BMW isn't taking its time with additional variants of its revived 8-Series. Coupe and convertible versions have already been revealed, and now we have the highly anticipated BMW M versions of those cars: the 2020 BMW M8 Coupe and M8 Convertible.
As expected, the engine and drivetrain have been lifted straight out of the M5, meaning a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, 8-speed automatic, and rear-biased all-wheel-drive system with driver selectable rear-wheel drive. Peak output comes in at 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque in standard guise and 617 hp and 553 lb-ft in spicier M8 Competition guise. Although peak torque is the same for both, unique tuning for the Competition sees peak torque delivered over a wider rev band.
The M8 will sprint to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and the M8 Competition in 3.0 seconds. Convertible buyers will need to add 0.1 seconds to those times. Top speed is governed to 155 mph but an available M Driver’s Package raises this to 189 mph. The package also provides access to a BMW-run performance driving course held at tracks in either South Carolina or California.
Debuting in the M8 is an M-specific display and control system, a new braking system, and a new M Mode with a dedicated Track setting for M8 Competition models.
All M8s feature a Setup button on the center console that opens up a specific menu in the display system where powertrain and chassis systems, including the all-wheel drive and brakes, can be adjusted. For the brakes, the conventional vacuum booster has been replaced by an electric motor that applies force to the master cylinder plunger.
This electronic setup is said to be faster and more precise. The result is that braking feedback to the driver is unaffected, for example during high brake temperatures, aggressive cornering or when the road surfaces are wet or slippery. The M version of this technology also allows the driver to choose between Comfort and Sport settings via the aforementioned Setup button.
2020 BMW M8
As for the new M Mode, this adjusts all the various electronic driver aids and brings up specific screens for the digital instrument cluster and head-up display. With M Mode activated via a button on the center console, the driver can then choose between Road and Sport settings and, in the case of the M8 Competition, a Track setting.
The different settings vary what information is presented to the driver, as well as what electronic driver aids are switched on. With the Track setting, which BMW stressed is purely for use on a closed circuit, all electronic driver aids are switched off, including the collision warning and automatic emergency braking. The audio system and infotainment screen are also switched off to allow the driver to concentrate on the road ahead.
The M8 also benefits from enhanced body rigidity compared to the regular 8-Series. The engineers also looked at enhancing weight distribution and the center of gravity by tweaking the chassis components and their mounting, using lessons from the M8 race program. BMW said weight has been minimized though the car is still a heavy beast at 4,295 pounds in its lightest form.
2020 BMW M8 Convertible
You'll easily recognize the M8 by its carbon fiber found on the roof (coupe only), side mirror caps, front intake surrounds, side vents, trunk lid spoiler, and rear diffuser. You'll also notice the massive wheels which measure 19 inches in diameter and are shod in 275/40-size tires up front and 285/40 at the rear. A 20-inch set is available. The standard brake rotors measure about 15 inches at all four corners and even bigger carbon-ceramic rotors are available.
The M8 enters production in July and should be in showrooms before the year is out. Pricing is set at $133,995 for the M8 Coupe and $143,495 for the M8 Convertible. Opt for the Competition models and you're looking at $146,995 for the coupe and $156,495 for the convertible. All figures include destination.