2020 BMW M8 Competition and BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe Review and Test Drive

If you have a penchant for performance, the new 2020 BMW M8 is the athletic counterpoint to the still sporty but softer BMW 8 Series coupe. It has more horsepower but the same amount of torque, so there's not a huge difference when it comes to the sensation of acceleration. The bigger difference can be felt in handling: The M8's suspension is much stiffer and handles more like a sports car. At the same time, the ride quality remains pleasantly compliant.

Edmunds Senior Reviews Editor Mark Takahashi had the enviable task of evaluating the M8 coupe and convertible on the roads in Portugal as well as on the track at the Portimao circuit. As a bonus, he also got to evaluate the 2020 BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, the four-door adaptation that will eventually be offered in M8 form as well.

Is the M8's $20,000 premium over the M850i justified? Mark says, YES!

2020 BMW M8

The M8 has more power, naturally, as well as a firmer and more track-oriented suspension. But the all-wheel-drive system is also upgraded, as are the electronics to help the driver put all of that newfound power to the best use. Of course, the exterior has received an M redressing with new bodywork, black chrome trim (carbon-fiber accents are optional) and some intriguing new paint colors. The interior, too, gets a redo with an M model-specific instrument panel display, a new shift lever, and programmable buttons for the various M driving modes. Oh, and you can ratchet everything up another notch with the BMW M8 Competition models.

All the available space under the hood is taken up by a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine. That engine, in standard trim, makes a stout 600 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 553 lb-ft of torque from just 1,800 rpm all the way to 5,700 rpm. Writing a bigger check for the Competition models gives you an additional 17 hp and makes the same 553 lb-ft of torque available to 5,860 rpm.

The "standard" M8 coupe and convertibles should hit 60 mph in 3.1 and 3.2 seconds, respectively, while the Competition versions shave off a critical tenth of a second to drop the numbers to 3.0 and 3.1 seconds. Top speeds are governed to 155 mph, but that can be overcome with the M Driver's package that allows the M8 to run to its drag-limited top speed of 189 mph.

Handling can go one of three ways in the new M8: sane and sporty, track-focused or mentally unstable — the latter is thanks to the rear-wheel-drive-only setting. The M8 comes standard with an M-tuned adaptive suspension, new bushings, swivel bearings and unique strut bars. Competition models add even firmer suspension settings, stiffer motor mounts, a more aggressive alignment, and metal joints instead of rubber bushings in the rear suspension to accommodate higher-cornering loads.

More about the 2020 BMW M8: https://www.edmunds.com/bmw/m8/2020/

2020 BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe

The 2020 BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is the four-door sedan version of the BMW 8 Series (an actual two-door coupe). It grows significantly from its two-door sibling, adding 7.9 inches to the wheelbase and 9 inches in overall length. It's also wider and taller than the two-door, with a less aggressive rake to the front and rear windscreens to improve both headroom and visibility and create a larger and more usable trunk opening.

Two engines are available. The 840i and the all-wheel-drive 840i xDrive Gran Coupe use a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, making 335 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque. The inline-six, BMW's bread-and-butter engine, offers performance that we've never had a reason to complain about in any other Bimmer.

BMW says the 840i reaches 62 mph in 5.2 seconds, while the xDrive model does it in 4.9 seconds. Just as important as the acceleration times is how the acceleration feels. Not only is power from the 840i's six-cylinder plentiful, but it is incredibly linear. Were it not for the transmission shifts and engine sound, it could be mistaken for an electric vehicle.

From the front seat forward, the 8 Series Gran Coupe is almost identical to the coupe. The optional M Sport seats have plenty of lateral support to keep you firmly in place when cornering, yet they are well-cushioned and well-shaped for long-distance comfort. From the driver's seat, all the controls are logically grouped and placed right within easy reach.

Also carrying over is the liberal use of quality materials throughout the cabin. Every touch point has a premium feel, and the underlying construction is reassuringly sturdy. The biggest difference to the coupe, and indeed the Gran Coupe's reason for being, is found in back.

More about the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe: https://www.edmunds.com/bmw/8-series-gran-coupe/2020/

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