It seems like we’ve been waiting forever for the BMW M8 to come along and now here it is in a full range encompassing coupe and convertible along with higher-powered Competition versions of both.
Let’s dive straight into the powertrain, which is lifted wholesale from the M5. That’s no bad thing as the 4.4-litre, twin-turbo V8 generates some enormous figures. In standard guise, the motor produces 600hp and 553lb/ft of torque, driving through an eight-speed automatic and xDrive all-wheel-drive. It’s a combination that fires this two-ton lump of GT from 0-62mph in 3.1secs in coupe form, with the droptop just a tenth of a second slower.
The engine in the M8 Competition is massaged up to 625hp, dropping the 0-62 time by a tenth. All M8s are limited to 155mph, but the optional M Driver’s Pack raises the top speed to 189mph. Whichever way you slice it, though, the M8 is one of the quickest big GTs there is.
The chassis hardware is familiar from the M5 as well, including ultra-clever adaptive suspension and a race track only rear-wheel-drive mode. There are many other drive modes for every type of surface from a bone-dry motorway to a snow-covered farm track.
The brakes are enormous, the front discs spanning 15.5in, gripped by six-piston calipers. Or there’s an optional set of carbon ceramic rotors measuring a mammoth 15.75in at the front. Stamping on those must be like running into a brick wall.
That’s just a few highlights as there is enough going on underneath the M8 to fill a book. Suffice it to say that every aspect of the chassis control and assistance systems have many different settings that come into play in a given driving mode. Or the driver can spend the rest of time finding their own preferred combination.
Changes to the styling are surprisingly subtle, with not much to give away the difference between an M8 and the lesser M850i. There’s more assertive front and rear bumpers, a blacked-out grille, bigger exhausts and a vestigial rear spoiler. It rolls on 20in wheels. There’s an optional exterior carbon fibre trim package to make the M8 a bit more obvious.
Inside, upgrades amount to M Sport seats and a smattering of M badging. The M8 comes loaded to the gunnels with just about every gadget BMW offers, along with all the requisite safety tech.
The M8 has a usefully big boot as well, underlining its GT credentials. The coupe can swallow 420 litres of stuff, while the convertible hold 350 litres.
Prices start at £123,435 for the standard M8 coupe. Order books are open now, with deliveries scheduled to start in October.
By Graham King