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What is it like on the inside?

When the opposition for this car comes from the V8 versions of the Bentley Continental GT, Aston Martin DB11 – or, at a relatively small stretch, the Ferrari Portofino – there's one thing we have to get out of the way at the start. You can easily option-up a BMW 116d with exactly the same control layout and displays as the M8.

Now, iDrive does work very well. In fact for us, despite a few minor irritations, it's the best interface in the industry. But imagine driving this super-grand coupe and noticing that the guy next to you in the traffic in his three-cylinder diesel hatch shares so much with you. To be happy rather than resentful would take a particularly egalitarian outlook.

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Well, that's not quite fair. The M8's dials do take on a different look when you hit the M Mode button. This emphasises the revs and gear, both in the instrument pack and the HUD. You can also scroll through g-meters, oil temps and the like. Long-press the M Mode and you're in 'track', which also cancels the auto-braking and auto-steering functions. So the car doesn't nudge you just when you clip a quick apex or outbrake into a chicane.

Don't confuse M Modes with the Setup Modes. They cover combinations of engine and transmission aggression, torque distribution, steering weight, damping, and even brake response (it's a by-wire system). You can set two of your favourite Setup combos onto shortcut M1 and M2 buttons – those red ones on the steering wheel. Without them, it'd be configuration rabbit-hole babylon.

The M8 does use very nice trim materials. Decoratively stitched glove-soft leather wraps every surface that isn't metal or glass or carbonfibre. These materials are almost all the real thing, not petrochemical-based impersonations.

The seats do a decent job of cosseting you on the motorway but clamping you through corners. That applies whatever your height or BMI – they adjust for width. You can even option-up heated door and centre armrests.

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Things aren't so good in the back, mind. Space is short. Still, a pair of Isofix mounts will help if you've three-year-old twins.

Whether their double buggy will fit the 420-litre boot is another question. But used as a two-seater you can flop the rear backrests forward and get a surprising amount in there.

A word on the Bowers & Wilkins hi-fi option. It's terrifically spacious and detailed, but the treble's far too harsh. We'd avoid.

The convertible? We like. The heating and superb management of turbulence mean that even roof-down it's not too fussy about the weather.

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