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the m8 is the new bmw flagship that s ludicrously quick
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The M8 is the new BMW flagship that’s ludicrously quick

30 years in the making, the M8 finally rides to the top of the M throne with 600 ponies

Dinesh Appavu Photo

Dinesh Appavu

7 Jun 2019


Remember the first BMW 8 Series; codenamed E31? Of course you do, it was a gorgeous machine that could be had with a stonking V12. Do you also remember it having a massive 550hp? No? Well that’s because BMW toyed with the idea of it and even developed a prototype but stopped short of production.

30 years later, the new 8 Series is here and you’ll definitely remember the flagship M8 for all the right reasons; chiefly being the 600hp and optional rear-wheel drive. The new M8 is the spiritual successor to the M6, taking its place atop the M hierarchy.

You can have your M8 in coupe or convertible form. It packs the 4.4-litre twin turbo V8 from the current M5 with the same trick all-wheel drive system that can be switched completely to rear-drive as well.

Power comes in at 600hp with 723Nm of torque though the Competition model gets an extra 17hp. The performance figures are as expected of M’s flagship with the convertible dispatching the century sprint in 3.2-seconds; or about as quick as a McLaren 570S, while the coupe does it in 3.1-seconds. Competition models will slash a tenth out of those numbers. Top speed is limited to 250kph though the optional M package removes the nannies for the full 304kph.

All the power modern performance machines pump out meant that at some point, all-wheel drive was going to be a necessary evil. Lucifer for his mangy hands on the M5 though M division wasn’t going to remove all the fun.

The M8 also gets the same all-wheel drive system as the M5 that has three modes. Its default setting is a regular 4WD one before switching to 4WD Sport that makes it more rear-biased like Audis. You can send all 600hp to just the rear wheels with the 2WD mode that only functions with the stability control deactivated. It really is the best of both worlds. Of course there’s an M active rear differential as well.

Adaptive suspension is standard and so is the marque’s new two-mode brake-by-wire system. Brake pedal feel can be alternated between a long, soft pedal feel or a more short, grabby one.

All that extra power meant the frame and suspension were beefed up. Forged links, a steel X-brace and a strut that connect the shock towers to the bulkhead keep the chassis from twisting with the 600 ponies on tap.

The interior is classy with the hint of performance. A new “setup” button lets the driver control the engine mapping, dampers, steering, brake feel and xDrive systems. Those bright red M buttons on the steering? It lets the driver switch between Road and Sport modes.



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