BMW M8 Competition: here comes the Gran Coupé

The Gran Coupé is surely the most handsome iteration of BMW’s new 8-series – and now there’s an M8 version. Like most car maker’s nowadays, Munich’s model range follows a schedule you can set your watch to – so this car is no surprise – but it’s certainly a looker. Add up all the best bits of the BMW 8-series along with the usual over-the-top M-treatment and you’re pretty much there.

The specs should come as no surprise either. The Gran Coupé uses the same 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that produces 617bhp and 553lb ft as the standard M8, and will nail the 0-62mph sprint in 3.2sec. As you’d expect, the new car comes with the same performance-enhancing tech as the standard car, too, including customisable brake-by-wire tech and and eight-speed M Steptronic ‘box among other things. You can read about the standard M8 below.

M8: Performance parts

Munich has already revealed new M Performance parts for the flagship Eight.

Unlike the divisive M Performance bits for the new 1-series, BMW’s range of 8-series trinkets actually look quite tasteful. There’s no weird Mansory-style carbonfibre here, and no extra bits of wing or fin, either. Instead, this M Performance kit just replaces normally plastic bits with exposed carbonfibre ones, and the effect is more subtle and classier than we were expecting.

We’re not sure how much weight-saving these parts are actually doing, but they’re certainly eye-catching. There’s decorative M Performance parts for everything from the sills, to the kidney grilles and engine cover. And BMW says they’re all temperature and UV resistant – so you can put them through a car wash, too.

There’s M Performance parts for the inside, too, including a bespoke M Performance Oro steering wheel, too. The new wheel gets lashings of Alacantara, carbonfibre paddles and other racing-focused details.

And more thing. If you want to actually improve the performance of an M8 with M Performance parts, BMW is also selling sport brake pads. Promising ‘Shorter braking distance, improved response, higher thermal resilience,’ the new pads could be the ultimate addon to the car’s brake-by-wire system.

M8: what you need to know

The M8 has climbed to the very top of the M Division tree and is available to order now. Here’s all we know…

It’s just an M5 Comp with two doors, right?

If you’re feeling particularly cynical, yes. The new M8 uses the same 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that produces 617bhp and 553lb ft, making the M8 good for a 0-62mph sprint in 3.2sec for the coupe and 3.3sec for the drop-top. By default, the M8 is limited to 155mph but that restriction can be removed by the M Drivers Pack, allowing a maximum speed of 189mph for both the coupe and the convertible (below). Prepare for expensively coiffed hair-dos to be ruffled aplenty at those kind of speeds…

The M8 models are all-wheel drive but, unlike the M850i, the M8 uses the same drivetrain as the M5. That allows it to disengage drive to the front wheels for some tail-happy powerslide action. Again, like the M5.

BMW says the chassis has been developed ‘with track use in mind’, pointing to the M8’s ‘minimised weight, ideally-sized wheelbase and exceptionally wide tracks.’ The testing procedure also included some comparison time with the M8 GTE; ironically the racer departs as the road car arrives.

Any other performance car nuggets?

There’s now a Setup button, and M-Mode, which will allow drivers to ‘tune’ the assistance systems to their skill-levels or requirements.

Drivers will be able to choose between the usual engine characteristics – from Eco Pro to Sport Plus – while the chassis can also be switched between Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus too. Oh, and there’s a brake-by-wire system of sorts.

Brake-by-wire on a BMW M car?

Interestingly, and more controversially, BMW reveals the new M8 has its first brake-by-wire system. Munich says brake activation, booster and control functions will work together to make the brake feel just as customisable as the traction control or steering weight. BMW says there will be two ‘feel’ settings on the left pedal, and it’ll be compatible with steel or ceramic stoppers, too.

Alongside improving safety, BMW says the feedback to the driver is ‘unimpaired by wet road surfaces, significant lateral acceleration or high brake temperatures’ although we’d argue that those symptoms themselves are a type of feedback… Can you tell we’re sceptical? We’ll work out if this is a step too far and a numbing of the M-experience.

Anything else I should know?

The interior in general has had a bit of a proper M spruce-up, with bespoke centre console switchgear, the metallic red toggle switches for two configurable M modes on the steering wheel, a new red hue for the infotainment system (instead of the usual orange) and M-specific instrument display.

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