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BMW M goes ballistic with 300km/h+ M8

460kW V8 puts the new BMW M8 Competition at the pointy end of luxury performance

BMW logo5 Jun 2019

BMW’S M division has grafted its thumping 460kW V8 from its hottest M5 variant into the all-new 8 Series to create new flagship sportscar twins, the M8 Competition coupe and convertible.
 
Capable of blasting from standstill to 100km/h in 3.2 seconds in coupe form (3.3s for the convertible), the M8 Competition’s top speed is north of 300km/h, putting it in the supercar league.
 
The M8 Competition will be revealed in the flesh alongside the slightly more sedate M8 (441kW and 750Nm) and, potentially, the 8 Series Gran Coupe at a special BMW Group event called #NextGen at Munich on June 25-27.
 
BMW Group Australia has confirmed the M8 Competition will join the recently launched M850i in both two-door coupe and convertible forms in Australian showrooms in early 2020. Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but logic says it will be more than $300,000.
 
Like the M850i sold in Australia, the M8 range shares BMW’s M-enhanced twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8, but with a higher state of tune that takes it from 390kW/750Nm to 460kW/750Nm in Competition form.
 
The latter, which first appeared in the M5 Competition, is the most powerful engine yet to emerge from the M works.
 
Peak power is achieved at 6000rpm, while maximum torque comes in early in the rev range and is maintained to 5800rpm. The electronic cut-off kicks in at 7200rpm.
 
This hi-po version of the V8 employs stiffer engine mounts for what BMW describes as crisper engine response, as well as more engine noise transmitted into the cabin. Other modifications include major expansions of the cooling and oil systems for both the engine and transmission to cope with the higher demands of track work.
 
While conventional V8s have the exhaust ports to the outside and inlet manifold inside the vee, the BMW 4.4-litre unit works in reverse, with both the exhaust and turbochargers in the middle of the engine.
 
The M8 and M8 Competition share the same eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-biased, two-mode xDrive all-wheel-drive system as the other V8 8 Series offerings.
 
Apart from three driving modes, the driver can also select between standard and sports settings on the all-wheel-drive system to direct more performance to the rear wheels.
 
For those who want the full two-wheel-drive experience, deactivating the electronic stability control (ESC) turns the M8 into a tyre-smoking drifter.
 
European fuel consumption test data shows the M8 and M8 Competition coupes both consume 10.5-10.6 litres per 100km on the combined cycle, while the heavier convertible version consume only slightly more at 10.6-10.8L/100km.
 
Thanks to an electronic brake actuator in place of conventional hydraulic operation, braking is activated quicker. It also means the driver can select between two brake-pedal feel settings – normal and instantaneous.
 
M-fettled steel brakes are standard fitment, but carbon-ceramic units can be substituted for extra cost.
 
The M8 gets M-specific suspension that includes forges links and electronically controlled adaptive dampers. Stiffer anti-roll bars and extra bracing both front and back contribute sharper handling.
 
Despite the mean-sounding suspension tweaks, BMW M says the M8 retains its luxury car ride quality for long-distance driving and commuting.
 
Design wise, the M8 variants all get the M division’s signature larger air intakes with black kidney grille.
 
The wheelarches are flared more than the standard 8 Series, while M gills grace the side panels behind the front wheels.
 
While the coupe gets a “double bubble” carbon-fibre roof, the convertible comes with the fabric folding roof that opens and shuts in 15 seconds.
 
Slimmer side mirrors, a rear spoiler and a rear diffuser are included. Customers can also tick the box for an M Carbon pack.
 
Leather is standard, along with BMW’s display key and a range of BMW “assistants” to adjust various parameters for driving, parking, navigation and so on.

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