Sometimes it pays to be the competition. BMW have long lived in the bracket of the high-end executive car with a price tag that sits below £100,000 (the exception being the i8 which was more a demonstration of what money, and insane amounts of wattage, can buy). With the new M8 Competition Coupé, that all changes. That executive car now has a rocket strapped underneath it, complete with splashing of the signature M pack that still keeps this car distinctly BMW. I had a chance to drive their most expensive production car ever in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada in Spain. Here are my thoughts…
With an OTR price just north of £120,000 and another £20,000 more for the fully kitted out option, the first question will be how much bang exactly do you get for that much buck? The answer is plenty. For a heavyweight saloon that weighs in at a shade under 2 tonnes (1,885kg), this is a vehicle that needs every single ounce of the 625BHP that sits under the bonnet. Boasting a 4.4 litre V8 M TwinPower Turbo engine the 0-62 time is almost miraculous; the M8 Competition Coupe will pass that figure in just 3.2 seconds. It feels slightly odd being able to give yourself whiplash in something so big, but that weight does also play into the aerodynamic profile of the Coupé. Sure, it has a tiny wing at the back of the car to stick the wheels to the road, but the larger frame makes it a real pleasure to properly hit those corners and really ride the road with conviction. Just be aware that hitting the M Mode button and going into Sports Mode will almost solidify the suspension in this car, and those potholes in the road will feel like they were created by meteors. That being said, when cruising along in Comfort Mode, this car feels like you are floating on a cloud and, if you plan to drive this car within the confines of the UK roads and not in the Sierra Nevada, the level of comfort is more than adequate. It is the best of both worlds.
Looking at the exterior, as mentioned before, this is distinctly BMW; although the iconic kidney grill now has sharper teeth and the hard top root tapers in to a much wider, squatter body. Wheels are sharpened too; either option of bicolour 20” Alloy giving this car a real sense of speed even when it is standing still. In short, it looks aggressive, which is impressive for a car of this size. Splash that extra £20,000 on the Ultimate Package and you can get an even more carbon on the exterior trim as well as a host of interior options to make driving that little bit more comfortable. Speaking of comfort, the sound-proofing is so good that you may find yourself yearning for the convertible version (which costs £7,000 more), or at least attempting to drive with the windows down when that rev counter approaches the red line, just to hear the engine a little bit more. The combination of their finest Merino Leather and swathes of Alacantra on the trim and headlining hark back to the luxury you can find in the original 8 Series; comfort slightly favoured over a purer sports bucket seat. The on-board stereo, when beefed up with the Bowers & Wilkins upgrade, is an absolute symphony of sound; it competes well with any natural instinct to want to listen to that V8 engine.
BMW has always designed cars to be fairly easy to drive and this is no exception. If you had a lighter right foot and don’t fancy throwing the M8 Competition Coupé into corners then it can be a very civilised place to be. It really is a fun car to drive though if that’s the mood you are in. Flexibility does come at a price and this is probably the one potential negative mark against this car. As the most expensive car ever produced by BMW it is now competing against the likes of Aston Martin, which is new territory for brand. It is, however, also the most powerful car ever produced by BMW, so you are getting plenty of horsepower in return for that commitment. Existing BMW owners/lovers will enjoy the familiarity of this car, while new drivers may well be won over with the pure performance.