BMW M8 Competition: here come the M Performance parts
Unlike the divisive M Performance bits for the new 1-series, BMW’s range of 8-series trinkets actually look quite tasteful. There’s no weird Mansory-style carbonfibre here, and no extra bits of wing or fin, either. Instead, this M Performance kit just replaces normally plastic bits with exposed carbonfibre ones, and the effect is more subtle and classier than we were expecting.
We’re not sure how much weight-saving these parts are actually doing, but they’re certainly eye-catching. There’s decorative M Performance parts for everything from the sills, to the kidney grilles and engine cover. And BMW says they’re all temperature and UV resistant – so you can put them through a car wash, too.
There’s M Performance parts for the inside, too, including a bespoke M Performance Oro steering wheel, too. The new wheel gets lashings of Alacantara, carbonfibre paddles and other racing-focused details.
And more thing. If you want to actually improve the performance of an M8 with M Performance parts, BMW is also selling sport brake pads. Promising ‘Shorter braking distance, improved response, higher thermal resilience,’ the new pads could be the ultimate addon to the car’s brake-by-wire system.
M8: what you need to know
It’s just an M5 Comp with two doors, right?
If you’re feeling particularly cynical, yes. The new M8 uses the same 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that produces 617bhp and 553lb ft, making the M8 good for a 0-62mph sprint in 3.2sec for the coupe and 3.3sec for the drop-top. By default, the M8 is limited to 155mph but that restriction can be removed by the M Drivers Pack, allowing a maximum speed of 189mph for both the coupe and the convertible (below). Prepare for expensively coiffed hair-dos to be ruffled aplenty at those kind of speeds…
The M8 models are all-wheel drive but, unlike the M850i, the M8 uses the same drivetrain as the M5. That allows it to disengage drive to the front wheels for some tail-happy powerslide action. Again, like the M5.
BMW says the chassis has been developed ‘with track use in mind’, pointing to the M8’s ‘minimised weight, ideally-sized wheelbase and exceptionally wide tracks.’ The testing procedure also included some comparison time with the M8 GTE; ironically the racer departs as the road car arrives.
Any other performance car nuggets?
There’s now a Setup button, and M-Mode, which will allow drivers to ‘tune’ the assistance systems to their skill-levels or requirements.
Drivers will be able to choose between the usual engine characteristics – from Eco Pro to Sport Plus – while the chassis can also be switched between Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus too. Oh, and there’s a brake-by-wire system of sorts.
Alongside improving safety, BMW says the feedback to the driver is ‘unimpaired by wet road surfaces, significant lateral acceleration or high brake temperatures’ although we’d argue that those symptoms themselves are a type of feedback… Can you tell we’re sceptical? We’ll work out if this is a step too far and a numbing of the M-experience – or a technological marvel – when we get to drive the new 2019 BMW M8…
Anything else I should know?
The interior in general has had a bit of a proper M spruce-up, with bespoke centre console switchgear, the metallic red toggle switches for two configurable M modes on the steering wheel, a new red hue for the infotainment system (instead of the usual orange) and M-specific instrument display.
When can I buy the new BMW M8 Competition?
You can order one now, priced from £123,435 for the M8 coupe or £130,435 for the convertible. The first deliveries will arrive in October 2019.
BMW’s stand at the Geneva motor show rumbled to the tune of the new M8 Gran Coupe concept – a four-door super-coupaloon that’ll top the 8-series range. It’ll sit alongside the two-door and convertible 8-ers to complete the family.
But crucially, with a kerb weight close to 1800kg, it undercuts its biggest rival – the Mercedes-AMG GT4 – by 245kg. That should pay dividends at the traffic lights and in the corners.
How quick is the BMW concept M8 Gran Coupe?
Early indications state a 155mph top speed, but CAR has learned that an optional performance pack can liberate a full 191mph for those all-too-tempting Autobahn duels. You’ll probably want to spec the carbon-ceramic brakes too in that case… a 0-62mph time (or any other performance or economy figures) are yet to be confirmed.
A carbonfibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof lowers the centre of gravity, while the headlight tech is lifted from the M8 GTE endurance racer.
How much will it cost?
Again, it’s early days, by we’re led to believe you won’t get much change from £115k – and that’s before options. There are going to be lesser 8-series models in the pipeline too though if that sounds a little rich – namely the straight-six 840i and V8 M850i.
The history of BMW M8 prototypes
A disguised BMW M8 prototype was revealed at the 2017 Nurburgring 24hr race (27 May), with the camo’d-up car completing a demonstration lap before the start of the race.
On the same weekend, BMW concurrently displayed an 8-series concept car at the Villa d’Este concours event in Italy, previewing the lines of the regular Coupe, which will replace the current BMW 6-series. While the 8-series show car over in Italy has dramatically surfaced concept bodywork, the proportions of the disguised panels on the M8 at the Nurburgring appear much closer to production spec.
‘The conception and development of the standard BMW 8-series and the M model run in parallel,’ says the boss of BMW’s M Division, Frank van Meel.