After numerous leaks and several spy videos from the Nurburgring, BMW has finally revealed the M8—the spiritual successor to the recent M6 and the very top of the company's performance lineup. Available as a coupe or convertible, it packs the twin-turbo V-8 and all-wheel drive powertrain from the M5, along with a whole bunch of other improvements over the lesser M850i that we reviewed in late 2018.
The base M8 coupe and convertible produce 600 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque, while Competition models get an extra 17 hp. Performance promises to be exceptional: BMW says the standard M8 coupe is capable of 0-60 mph in just 3.1 seconds, and the convertible will do it in 3.2. With the Competition package, those numbers drop by a tenth. Top speed for all models is electronically limited to 155 mph, increasing to 189 mph with the optional M driver's package.
Like the M5, the M8's all-wheel drive system has three selectable modes: A default 4WD setting meant for normal driving, a 4WD Sport setting that sends more power to the rear wheels, and 2WD mode that's only active when stability control is turned off. An active rear differential works with the car's M Dynamic mode to allow a degree of wheel slip for controlled oversteer.
The suspension and frame have been overhauled to withstand more load with things like forged links, a steel X-brace, and a struts that connect the shock towers to the bulkhead. All versions of the M8 come standard with adaptive suspension and 20-inch alloy wheels and summer performance tires. The two-mode brake-by-wire system can emulate a long, soft pedal travel in one mode, and a short, grabby feel in another—but frankly, this capability seems a bit unnecessary to us.
Visual upgrades are as you'd expect from a modern M car. There are more aggressive bumpers front and rear, blacked-out exterior trim, and a carbon fiber reinforced plastic roof as standard. Inside, drivers get a new "setup" button that controls settings for engine response, dampers, steering, braking, and xDrive systems. The M mode button on the center console allows the driver to shuffle through Road and Sport modes, with an additional Track mode available for Competition models.
Pricing for the base 2020 M8 coupe starts at $133,000, rising to $146,000 for the Competition model. Add $9500 to either of those prices if you want the drop-top version. BMW says production for all trims will begin in July 2019.