Cast your mind back to the ‘90s when BMW had a stylish coupe as its flagship model – the 8 Series. BMW was very keen to transform that car into an M8, with the firm starting the project and building a prototype. But it was short-lived, and a bleak financial outlook led to BMW closing that project’s door.
It seemed that an M8 would never materialise in production form, particularly as the 8 Series nameplate disappeared in 1999. But 20 years later, the 8 Series is back, and more importantly, so is the M8.
In the UK, we’ll just be getting the model in flagship ‘Competition’ form, and here we’re trying it in glamorous Convertible form.
Featuring BMW M’s most powerful engine ever – the 4.4-litre V8 from the M850i (previously the most powerful 8 Series) – which has seen its power ramped up from 532bhp to 616bhp.
A host of other adjustments have been made, too, so that the M8 can handle its increased power. These include the xDrive all-wheel-drive system, which now has a more rear-biased approach to where it sends its power. Beefy muscular styling also features so that the power is paired with equally-powerful styling.
As mentioned, the M8’s fire power comes from a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8, which produces 617bhp and 750Nm of torque. Power can be sent to all four wheels, but it tends to go to the rear set, with an eight-speed automatic gearbox delivering this force.
In the case of the Convertible, it can sprint from 0-60mph in 3.1 seconds and reach a top speed capped at 155mph, though an optional £2,095 package can raise this to 189mph.
The power delivery is brutal, though this is a pretty heavy car, so it never feels dangerously quick, and BMW hasn’t forgotten about the need for a sports GT car to be refined, and the M8 certainly doesn’t disappoint.See Available BMW M8 Deals
Ride and handling
This brutal cruiser-like performance very much matches the M8 out on the road, and while it’s far from being boring, there are more engaging rivals out there.
That being said, the grip levels are frankly ridiculous, with the xDrive all-wheel-drive system helping the M8 feel completely planted, and making it very difficult to unsettle through corners.
BMW has certainly angled this model more to the grand tourer end of the spectrum, and the result is still impressive – the M8 is a sublime cruiser with outrageous performance. Though so is the M850i…
Interior and equipment
The M8’s cabin is everything you would expect and more from a flagship model from BMW – the cabin is plush and just as serene, relaxed and comfortable as the cabin found in the 8 Series. The interior is filled with the highest quality materials around, and those sat up front will have plenty of space.
BMW has changed the cabin slightly for the M8 by implementing a leather-wrapped ‘M’ gearshifter to replace the usual crystallised one. There is also a host of carbon fibre bits, too, and with just as many ‘M’ logos as you would probably expect.
The M8 also remains a four-seater, and while the rear seats are not best for adults, the excellent 420-litre boot will impress those who look to take their M8 across the continent.
Standard equipment is superb, too, with the M8 coming with an exceptionally lengthy of kit. Highlights include adaptive LED headlights, 20-inch ‘M’ alloy wheels, a carbon roof and a full leather interior to name but a few features.
As BMW’s range-topping model, it’s not hugely surprising to learn that the M8 isn’t a cheap proposition. Prices for the Coupe start from £123,435, though opting for the Convertible will push the price up to £130,435.
That’s more than £23,000 more than the regular M850i Coupe, which is a car that offers 95 per cent of the appeal of the M8. However, contrast it to the M8’s nearest rival – the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe, and you’ll be left with plenty of change.
The BMW M8 sits in its own territory in the new car market – not delivering sports car thrills that you would find in the Porsche 911 nor being the ultimate grand tourer in the same way that a Bentley Continental GT manages to be.
While it makes the M8 quite a hard model to place, this is a seriously well-rounded car that will be great as a performance car, but also usable on a daily basis thanks to its serene comfort, excellent refinement and impressive practicality. The M8 is therefore a worthy range-topper for BMW.