BMW’s 8 Series is a fast, refined and beautiful grand tourer. So how do you improve on that? BMW’s answer was to hand it to the M division for more power, a unique chassis set up and some dramatic styling tweaks. Behold the M8 Competition Coupé; a two-door coupé for those who demand the ultimate in BMW M performance.
The 8 Series is an elegant and sleek sports car, with the balanced proportions of a luxury-class grand tourer. For the M8 Competition, the M Division designers have added visual drama and aggression with a ‘double-bubble’ carbon roof, derived from classic sports racing cars where the roof had to be profiled to clear the driver and co-driver’s racing helmets. At the front, three extra-large intakes provide cooling air to engine, brakes and transmission. The grille itself features the black double bars that are an M Division signature, while other distinguishing features include M design ‘gills’ in the front side panels. Moving to the rear, the diffuser and apron is specific to the M8 Competition, there are twin exhaust tailpipes in black chrome and a spoiler on the bootlid. Inside, you’ll find M accents on the steering wheel and centre console and the M Sport seats have perforated 3D quilting. Full Merino leather trim is standard and there’s a touch of Alcantara™ here throughout the cockpit and there for the track car vibe.
Developing 625hp and 750Nm of torque from its high-revving 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, the M8 Competition Coupé hits 62 miles an hour in just 3.2 seconds from a standing start. Top speed is governed to 155mph, though if you’re planning to do a lot of autobahn commuting you might be interested in the M Driver package, which bypasses the governor for a 189mph top speed. All that power is channelled via the rear-biased M xDrive all-wheel drive system that brings the front wheels into play only when the rears are losing traction. Complementing the unique powertrain, the M8 Competition’s chassis and adaptive suspension set up was developed during extensive testing at the Nürburgring, the Miramas circuit in France and even on frozen ice in Sweden’s Arctic region. The set up can be configured to the driver’s preferences, with a choice of Efficient, Sport and Sport Plus for the engine and chassis settings of Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus. M Compound brakes are standard while the M-specific exhaust offers a selectable louder engine note via the M Sound Control button on the centre console.
The M8 Competition Coupé is comprehensively equipped as standard, featuring BMW Live Cockpit Professional and the latest BMW Operating System 7.0. Behind the steering wheel all instrumentation is via a 12.3-inch digital screen and there’s a further 10.25-inch Control Display in the centre console. BMW Comfort Access, wireless phone charging, the BMW Display Key, Adaptive LED headlights and interior ambient lighting all feature as standard, as does the head-up display. As you’d expect, there is a plethora of optional packages, including BMW Laserlight that offers a high-beam range of 600 metres yet automatically avoids dazzling oncoming road users.
The M8 Competition base specification includes BMW’s comprehensive Driving Assistant driver aid system and Parking Assistant Plus. Cruise Control system has a braking function as well as Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking, which also alerts the driver when a cyclist is detected. BMW’s optional Driving Assistant Professional adds steering and lane control assistance, active side collision protection and the Evasion Assistant that steers away from danger when a collision appears imminent. Other Driving Assistant Professional features include junction warning, wrong-way warning and front-crossing traffic warning.
Verdict: With the new M8 Competition Coupé, BMW’s M Division has taken the sleek, sophisticated and swift 8 Series grand tourer and given it a more sporting edge, via a sharper chassis set up, more power from the superlative twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 and a dash of extra visual drama. Yet with the option of Comfort mode for the chassis settings, it can also fulfil the role of a relaxed, mile-munching grand tourer. It may be a cliché, but this is a sports car you could drive to the Nürburgring for a day’s track driving and then head back home again in complete comfort.
KEY INFORMATION**LENGTH: 4,867mm
**Values will vary depending on vehicle specification, trim level and optional equipment selected. Vehicle performance figures shown are for base model.