smaller and substantially lighter. The weight difference, along with a few other factors, gives the 911 an advantage at our test track in straight-line performance, braking and handling. Still, the BMW has an advantage when it comes to price. The M850 delivers its good with an as-tested price that undercuts the 911 by over $24,000.

About the 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S — code-named Porsche 992

Although the 2020 Porsche 911 kicks off a new generation, it isn’t wildly different from its 991 predecessor. If you want that from your next sports car, Chevrolet will be happy to sell you a mid-engine C8 Corvette. But the redesigned 2020 911 is more than up to the challenge of subtly evolving Porsche’s rear-engine icon. Available as a coupe or convertible with a variety of turbocharged flat-six engines, the 992 charges forward as one of the best performance cars you can buy.

At a high level, the 992 picks up right where the 991 left off, pairing supercar-adjacent performance with everyday drivability, but adding key enhancements like a new customizable digital instrument panel and a greatly improved central touchscreen.

Among luxury sport coupes, you typically have choices that either bias toward comfort or performance. The new BMW 8 Series is remarkable for its ability to deliver both in abundance. On top of that, the interior is elegantly modern, it has plenty of new tech, and there’s more trunk space than its sleek exterior suggests.

Versus last year, the new 911 is bigger, more comfortable, more efficient, yet faster again. The engine in Carrera S specification is similar to its predecessor, displacing 3.0 liters and featuring a pair of turbos. But much has changed behind the curtain, from the intake and intercoolers to the exhaust plumbing and the size of those turbos.

The tendency at Porsche is to roll out new 911 variants slowly as a generation gets underway, but shoppers can already choose from rear- or all-wheel-drive models with multiple levels of power and grip. In the RWD category, there’s the base 911 Carrera and the more aggressive 911 Carrera S, while AWD fans can look to the 911 Carrera 4 or 911 Carrera 4S. The Carrera and Carrera 4 share a twin-turbo 3.0-liter flat-six engine rated at 379 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque. The S models, meanwhile, get a beefier 3.0-liter unit good for 443 hp and 390 lb-ft.

Read more about the 2020 Porsche 911: https://www.edmunds.com/porsche/911/2020/

About the 2019 BMW 8 Series — M850i xDrive Coupe

The new 2019 BMW 8 Series takes a lot of its predecessor’s spirit and combines it with a lot more power, performance and technology. This driver’s car won’t force you to sacrifice comfort. It’s just as pleasing to take on a curvy road aggressively as it is to cruise leisurely on a weekend getaway. Overall, we think the 2019 BMW 8 Series effectively does its heritage proud while giving shoppers of big luxury coupe and convertibles something new to lust after.

The four-seat 2019 BMW 8 Series is offered in a single M850i xDrive trim as either a coupe or convertible. Both are powered by a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 (523 horsepower, 553 lb-ft of torque). An eight-speed automatic is the only transmission offered and sends power to all four wheels.

We have high expectations for this segment when it comes to performance, and the 8 Series meets or exceeds them. More noteworthy, however, is how easy the 8 Series is to drive, from the everyday commute all the way to its high limits. It oozes the kind of confidence that encourages you to drive harder.

For comfort, the 8 Series gets all the high marks expected from a fine luxury sport coupe. What’s more impressive is that it’s this comfortable in combination with the superb overall performance. The customary sacrifices in relation to ride quality and noise are blissfully absent.

The look and feel of the 8 Series’ cabin are a huge asset, and it’s also easy to live with. All controls are pleasantly intuitive. And at least for front passengers, it’s a wonderful place to do some long-distance touring. Deductions for rear-seat space and visibility are pretty common in this class, too.

Read more about the 2019 BMW 8 Series: https://www.edmunds.com/bmw/8-series/2019/

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