And they come wth a minimum of 441kW.
German marque BMW has finally ended the generational wait for a proper M-badged 8-Series grand tourer. As the original never got the full M treatment (despite wearing M division chassis numbers on the 850CSi), the arrival of the new M8 and M8 Competition are something to behold. And with a 4.4-litre biturbo V8 under the bonnet, it certainly makes quite the racket too.
That glorious 8-cylinder mill, shared with the M850i, produces 441kW and 750Nm as standard in the M8, with power going to all-four wheels and enabling a century sprint time of 3.3-seconds for the coupe (and 3.4-seconds for the convertible). Step into an M8 Competition and peak power jumps to 460kW, while the century sprint time is shaved by .1 of a second.
It’s worth noting that the ‘original’ prototype M8 and its V12 mill produced 410kW from its naturally-aspirated setup. That’s a 31kW difference. Just saying.
The M xDrive all-wheel drive system offers up several different power-split options, from the standard adaptive rear-biased setup all the way to a rear-only ‘Drift’ mode that should never be engaged on public roads. Also standard is the 8-speed ZF automatic that’s been tuned specially for additional ferocity in what is the M division’s flagship motor.
What is new is something called adaptive braking, which allows drivers to configure the feel of the brake pedal. While intelligent in theory, we can’t help but wonder if it’ll just feel entirely artificial, rather than fully intuitive.
What is also new for the M8 is a plethora of strengthening and stiffening addenda that BMW claims has made the performance flagship markedly stiffer than the 8-Series on which it’s based, and even the bonkers M5 performance saloon that sits below it. A 24mm reduced centre of gravity has come as a result of that and due to it, BMW M suggests that it’ll go round the Nürburgring Nordschleife faster than anything else to bear their badge.
No doubt a blistering ‘Ring time will be due in some part to the tyres, which are 20-inch diameter as standard, wearing 275/30 tyres up front and 285/35 in the rear. If 20s aren’t your thing, BMW will happily relieve you of your hard-earned money for larger units. This of course is just the top of the iceberg of aesthetic changes, with a hyper dose of aggression applied for good measure. Competition cars ditch the restraint and go full-bore with carbon-fibre nonsense on the boot, bumpers and grille to mark itself out from the ‘vanilla’ M8.
The interior hasn’t been spared either, though BMW’s stayed conscious of the 8er’s positioning as a grand tourer. So even though the M8 os perhaps the most aggressive car that most of us will ever drive, it’s still a cacophony of leather, technology, and more leather. There is some carbon-fibre for good measure, as well as a healthy smattering of M badges to ensure you’re aware of the potency under the bonnet.
BMW Australia has yet to provide a concrete timeline of when we can expect to see the M8 on our shores. It really isn’t a matter of ‘if,’ only ‘when,’ as our voracious appetite for high-performance machines means that there’d be a significant loss of opportunity if BMW’s local office didn’t put this on the list of models to introduce. Further owing to our preference towards high-performance models, it should mean that we’ll be spared the ‘plain’ M8 and only get the full-bore M8 Competition, which we most certainly will not complain about.