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Driven: Flagship BMW M8 Competition arrives

M division crowned with brutal all-new, V8-powered M8 Competition coupe

20 May 2020

BMW’s performance flagship has finally arrived in Australia, with the savage M8 Competition touching down as the fastest and equal most potent model in the German brand’s history.


It also marks the first time the M8 badge has been offered, with the original 8 Series offered in the 1990s having never been tuned to full M performance.


The M8 Competition arrives in showrooms at the same time as the identically powered X5 M and X6 M large SUVs, bolstering the M division’s local stocks at a time where BMW’s market share has strengthened in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.


April sales data showed BMW represented the seventh-most popular brand for the month, overtaking volume brands such as Holden, Nissan, Volkswagen, Subaru and Honda.


The M8 Competition touches down with a pricetag of $352,900 plus on-road costs, making it the second-most expensive offering in all of BMW’s line-up, behind the opulent M760Li limousine, which asks $378,900.


It also incurs a steep $77,000 premium over the M850i grade it supersedes, which served as the range-topped for the first 12 months that the reborn 8 Series was on sale.


The trade-off for the big jump in price is a significant increase in spec and performance, underscored by the manic 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 which has seen a significant bump in power from 390kW in the M850i to 460kW at 6000rpm and 750Nm from 1800-5800rpm in the M8 Competition.


Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the V8 powers all four wheels through BMW’s M-specific rear-biased all-wheel drive system, which combines to send the M8 from standstill to 100km/h in just 3.2 seconds – making it BMW M’s fastest car to date.


It is 0.5s quicker to the landmark figure than the M850i, while its 305km/h terminal velocity trumps the M850i’s 250km/h electronically limited V-max.


Official combined fuel consumption for the bent-eight bruiser comes in at 10.4 litres per 100km, while CO2 emissions are pegged at 239 grams per kilometre.  


The new drive mode select system in the M8 Competition allows drivers to tweak engine, transmission, steering, suspension and even braking feel, with two ‘M Modes’ able to program the different levels of response.


An adaptive M exhaust system allows for a more sonorous V8 engine note, while the xDrive system can be adjusted to offer 4WD, 4WD Sport and tyre-smoking 2WD mode.


A raft of M-specific kit is fitted to the M8 Competition, including the Active M differential on the rear axle, chassis and suspension reinforcements, negative camber on the front wheels, M compound brakes with blue callipers and M Carbon engine cover and roof.


Wider air intakes and black trim elements further distinguish the M8 Competition, along with 20-inch M light alloy wheels. 


Other standard kit includes a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, DAB+ digital radio, wireless phone charging, keyless entry and start, BMW Laserlight, heated and cooled sports seats with full Merino leather upholstery, heated steering wheel and armrests, heated and cooled cupholders, instrument panel upholstered in Walknappa leather, Alcantara headliner and velour floormats.


Buyers can also choose a number of no-cost option interior trims, upholstery finishes and alloy wheel options.


Standard safety kit includes autonomous emergency braking, night vision with pedestrian recognition, lane-keep and steering assist, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, surround-view cameras, high-beam assist and tyre pressure monitoring.


Cost options extend to a range of metallic paintwork finishes ($2000-$10,400), carbon-ceramic brakes with matte gold callipers ($16,500) and a carbon exterior package ($10,300).


The M8 Competition coupe will be joined soon by the four-door M8 Competition Gran Coupe, while the drop-top Convertible version will not be offered Down Under.


Through the first four months of the year, BMW has sold 36 examples of the 8 Series Down Under, marking a 24.1 per cent improvement over the same period last year.


2020 BMW 8 Series Coupe pricing*

840i (a) $202,900
M850i (a) $275,900
M8 Competition (a) $352,900

*Excludes on-road costs

Model release date: 1 May 2020

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