Claimed by Munich to represent the “pinnacle of its sports car range”, the most powerful version of the revived 8 Series differs subtly from its sibling externally, with both models sporting a wider front air intake to aid cooling, a high gloss black grille with the same hue applying to the outer edges of the Competition, more flared wheel arches, M specific side vents, a redesigned front and rear apron with the rear diffuser finished in a contrasting colour, aerodynamic mirrors painted high gloss black on the Competition, and a new rear spoiler again painted black on the Competition.
Riding as standard on 20-inch M light alloy wheels with the Competition being fitted with forged M light alloys of the same size, the M8 can also be equipped with a carbon exterior package as an option, though all coupe models sport the carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof with a fabric soft-top, which can be opened and closed in 15 seconds, being employed on the cabriolet.
Unlike its exterior, the updates underneath the M8’s skin are more extensive with BMW claiming that a “precise interaction between powertrain, chassis technology and aerodynamics” had been achieved thanks to prolonged testing at its private racetrack in France, at the Nürburgring and at its winter testing facility in Arjeplog, Sweden.
Measuring 4 867 mm in overall length with a wheelbase of 2 827 mm, height of 1 362 mm and width of 1 907 mm, the M8’s chassis has been designed with track use in mind, while the rear axle is also new as is the improved anti-rollbars and the inclusion of the so-called X-brace made from steel.
Also equipped with the M-tuned Servotronic electro-mechanical power steering system with two modes; Comfort and Sport, all models come with the M Adaptive suspension that allows for the choosing of three modes; Comfort, Sport and Sport+, the Active M Differential with M Dynamic mode, and M compound brakes with a six-piston calliper setup at the front and single at the rear.
Optional are the M carbon ceramic brakes that measure 400 mm at the front as opposed to 395 mm, and 380 mm at the back, and the M Sport exhaust which comes standard on the Competition.
Debuting on the M8, the new Setup feature allows for an overview of various settings and which comes with four modes for the engine; Efficient, Comfort, Sport and Sport+, while the all-new M Mode adjusts both the instrument cluster display, Heads-Up Display and driver assistance systems based on two settings; Road and Sport with a Track mode reserved for the Competition.
Inside, the interior’s revisions include a leather-wrapped M steering wheel, choice of two Merino leather upholstery hues, bi-colour/Alcantara trim for the Competition, perforated leather M Sport seats, an M bespoke instrument cluster, carbon fibre inserts and for the Competition, a headliner from the BMW Individual catalogue and contrasting colour stitching on the centre console, seat bolsters, instrument cluster and door panels.
Up front, the M8 derives its power from the same 4.4-litre bi-turbo V8 used in the M5, which in standard guise produces 441kW/750Nm, and 460 kW and the Competition with torque remaining unchanged.
Like its sedan sibling and the standard M850i, the M8 sends its grunt to all four wheels via BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system, through the sports-tuned eight-speed Steptronic gearbox, with the inclusion of the aforementioned Active M Differential allowing the driver to select between 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD modes.
In terms of performance, both models are limited to 250 km/h or 305 km/h with the optional M Driver’s Package box ticked, though the M8 will complete the 0-100 km/h dash in 3.3 seconds with the cabriolet taking 0.1 second longer. The Competition coupe meanwhile will dispatch the benchmark sprint in 3.2 seconds and the cabriolet in 3.3 seconds.
While pricing in the United States has been stickered from $133 000 (R1 968 606) for the coupe and from $146 000 (R2 161 026) for the Competition, local specification is yet to be announced, though BMW South Africa has confirmed that all four variants will go on sale from the final quarter of this year.