Good looking car, isn't it? With the automotive world having been spooked by cars like the X7, 1 and 7 Series, it's nice to see that BMW can still deliver when tasked with delivering a GT flagship. This is the BMW M8 Competition, the most expensive and most powerful (along with the M5 equivalent) M car ever made.
Low, wide and fit to burst with attitude thanks to bigger intakes, unique forged wheels, black details, a carbon roof and quad exhaust pipes, the M8 Comp is as assertive as you might hope from a modern M range topper. The interior is marked by M badges, 'perforated 3D quilting' on the seats - how luxurious - and a host of new buttons controlling technology not yet seen on an M car. But more on that in a second...
The M8 is powered by the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 as used in the M5, boasting 625hp and 553lb ft; with the same eight-speed automatic, BMW is claiming 3.2 seconds to 62mph and a 155mph top speed - extendable to 189mph with the M Driver's Pack. Points of note for this installation of the engine include a 'stirring soundtrack' thanks to a bespoke exhaust (managed by an M Sound Control button on the dash) and a new engine mount. BMW says that the more rigid connection with the body "has a positive effect on the immediacy of turn in and the transmission of engine noise into the cabin."
As for the chassis, the M8 Competition will deliver an "exclusive racing-car feel"; this is thanks to retuned adaptive dampers, more negative camber at the front, M-specific steering, the M xDrive all-wheel drive from the M5 and "extensive testing" at the Nordschleife. BMW also claims that the M8 GTE racer played a role in the configuration process, though the pinch of salt to be taken with that one should be larger than most.
Perhaps the most noteworthy new addition is the integrated braking system; it combines brake activation, booster and control in one system and offers two pedal feel settings, which sounds worrying regardless of whether standard iron rotors or the larger ceramics are fitted. Because who has ever desired that?
It's the tip of the M configurability iceberg, this M8 also offering an 'M mode' (as well as the M buttons) for the first time that tailors the car between 'Road', 'Sport' and 'Track' dynamic presets, each ramping up the raciness in terms of the displays, assistance technology and driving feel. In addition to that there's a 'set up' button to individually adjust the dynamic parameters along the way - Efficient, Sport and Sport Plus for the powertrain, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus for the chassis, Comfort and Sport for the steering... Don't forget there are the levels of 4WD also, up to and including rear-drive only with the DSC off. Hopefully the Cornering Brake Control, Dynamic Brake Control, Automatic Differential Brake, Brake Assist and Dry Braking function can keep drivers out of trouble.
Blimey. There's another choice for M8 Comp buyers to make as well, between either coupe or convertible. The latter swaps the coupe's carbon roof for a folding fabric one, one that can be retracted or raised in 15 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph. No doubt adding a bit of extra weight, too..
The BMW M8 Competition has been launched today, with deliveries set to begin in October. It costs from £123,435 as a coupe, or £130,435 for the convertible. As far as rivals go, the Mercedes-AMG S63 costs £129,330 and would seem the most obvious, but a Turbo S E-Hybrid Panamera is £137k and delivers even more power. Slightly used alternatives might appeal as well: this DB11 V8 is £125k with fewer than 1,000 miles. Where would your money be going?