The "B" in BMW stands for something different to the people of the M division — it stands for "bonkers." Because it was this group of engineers who transformed the new 5 Series into a 600-horsepower, all-wheel-drive sedanimal we know as the new M5. And with that car out of the way, it was only a matter of time until the M team turned its attention to the handsome new 8 Series.
2020 BMW M8 and M8 Competition First Look
The German Camaro Gets the ZL1 Treatment
It has more power, naturally, as well as a firmer and more track-oriented suspension. But the all-wheel-drive system is also upgraded, as are the electronics to help the driver put all of that newfound power to the best use. Of course, the exterior has received an M redressing with new bodywork, black chrome trim (carbon-fiber accents are optional) and some intriguing new paint colors. The interior, too, gets a redo with an M model-specific instrument panel display, a new shift lever and programmable buttons for the various M driving modes. Oh, and you can ratchet everything up another notch with the M8 Competition models.
Just M Stuff
All the available space under the hood is taken up by a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine. That engine, in standard trim, makes a stout 600 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 553 lb-ft of torque from just 1,800 rpm all the way to 5,700 rpm. Writing a bigger check for the Competition models gives you an additional 17 hp and makes the same 553 lb-ft of torque available to 5,860 rpm. For comparison, an off-the-shelf M850i produces 523 hp and the same 553 lb-ft of torque. Radiators have been enlarged, and additional engine oil and transmission oil coolers have been added to cool all the new hotness.
Acceleration numbers are, well, silly. The "standard" M8 coupe and convertibles should hit 60 mph in 3.1 and 3.2 seconds, respectively, while the Competition versions shave off a critical tenth of a second to drop the numbers to 3.0 and 3.1 seconds. Keep in mind that these cars weigh in around 4,500 pounds. Top speeds are governed to 155 mph, but that can be overcome with the M Driver's package that allows the M8 to run to its drag-limited top speed of 189 mph. Thankfully, that same package also includes a free ticket to a BMW Performance Center driving school. We, along with the rest of society, can't recommend that enough.
Handling can go one of three ways in the new M8: sane and sporty, track-focused or mentally unstable — the latter is thanks to the rear-wheel-drive-only setting. The M8 comes standard with M-tuned adaptive suspension, new bushings, swivel bearings, and unique strut bars. Competition models add even firmer suspension settings, stiffer motor mounts, a more aggressive alignment, and metal joints instead of rubber bushings in the rear suspension to accommodate higher cornering loads. And for those who own shares in a tire company, you do have the ability to fully disable traction control and the all-wheel-drive system to create a vehicle capable of terrorizing any Cars and Coffee event you can think of.
Thankfully, carbon-ceramic brakes can be equipped on either the M8 or M8 Competition, but the Competition models will hide the brakes behind forged aluminum 20-inch wheels as opposed to the standard lightweight alloy 20-inch wheels on the regular M8. Non-run-flat high-performance tires across both models are 275/35 front and 285/35 rear.
Pricing and Release Date
Pricing for the M8 starts at $133,995 for the coupe and $143,995 for the convertible. The Competition models start at $146,995 for the coupe and $156,495 for the convertible, with all prices including destination. That makes the M8 a rather attractive option against other notable German adversaries such as the new Porsche 911 Carrera 4S and the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S. That's impressive company for an all-new model, and we look forward to putting the new M8 models to the test in the upcoming months.