We knew that BMW’s M Performance wing had its engineering sights on the brand’s latest 8 Series grand tourer. We knew that whatever the black magic speed practitioners would likely blow our argyle cashmere socks off. We weren’t, however, expecting such a healthy M Performance injection with the debut of the M8 Coupe, Convertible and Competition models.
To save you time from scrolling through the voluminous write-ups and deeper than the Mariana Trench stat sheets, The Drive has condensed the M8 Coupe, Convertible, and Competition into a list of five of its coolest details. Engineering and details nerds shouldn’t fret, though, as if you scroll past our list, you can muddy yourself in all the M8's details in The Skinny. Have at it.
5.) Customers Can Choose Between 600 and 617 Horsepower
Though Competition models are usually saved for mid-cycle updates, BMW launched the M8 and M8 Competition together. Powering all three cars—i.e. the Coupe, Convertible, and Competition—is the same 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 carried over from the less hot M850i. In standard M8 Coupe and Convertible guise, the V8 produces 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. Customers that choose the M8 Competition will get an uprated 617 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. Choose your fighter carefully.
4.) The Entirety of the M8's Dynamics are Customizable
Whether you want a different sound to be released from the M8’s exhaust, the car’s top speed, how ferocious you like launches, braking characteristics, where the engine’s power is sent, and how firm you like the suspension, nearly every dynamic is completely customizable to produce the sort of car each owner likes driving. All of which is controlled by BMW’s iDrive user interface.
3.) It’s Probably Smarter Than You
Among the M8’s Driver Assistance Systems, customers will be able to enjoy Frontal Collision Warning, City Mitigation Warning, Active Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Surround View Camera, Parking ASsistant, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Speed Limit Information, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go functions, Active Side Collision Protection, Extended Traffic Jam Assistant, and Front Cross Traffic Alert. By no means is the M8 autonomous. There is no such thing. Nor is it marketed as, but the automated and driver assistance systems push BMW further into an automated future.
2.) Let the Bowers & Wilkins Audio System Bump Your Entire Neighborhood
In the long list of automotive audio, few systems are worth their salt. Most are tinny, unequal, bass monsters that wouldn’t be able to spell fidelity let alone deliver it. The Bowers & Wilkins systems are not one of those stereos. First launched in Volvos, the Bowers & Wilkins system is among the top audio units that audiophiles clamor for. It's crisp, providing a delicate fidelity across a wide range of music. If you love music, you’ll love this system.
1.) It Isn’t What You’d Call Cheap
BMW states that the M8 Coupe will carry a $133,000 tag, with the Convertible costing $142,500, and the M8 Competition following with a price of $142,500 for the Coupe and $155,500 for the Competition Convertible. None of these include destination.
From The Drive’s first review of the all-new 8 Series, “It’s been 20 years since the original, exotically-styled 8 Series cast its 12-cylinder spell on us. Times have changed.” Though the 8 Series has increased in weight, length, and width; and grand tourers aren’t as ubiquitous as they once were, the 8 Series can stack up to any of its pricier brethren. The M8’s further that capability.
Much of the standard 8 Series remains. Customers still enjoy a plush and extravagant cabin, the 8 Series’ adaptive suspension still evens out the road’s undulations, cracks, and crevices. And powering the M8s is the now common S63 twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8. That, however, is where the similarities end as the M8 Coupe and Convertible, as well as the M8 Competition Coupe and Competition Convertible, stray off the path of normalcy and embrace the ludicrous.
Indeed, under the M8’s hood is the twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 from the standard car, the 5 Series, and the 7 Series. However, thanks to an upgraded cooling system, oil supply, new exhaust manifold, a high-pressure fuel injection system, as well as new engine mapping, the M8’s make either 600 or 617 horsepower depending on spec. M Performance also stiffened the
M8’s engine mounts for better weight transfer, improved transmission delivery, and more immediate turn-in.
According to BMW’s M Performance division, the M8’s all-wheel-drive and uprated power allows the performance grand tourer to hit 62 mph in just 3.2 seconds for the M8 and 3.1 seconds in the M8 Competition. BMW’s M engineers also gave the M8 the M5’s trick all-wheel-drive system that allows customers to choose between all-wheel-drive security and the leeriness of rear-wheel-drive. Hooligans, BMW’s talking you.
Though the chassis of the 8 Series was quite refined already, M Performance’s engineers left no stone unturned as the M8s come standard with Adaptive M Suspension, as well as new control arms, wishbones, and suspension sub-frames to increase the body’s rigidity. Much of what BMW learned with its M8 racecar was translated into the road car, including specific suspension setups that give the customer the option to blitz the Nurburgring, Spa, Miramas in Southern France, or Arjeplog, Sweden.
A new Track Mode will be available for those who spec an M8 Competition. This turns off driver assistance, audio, and the central control systems to better focus the driver and ensure they concentrate on the task of driving to the limits.
Along with all the power and technology increases, BMW’s M Performance fitted the M8 models with M compound brakes that are cross-drilled, vented units with six-piston calipers at the front, while a floating single-piston caliper at the rear. Customers can, however, option BMW’s M carbon ceramic brakes which deliver better thermal management and performance. The M8s also features BMW’s latest version of brake-by-wire. Though previous BMW models have been fitted with the system, the latest generation will allow customers to choose from two braking settings; Comfort and Sport, which is a first for any manufacturer.
Technology abounds in the M8 as BMW offers it with a suite of Driver Assistance Systems. Customers will be able to enjoy Frontal Collision Warning, City Mitigation Warning, Active Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Surround View Camera, Parking ASsistant, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Speed Limit Information, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go functions, Active Side Collision Protection, Extended Traffic Jam Assistant, and Front Cross Traffic Alert. By no means is the M8 autonomous, nor is it marketed as, but the automated and driver assistance systems push BMW further into an automated future. And some of these systems will be optional extras.
As for pricing, BMW states that the 2020 M8 Coupe will set buyers back $133,000, while it will take $146,000 for the M8 Competition Coupe. As for the 2020 M8 Convertible BMW wants $142,500 and $155,500 for the M8 Competition Convertible. You’ll also still be on the hook for tax, title, and destination. Back to The Drive’s first test, we posited that the 8 Series was already within spitting distance of Bentley’s Continental GT and Aston Martin’s V8 DB11. It just needed a little something extra. That something seems to be the M Performance badge at the back, front, side, and all along its engine. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel.