BMW M8 Competition: can the most powerful M car ever be a proper luxury car?
I'll save you the lazy "Hello M8" gag and get straight to first impressions as that's all I've got given TG Garage’s latest inmate – a brand new range-topping £150k, two-tonne Bavarian grand tourer also known as a BMW M8 Competition – only arrived two days ago.
To the cynics this M8 Competition is an M5 Competition in an 8 Series body. To the pragmatists it's a solid and reliable competitor to an Aston Martin DB11. To the three separate delivery drivers who catcalled the car on my way home yesterday evening, it's "very, very nice", "meaty" and "sick".
Given the sheer size of it, the sculpted hips, angular roofline and carbon accoutrements as part of the £20k ‘Ultimate Pack’ (which throws the kitchen sink at the car plus carbon engine covers, carbon brakes, laser lights and a ninja star-esque diamond surround Bowers & Wilkins speakers) I tend to agree with them.
Now, if you’re a bit confused by the ever-growing BMW M range (which isn’t tough) you may be confused by what we have here. Well, it’s the top of the M-tree. And not just that, but the most powerful production car BMW has ever built too – which is a fantastic cartridge of pub ammo.
So are the facts that the M8 Comp’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 is good for a seriously hefty 616bhp and 553lb ft of torque. Plus, if you tick the box on the options list that says ‘Driver’s Package’ (which we have) you’ll get the derestricted top speed of 189mph to match the 0-62mph time of 3.2 seconds.
And after just one 70-mile drive down a motorway I can tell that all that power, delivered through all four wheels (you can disable the front driveshafts to make it RWD, which we will try when we’re feeling brave enough) and an eight-speed auto gearbox means keeping it at a UK speed limit is very tough as it just wants to run away from you. Thankfully it’s fitted with ‘Driving Assistant Professional’, which includes semi-autonomous radar cruise which you can deploy as a velocity belt to keep your licence safe. I think we’ll be doing that a lot. Especially during winter.
This M8 comes as part of a subtle facelift that gifts new colours, wheel and trim options as well as a bigger infotainment screen inside and lightly tweaked front-end styling. Plus the ability to pay £250 to have the original M Sport roundel badging (which featured on the performance brand’s first ever racing car back in 1973) instead of your standard BMW badge. Ours does. And people really notice it contrasted against the Skyscraper Grey metallic paint.
Inside we’ve got Silverstone merino leather against black which really does feel rather luxurious. As it should. But can it hold a candle with true luxury brands like Bentley? We’ll have to find out. But what I want to know is exactly what the M8 is? On first impressions it doesn’t know whether it wants to be a luxury car or a super car. It’s got elements of both (a stiff ride and sensational shove but unsupportive comfy seats, for example) but is it any good at either of them? We’ve got six months to find out.