BMW M8 Competition - long term review - Report No:6 2023 | Top Gear
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Long-term review

BMW M8 Competition - long term review

£129,750 (£150,050 as tested)
Published: 19 Apr 2023

You won’t believe the BMW M8’s 0-60 time

Electric cars and their jowl-flapping instant torque are really spoiling the joy of 0-60mph times, aren’t they? What once used to be an all-conquering Top Trump factoid of acceleration has now been diluted down to a whimsy tit-bit. Everything from an electric pick-up truck (the Rivian R1T) to a Kia EV6 GT can smoke a supercar off the line and hit 60mph in under four seconds, nowadays. But this electrified democratisation of acceleration has also got a bit same-y. So I’d hate to admit it, but over the last year or so I’ve become supremely disinterested in 0-60mph times. So much so, I didn’t even know what the BMW M8’s was. Which was an oversight, as having had a play with its Launch Control (as a matter of scientific testing, officer), I can confirm it’s rather outrageous.

Did you know that the BMW M8 can do 0-60mph in 2.7 seconds? I sure as hell didn’t. That makes it quicker off the line than a Caterham 620R, Ferrari 296 GTB and Mercedes-AMG One. And this is in a car that weighs a smidge under two tonnes and straddles a weird hinterland of luxury and performance. Now, I know that lots of heavy electric cars can go fast, but remember this has got all those old-school parameters to juggle in order to get up and go; the fact it’s got a big inertia-filled V8 engine, one that’s got two turbochargers to spool up, an eight-speed gearbox plus a complicated four wheel-drive system with differentials to contend with.

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But where EVs make acceleration seamless and sickly, there’s drama and theatre to doing it in the M8 which makes it more exciting. First you need to de-activate the Dynamic Stability Control, then select Sequential Mode with gear 1 and Drivelogic programme S3. Once that pre-flight check is complete, you stomp on the brake with your left foot, mash the accelerator pedal (beyond the resistance at the full-throttle position into the kick-down) and wait for the flag symbol to flash up in the instrument cluster. Then once the engine speed is adjusted and you're bouncing off a temporary limiter (to get the turbos happy and revs in the meaty bit), you release the brake and hold on tight as the car upshifts for you, firing towards the horizon and to 60mph in less than three seconds. Three!

Now, you kind of expect the M8 to be fast. But not that fast. Which makes it more enjoyable when it does do it. Because it does it with such ease and repeatability. The very clever M xDrive all-wheel drive system and Active M Differential do a lot to get all 616bhp and 553lb ft of torque down to the road with barely a squeak from the tyres. In fact, I’m finding this switchable 4WD set up to have even more personality then the M3 xDrive we ran. Compared to its smaller performance saloon sibling, there’s more latitude between the normal ‘4WD’ mode which makes the car incredibly confidence inspiring. The sportier ‘4WD Sport’ mode allows some slip and maintains the rear-drive for longer, while the complete lunacy of the ‘2WD’ mode completely deactivates the front axle and completely changes the attitude of the car. And get rid of rear tyres quicker than Vanish does stains.

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