We all know the rule: when more than one body is offered for a fast car, the coolest version is the most practical. It just is. A C63 coupe is cooler than an equivalent cabrio, same for an RS4 and an RS5 Sportback, same for a Panamera Sport Turismo against the standard car. And even without knowing a single thing about it, the M8 Competition Gran Coupe is a cooler car, by a margin, than the Competition coupe or convertible.
It's certainly a more stylish one, which will certainly contribute. Like the standard Gran Coupe, the M8 is 231mm longer than a standard 8 (now 5,098mm), with 200mm of that in the wheelbase. Identical to the two-door cars up to the A-pillar, the Gran Coupe is then, well, just sort of better from the windscreen back, swooping and tapering to an unmistakeably M rear end: four exhausts, broad haunches, loads of attitude. Note as well the roof, diffuser and rear spoiler made from carbon-reinforced plastic; a nominal nod to weight saving on a car this large, but they do look quite good. PH had the chance to look around the Gran Coupe at the launch of the M8, and any excitement around the pics is mostly deserved: it sits lower than a regular Gran Coupe, making it look even wider, and the M8 accoutrements - wheels, skirts, bumpers - arguably sit even better on the four-door car than the two-door one.
Elsewhere, it's by and large a wholesale transplant of the M8's vital components. The 625hp V8 is carried over, with 0-62mph possible in 3.2 seconds, along with the M xDrive four-wheel drive, eight-speed Steptronic automatic, M Servotronic steering, Active M Diff, the integrated baking system, the Nordschleife-tuned suspension etc, etc - you're probably up to speed by now. Still, given how well sorted the M8 seemed on first (brief) impression, a direct carry over shouldn't be seen as a bad thing.
To that end, and like the recently announced third generation of X5 and X6 M, the M8 Gran Coupe will come with additional oil coolers - plus an extra, smaller sump - for optimum operating temperature and reliable supply of oil "at all times". For avoidance of doubt, that means "from short journeys and urban driving to outings on the race track". For the Competition model that the UK will receive (some markets will be offered a 600hp, 'regular' M8 as well), the Gran Coupe gets stiffer engine mounts, more negative camber at the front and ball joints in place of rubber mounts on the rear toe links, all in the name of "even more pronounced track focus." While the M8 proved pleasingly adept on circuit, it would surely be a very brave owner risking their GC on a track day - let's wait and see...
At 2,055kg with a driver the M8 Competition four-door is 95kg heavier than the coupe, and will get its own calibration of chassis systems to "be adjusted for individual levels of comfort without having to compromise their extremely sporty character." The interior is carried over for good or for bad from the M8 Coupe, with the two rear seats supplemented by a third chair "suitable for use on short journeys." The boot can hold 440 litres, and occupants are promised "the characteristic racing flavour of M models with a feeling of abundant space and luxury."
Sold? One more thing to consider. There's going to be an M8 Gran Coupe First Edition, of which there will be just 400. While there aren't pictures yet, it sounds very similar to the stunning M8 Gran Coupe Concept, painted Individual Diamond Green metallic with Gold Bronze bits for the badges, gills and wheels. It's finished off, naturally, with a Taruma Brown interior - nice. Expect those to go quickly.
There's no word yet on First Edition availability in the UK, though a regular M8 Gran Coupe can be ordered from today for Β£120,935. Handily enough, a Panamera Turbo is Β£116,509 and an AMG GT 63 4-door is Β£121,415 - a very exciting triple test is already forming...