BMW has finally released full details on its new range-topping flagship. The sexy two-door M8 comes in coupe and convertible flavors, with a souped-up 625-hp "Competition" version available of each. Interesting tech includes variable strength braking and a cheeky drift mode.
We've been hearing about the new M8 for at least two years now – we first saw it in camouflage form back in 2017, and BMW made it clear last year that there'd be a drop-top version. But now it's time for the wacky wraps to come off and the world to get a look at the new top dog in the BMW M performance pack.
Where the regular 8-series makes a healthy 523 hp from its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, the M version makes an even healthier 600, and the Competition version is positively bursting with vitality at 625 horses, holding the same peak torque of 750 Nm (553 lb-ft) some 200 rpm higher to make the difference.
Power is fed to the xDrive AWD drivetrain through an 8-speed M Steptronic transmission, which offers three automatic shift modes in addition to paddle shift. Likewise, you can choose between three drivetrain modes: regular old 4WD, 4WD sport, which biases power toward the rear wheels, or 2WD mode, which emulates a straight rear-wheel drive.
BMW knows what kind of loosey-goosey shenanigans you're planning if you choose to go 2WD, which you can only access by switching off the traction control. They might as well have a Drift mode button, complete with a backwards baseball cap icon. The company calls this mode "a driving experience of singular purity for the experienced wheelman." C'mon BMW, it's 2019. That's wheelperson, if you please.
All of this adds up to a brisk 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration time of 3.3 seconds for the M8 coupe and 3.4 seconds for the M8 convertible. Ponying up the extra for the Competition models will buy you an extra tenth of a second on either body, so you'd best make some plans about what to do with all your free time.
Perhaps you could while the tenths of seconds away fiddling with the multitudinous buttons, knobs, touchpads and switches in the M-spec cabin, which includes cute little red M1 and M2 buttons on the steering wheel to let you know when you're doing something no lowly regular 8-series owner can afford to. That includes fiddling with the M-spec HUD options, mucking about with drivetrain options and playing with the M-Modes – road, sport and track (only on the Competition cars).
And changing the feel of the brake pedals is also a possibility. The M8 cars use electronically actuated hydraulics, meaning that you can choose between a loungey, luxury, long-travel brake pedal and something much tighter and sportier when it's time to carve some apexes.
Both M8 models look as tight as a quacker's cloacha, with the convertibles edging it in the coolness stakes by virtue of being convertibles. Expect a 15-second wait when you open or close the multi-layer fabric roof, a process that can be done on the move.
You can also expect enhanced cornering stability over the regular 8 series thanks to a braced-up chassis designed to add rigidity, torsional strength and stability. The adaptive suspension damping gets an M-spec overhaul, and 20-inch light alloy wheels are standard.
The M8, in all its variants, is the most expensive M car the company has ever rolled out. Before you add taxes, destination charges or anything out of the options catalog, you're up for US$133,000 for the M8 Coupe, $142,500 for the Convertible, $146,000 for the Competition Coupe and $155,500 for the Competition convertible.
Check out the M8 in the video below, or an elegant sufficiency of really nice photos in the gallery.
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