Another M car is bound for Australia – this time in the shape of BMW’s M8 Gran Coupé. BMW has announced the hot 8 Series’ planned arrival for the second quarter of 2020, alongside its new pair of uber SUVs – the X5M and X6M. The M8 Gran Coupe is svelte and practical – and while we’re not sure a four-door is ever really a coupe – with a stonking twin-turbo V8 and fettling by M division, we’ll soon forget about the name.
Sitting above the M850i in the Australian line-up, the M8 will pack more punch, stiffer suspension, and bespoke componentry.
As for competitors, the M8 in Gran Coupe sits in an interesting niche, sidling up against fellow Germans including the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S, Porsche Panamera Turbo S.
BMW has used its 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 for the heart of the M8 Gran Coupé. Downunder we are only receiving the Competition model, boasting 460kW and 750Nm. The M8 Gran Coupé Competition manages an impressive 0-100km/h time of 3.2 seconds making it a tenth faster than the M5 Competition with which it shares a powertrain.
Power will be transferred through an eight-speed torque converter automatic. Selectable drive modes influence gear shuffling logic, manual control is possible with wheel-mounted shift paddles.
An M fettled xDrive all-wheel-drive system naturally take a rear bias when laying power down to the road. The driver will even be able to control how late the front wheels step in, if at all. If the ESC system is deactivated, the M8 Gran Coupé will send drive exclusively to the rear wheels, allowing sideways antics, bravo BMW.
Shown here in a BMW individual colour – Ametrine metallic – the M8 Gran Coupé looks stunning, perhaps the best design to come out of BMW in recent years. Extra M addenda lends aggression without going over the top; bespoke mirrors, front bumper including huge air intakes and black grilles, and rear lip spoiler make up the distinctions from a regular 8 Series.
In Gran Coupé form we almost prefer it to the coupe, the extra length not doing anything to undo the expertly penned lines, the unique rear-end gels well. With the 7 Series limousine aging, it could be believed that BMW should focus on creating the “ultimate driving machine” with the 8 Series Gran Coupé to sit atop the BMW pyramid.
Given the extra length hasn’t hurt the design, and thankfully adds up to 200mm of extra wheelbase length for the Gran Coupé. Extra length between the wheels is much welcomed given the rather compact rear quarters of the regular 8 Series.
The Bavarian brand’s interiors have been outstanding lately, the M8 Gran Coupé is no different. Just about every piece of luxury BMW has to offer has made its way inside too, including the latest iDrive with gesture control, customisable digital dash and head-up display. The M8 Gran Coupé also gains “exclusive” leather M sport seats for extra support.
BMW claims the M8 Gran Coupé was developed alongside the eponymous GTE race car, and further honed in Nurburgring testing. This bodes well for handling, BMW utilising stiffer mounts for suspension and drivetrain components to keep the M8 feeling poised.
On top of specifically tuned suspension, the M8 Gran Coupé is equipped as standard with adjustable dampers with road, sport, and what we assume to be an ultra-stiff track setting. As is de rigueur these days, the M8 Gran Coupé will have switchable modes for engine, braking, steering, exhaust and transmission. Handily, BMW have two customisable modes – M1 and M2 – allowing customers to store their favourite (and sometimes difficult to remember) settings.
Pricing and exact specification for the Australian market will be revealed closer to arrival. With the price of the M850i at $275,900 ($294,605 driveaway) expect the M8 Gran Coupé to push the $300,000 mark, with cars landing in the second quarter of 2020.