If you’re truly into Bimmers, the original M8 was perhaps the best promise BMW didn’t keep and made no one ever know about it. 550hp deriving from a tweaked V12, manual gearbox and a lightweight and wide bodywork sounded like the perfect recipe for the definitive hi-performance GT. Abandoned after being deemed too heavy to be a proper M Division car, it languished in the dungeons of Munich for years, before being shown in 2010 to a restricted group of journalists. Yet, in 2019, finally they brought to the streets the first M8. Make no mistake, the original idea of the 8 series has been developed into a modern car fit for a new generation of drivers. First developed as a GTE racing car, the M8 is perhaps among the most complete GT’s out there today and the Gran Coupe offers a lot more practicality than the regular coupe and cabriolet variants. The Competition version offers a package which is appealing to many enthusiasts: 625 hp and 750 Nm of torque from its 4.4 litre twin turbo V8 does sound more than enough poke. The Steptronic 8 speed transmission with M X Drive and electronic limited slip diff also completes what is a great recipe for a proper everyday GT. Like the M5, the M8 Competition Gran Coupe offers the possibility to disengage the front wheels, allowing it to be driven as a classic 2 wheel drive GT.
It is opulent, exclusive and it represents the fulfillment of that missed opportunity of almost 30 years ago. The M8 is not the kind of car you want to take out exclusively for a blast through the twisties but rather the one car you lust to incorporate in your daily life. It’s the sort of car that makes you want to take it on a long journey and enjoy every bit of the way: in other words, fun with a GT like this comes from just driving it everywhere.Far from the minimalism we lust for, the M8 is a symphony of choice and sheer luxury: rich leather, multiple buttons and infinite drivetrain configurations. Lavishly equipped and with four real seats, one cannot see why it can be the most complete car you can drive all year round.
The Competition variant boasts a revised suspension set up as it uses more rigid dampers. One might think that this might spoil the ride, but it’s surprising to see that it still retains impeccable composure: do not expect to feel every nook and cranny of the surface, as it’s still comfortable and enjoyable as ever.
As expected from a modern turbocharged BMW, the power delivery is linear, immediate and absolutely brutal. There’s a wonderful duality between the tractability of the M8 Competition Gran Coupe at slow speed and the sheer force with which it accelerates from a standing point.
The roads covered in snow of any mountain pass feel almost better suited to the character of this car more than the corners of the Nordschleife. The M XDrive system is set with a rear drive bias but it’s able to provide excellent traction even when the road becomes sketchy and slippery. It’s a classic M Division car which is able to pull more than one trick when driven hard: those who are not used to this sort of car will be shocked by its astounding competence.
In the M8 Gran Coupe, the term Competition has a more “non-plus-ultra” meaning rather than the usual no-nonsense track-focused development with which it is normally associated. It’s a step over in both exclusivity and competence of the already high-level refinement of the regular M8. It offers quite a unique experience, and it’s definitely among the cars that represent the current pinnacle of M Division’s finest motorcars.
Many thanks to Nanni Nember BMW