Till this yr, there’s by no means been an official BMW M8 manufacturing automobile. Though BMW gave us an eight Collection again in 1990, they by no means adopted via with a full-fledged M8 mannequin. To be truthful, BMW did check the waters a bit, with a one-off prototype M8 which was fairly spectacular, however by no means bought handed the approval board for the reason that V12 was by no means deemed as worthwhile within the early 1990s. We’re now in 2019 the place the premium automotive market depends closely on crossovers and luxurious sportscars, so the panorama was fairly favorable for the first-ever BMW M8. To pattern the hardcore model of the brand new sportscar – the 2020 BMW M8 Competitors Coupe – I headed again to Portugal for one more spectacular drive.
This time, my host was the well-known and difficult Autodromo do Algarve, a well-recognized monitor for the reason that F82 M4 days. On this monitor, no matter automobile you’re driving, you higher hope it has numerous grip and braking energy since its elevations and blind corners are difficult even for a lot of professional drivers. The monitor is lengthy (2.9 miles) with important elevation adjustments and 15 sweeping turns.
However earlier than we bounce into the monitor expertise with the 2020 BMW M8 Competitors Coupe, let’s take a step again and have a look at what makes this new M automobile particular.
Identical to the F90 M5, the 2020 BMW M8 will get a sophisticated xDrive all-wheel drive system that splits many of the energy to the rear wheels till the fronts are wanted. Working together with the all-wheel drive system, an Lively M Differential is commonplace gear on the rear axle. The latter can lock wherever between Zero-100 p.c in milliseconds and is crucial for retaining its rear-end in examine.
There are additionally a number of modes for the xDrive all-wheel drive system. The BMW M8 can swap from the traditional ‘4WD’ mode to a sportier ‘4WD Sport’ mode. The latter will hold extra energy on the rear axle and can enable for some tail spins. If these slip angles aren’t sufficient for you, and also you need some excessive tire-roasting enjoyable, there’s a ‘2WD’ mode that fully deactivates the entrance axle. It additionally deactivates DSC solely and the M8’s ‘2WD’ mode stays on till the motive force turns it off.
All of that energy and tire-shredding capacity wants some high-class chassis and suspension engineering. Due to this fact, the M8’s double-wishbone entrance suspension and a five-link rear axle have been designed with bespoke kinematic and elastokinematics, distinctive from its different eight Collection siblings. As well as, M8’s physique acquired extra reinforcements to lift up the torsional stiffness.
For instance, BMW elevated your complete front-end stiffness with a further thrust panel, which additionally improves the steering precision and response. In comparison with the its lower-priced step-brother – the M850i Coupe – the M8 will get ball bearings as an alternative of rubber ones. Moreover, the M8 comes with new engine mounts (50 p.c stiffer), elevated entrance suspension camber (from 1 to 1.three levels), cast suspension arms and extra bracing.
Should you have a look at the M8 versus the M5 sedan, then a number of variations stand out. Firstly, the trip top has been lowered by 10mm (Zero.4in) so the decrease heart of gravity presents higher driving dynamics. Secondly, measuring 4867mm (191.6 in) in size and 1907mm (75 in) huge, the BMW M8 is barely shorter and wider than the M5 in order that additionally spices up the driving traits of the M8.
Actually, loads of work has gone into growing the character of the M8, however that was just the start. You too can watch this underbody video of the BMW M8 the place we explored intimately a few of the options.
Identical to the F90 M5 and the newly unveiled BMW X5 M and X6 M, the 2020 BMW M8 Coupe will get two energy phases. The bottom one is reserved for the non-Competitors fashions which use the identical four.four liter V8 TwinTurbo engine, however with solely 600 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. The 2020 BMW M8 Competitors Coupe retains the identical torque ranges whereas including 25 extra horsepower ((17 within the US) for a complete of 625 hp (617 for US spec vehicles). Paired with that twin-turbo V8 is an eight-speed ZF-sourced automated, very similar to the M5, however tailored to the M8.
BMW quoted the usual dash at three.2 seconds, but with the assistance of BMW Works Driver Martin Tomczyk we managed to beat that. Within the video beneath, you possibly can see the 2020 BMW M8 Competitors Coupe working from Zero to 100 km/h in 2.88 seconds and from Zero to 200 km/h (124 mph) with the Launch Management in 9.93 seconds!
The King Of The Monitor
I’ve had loads of enjoyable monitoring the F90 M5 Competitors final yr in Ascari – one other demanding circuit – however nothing compares to a day on the Portimao monitor. The Portuguese monitor resembles previous Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps, primarily due to its appreciable elevations adjustments and loads of blind corners which might get you in bother actually fast. In entrance of me, as at all times, I’ve an expert BMW driver, this time round, Martin Tomczyk who has a single objective – lead us via some quick laps with none shenanigans.
The monitor day at all times begins with a briefing the place some primary guidelines of non-professional racing are defined. The briefing additionally provides the M engineers and instructors the chance to reply a number of final questions in regards to the automobile’s setup, whereas additionally sharing the configuration for the day. On this case, the 2020 BMW M8 Competitors Coupe went via a customization course of.
The “M1” button behind the steering wheel will put the engine in “Sport Plus”, the Variable Damper Management in “Sport”, steering in “Consolation”, brake system in “Sport”, gearbox tuned to D3, DSC mode is MDM and eventually, the M xDrive goes into 4WD Sport. That’s for the primary a part of the monitor session so I can expertise totally different personalities of the M8.
Subsequent is the “M2” button which brings extra aggressive settings to the motive force. The engine’s setup stays the identical, however the Variable Damper Management goes up a notch in “Sport Plus”, similar because the steering now in “Sport” and the gearbox in S3 (handbook shift). Right here comes the enjoyable half – BMW feels extraordinarily assured within the grip supplied by the M xDrive system that they determined to show off all of the nanny controls. Meaning – DSC OFF! However the M xDrive setting is now in 4WD.
So clearly, two fairly totally different setups to play with on the monitor.
The curb weight of the 2020 BMW M8 Competitors Coupe is four,295 lbs (1,948 kg), so not a lightweight weight by any measures, however with sufficient energy to counterbalance the heaviness.
Upon firing up the engine, the M8’s cabin will get rattled by the engine’s chilly begin delivering a satisfying growl which ought to please many hardcore clients. BMW says U.S.-spec vehicles gained’t have the EU-spec particulate filters (OPF), so they need to sound higher. However even the EU fashions have been adequate for my ears.
Now in “M1”, I’m strolling down the paddocks to enter the primary of many sharp corners. The primary lap is a reconnaissance lap with Tomczyk main the way in which indicating the very best traces and probably the most environment friendly braking factors.
I’m now again on the beginning grid slowly increase velocity and rapidly reaching 260 km/h earlier than a decent proper hander the place I get to first attempt the brand new brake-by-wire system. As a aspect notice, that is an built-in braking system that’s basically a two-mode brake-by-wire setup. It makes use of a vacuum-free brake booster with an digital actuator to ship braking stress. The thought right here is that it might ship extra exact braking energy whereas additionally eliminating pedal really feel/stress adjustments based mostly on exterior variables. So suggestions via the brake pedal stays fixed, even in moist circumstances or throughout excessive lateral hundreds.
It additionally has two modes, Consolation and Sport, which ship totally different ranges of pedal really feel and stress, to permit the motive force to decide on which to make use of at any given time. BMW engineers advised me that the brake-by-wire tech saves about four.5 kilos over a standard system.
Off the throttle, full braking and now I’m able to patiently flip into the nook so I can place the M8 earlier than the subsequent fast proper hander. The grip supplied by the sticky Pirelli P Zero tires and the M xDrive is reassuring, permitting me to place the ability down via the subsequent nook which is arising the hill. The V8 pulls laborious, however whereas staying clean and linear, whereas I flippantly faucet on the gasoline pedal to manage the lateral forces.
The steering inputs should not as aggressive as I anticipated them, however then I rapidly remembered its “Consolation” setting. Regardless of being a bit delicate in enter, the M8 is well managed and there’s nonetheless first rate suggestions coming from the sleek pavement.
Now comes the primary descend on Portimao with an extended straight the place I attain 200 km/h as soon as once more. On the backside of the hill, a left hand turner awaits, however I made a decision to remain on it a bit longer than the braking factors indicated (gotta love the carbon ceramic brakes). The thought right here was to see how the automobile reacts beneath extra aggressive braking and particularly with the front-end loaded.
Regardless of braking later than regular, the 2020 BMW M8 Competitors Coupe stays composed and balanced on the monitor, slowing down sufficient to show into the sharp 90 levels nook. By now I’m fairly impressed by the grip and in addition by the shortage of physique roll.
The following part brings a blind nook, up the hill, the place I don’t decelerate the automobile for the reason that following flip is a full-on throttle one as properly.
I can really feel the M8 making an attempt to wiggle its tail, however the MDM does the job proper and provides you that further increase of confidence. The traction out there on nook exits is what makes the M8 much more enjoyable to drive since you possibly can keep on that gasoline pedal and alter your trajectory with clean steering inputs. Mid-corner stability is nice and predictable, so the M8 could make most of us higher monitor drivers.
One other 90 diploma nook places me again within the third gear earlier than heading up the hill after which down onto a piece of extraordinarily quick corners. But Tomczyk merely doesn’t wanna decelerate. I proceed this dance up and down the hill at excessive speeds for a bit longer, however by now, I’m already trusting my instincts and particularly, the M8’s capabilities.
Talking of the automobile’s capabilities, I can confidently state this – the 2020 BMW M8 Competitors Coupe has sooo a lot energy and prowess that it’s going to take extraordinarily expert drivers to deliver out its full potential. By my calculations, with a little bit of an ego concerned, I reached about 30 p.c of the M8’s potential.
The ZF eight-speed and M-tuned transmission is excellent and works completely with the ever-pleasing V8. It holds gears all the way in which as much as the redline earlier than easily shifting. You’ll be able to, in fact, use the shift paddles on the steering, should you please.
The tip of Flip 15 brings an extended sweeper into the straight line the place we alter the motive force’s place on the monitor and the automobile’s setting.
I’m now within the extra aggressive “M2” mode which brings up the sportiness of the M8 – if that’s even attainable – however it takes away the additional security of the MDM. So now with DSC OFF and with a sharper steering, I’m prepared to bop my technique to the end line.
Tomczyk nonetheless doesn’t decelerate so I’m doing my finest to maintain up with him, totally realizing that he’s most likely sipping on a espresso whereas driving and guiding us via the radio.
When the digital aids are disengaged, the M8 turns into extra playful and that was obvious instantly in Flip 1. The tail began to swing, however because of the heavier and extra exact steering setup (now in “Sport”), I managed to rapidly catch the rear-end.
Okay, now that’s enjoyable!
The steering inputs are enhanced and there’s a lot extra suggestions being transferred from the street.
Due to the “Sport Plus” setting, the suspension is a bit stiffer, and whereas bouncier on the monitor, it’s a bit extra participating for the motive force. With the gearbox now in S3, I have to manually shift the automobile which jogs my memory that I nonetheless want the fully-automatic mode and its exactly timed shifts.
By way of the remainder of the corners and elevations, the 2020 BMW M8 Competitors Coupe strikes round a bit greater than in my earlier laps, however with little or no grip loss. Not sufficient to make me fear. The xDrive system – now tuned by M – reinforces why it’s the most effective in enterprise. It’s not intrusive and it’s there to information you greater than babysit you.
One other 250 km/h lengthy straight and some late braking zones, and I’m able to name it a day. Regardless of getting sooner and extra snug with the M8, it’s at all times finest to stop whereas one is forward.
Ought to I Purchase One?
I’ve put loads of laps on this 2020 BMW M8 Competitors Coupe to know that I’m coping with a really particular automobile. I liked the spirit of the M5 Competitors, however I am keen on the sportiness and pleasing character of the M8 Competitors. Whereas many of the clients will shrink back from monitor days with their M8, realizing what the automobile can do is perhaps sufficient to place a smile on their faces. Ultimately, that is the last word gran tourer which mixes the ///M DNA with the posh and tech of the subsequent decade.
There are few true pound-for-pound fighters on this section. Porsche might deliver the 911 Carrera S to the struggle, however neither Audi nor Mercedes has one thing immediately comparable. Should you look additional up within the “section”, you’ll come throughout the equally priced Aston Martin V8 Vantage, however with the lack of rear seats. So it’s not shocking that the 2020 BMW M8 Competitors Coupe delivers a few of the finest options required on this section, with out many compromises.
When you have over $130,000 to shell out, congratulations! Your record of luxurious sportscars has simply gotten longer.
Pricing for the brand new 2020 M8 Coupe is $133,000 and $146,000 for the M8 Competitors Coupe. The 2020 M8 Convertible MSRP is $142,500 and $155,500 for the M8 Competitors Convertible. Pricing doesn’t embody $995 Vacation spot.