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You may have received a laser hit or a qucik shot on the radar. We don't normally keep the radar on constant - a click of the button sometimes real fast will grab your speed, lock on the display and then the signal will cease to omit.
You may also want to check to see if you are set on city of highway.
Power off the RD using its power button. Then hold down the two programming buttons and press the power button while holding down these the two programming buttons. Release all three buttons once RESET is displayed on the RD's display. Your 8500 has now been reset back to the original factory settings with all bands enabled. You can download a PDF duplicate of the original user manual from Escort's web site.
I take it that pressing the 8500's City button won't switch sensitivity modes? If so, and if performing a RESET doesn't resolve this problem, then either the firmware is corrupted or (most likely) the micro-switch for the City button has gone bad and needs to either be replaced or possibly resoldered so that its two terminals are once again making full contact with the solder pads on the circuit board.
About the only thing to try with the Escort 8500 and the x50 is to do a full reset. Hold all 3 buttons down while turning the detector on.
I believe Escort will still work on it, there will just be a service charge with no warranty.