I roll as much as a cease signal after totally exercising the 2023 BMW M8 Competitors Coupe for the final quarter-hour. Heat air pours out of the facet fender vent into my open window, filling the cabin with the surplus warmth produced by that maniacal 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. I improve the fan pace of the auto local weather management a pair notches and jack the ventilated seat to its max setting. Ah, that’s higher, I believe earlier than gunning it as soon as extra and watching the digital speedo race upwards at a frightening tempo.
The M8 Competitors is a number of automotive, and I imply that in nearly each conceivable approach. It’s additionally a automotive that BMW has struggled with, as Bavaria took a 12 months off promoting the M8 Coupe and Convertible in 2021 attributable to there being a backup of 2020 examples nonetheless sitting on seller tons. BMW’s worth was merely an astronomical turnoff, because the 2020 M8 Competitors Coupe began at a haughty $146,995. What’s the value of the 2023 mannequin now that three years of inflation and industry-wide worth will increase have taken impact? $131,995. That’s the precise reverse worth swing of what just about each different new mannequin has seen, however we’re not complaining.
Not solely is the value decrease, however BMW has updates for the 2023 mannequin that make it even higher than earlier than. The large change inside for the M8 (which is now Competitors-only with no customary M8 model) is the addition of BMW’s M Carbon bucket seats as an choice. These massively-bolstered seats that debuted within the M3 and M4 are as severe as any seat in the marketplace at this time, and whereas they’re not splendid grand touring seats, they certain do make a press release. The 8 Sequence lineup as a complete is upgraded from the previous 10.25-inch infotainment show to a 12.3-inch display screen that’s nonetheless operating iDrive 7. So far as we’re involved, that’s a plus over the numerous BMWs which have upgraded to the far much less user-friendly iDrive 8.
The final of the enhancements are in exterior aesthetics, as BMW offers the M8 a brand new grille, extra black trim and affords the traditional BMW Motorsport brand as an choice. 5 extra colours are added to the palette, with a kind of being the Brooklyn Gray Metallic this check automotive is painted in, however I’d advocate skipping straight to the brand new Isle of Man Inexperienced choice within the configurator. So far as mid-cycle refreshes go, the 8 Sequence (and by proxy the M8) went by way of a light-weight one.
BMW’s V8 in its full-on M machines is a mix of so many qualities that’ll make an fanatic giddy, and it shines significantly shiny within the M8 Competitors Coupe. Press the crimson begin button, and it barks to life with an authoritative chunk that clearly marks its dominance over BMW’s inline-sixes. In case you like muscle, you’re going to love this sound. Maintaining with site visitors seems like an afterthought for this engine’s meaty low-end, as revs hardly ever exceed 2,500 rpm whenever you depart the eight-speed computerized transmission to its personal gadgets. Even pushed calmly, although, the M-specific exhaust rumbles and crackles off buildings and partitions alike. There’s nothing stealthy about it.
Begin to string this engine out previous 5,000 rpm and to its excessive 7,200 rpm redline, and also you’re in for a mechanical deal with. Increase from the pair of turbos within the hot-vee is seemingly at all times on faucet and able to be unleashed, and due to the rear-biased all-wheel drive system, all 617 horses and 553 kilos of twist discover their solution to the pavement within the type of ahead momentum. This engine turns downright melodious the extra you rev it out, and it’s virtually scary how the large thwack of acceleration is maintained and easily swells as you seize every successive gear. In fact, the launch management begin is the nuttiest. Get your self a secure, wide-open house to make use of it, as a result of the M8 leaps from the road like a lion possessed — Automobile and Driver timed it at 2.5 seconds — half a second faster than BMW’s claimed 3.0 seconds to 60 mph. Frankly, it seems like a automotive that does the job within the mid-to-high two-second vary, and it unquestionably feels just like the quickest BMW cash should purchase. Go for the M Driver’s Package deal, and it received’t give up till 190 mph.
At a hefty 4,295 kilos, the M8 is a chunky buyer, and it feels its weight whenever you begin throwing this coupe left and proper. This makes the M8 much less lithe than one thing like an M4, however that’s to be anticipated from a automotive designed to be each a nook carver and a grand tourer. The thick steering wheel, considerably numb, heavy steering and sheer dimension of the M8 on the street depletes driver confidence. However on the flip facet, this chassis with its ball joints changing bushings, extra-stiff engine mounts, distinctive camber settings and stiffly-tuned adaptive dampers offers it a uncooked connection to the street you’re feeling by way of the seat that makes it drive nothing just like the standard-stroke 840i Coupe this car began as. The boundaries are excessive due to the broad Pirelli P Zero summer season rubber, and for those who belief the AWD system sufficient to soundly dole out energy, you may speed up by way of and out of a nook with stunning tempo.
Tapping by way of the eight-speed transmission is a fast delight, and every downshift brings a bout of rumbling thunder from the quad exhaust. It’s neither obnoxious nor uniform and predictable, which makes it simply the precise degree of trustworthy enjoyable. What can get slightly annoying, although, is the M8 Competitors’s experience. That stiff chassis will be felt going over each final crack in a cement street and ensures you’re feeling all of the potholes a stretch of poor pavement has to supply. An M850i received’t beat you up like this, however because the saying goes, for those who can’t deal with the warmth, get out of the kitchen.
Whereas the experience high quality isn’t precisely grand touring-friendly, the remainder of the cabin and trunk is. As any rational individual would do, I used the M8 to go on a lazy river day with tubes, coolers, swim gear and extra tucked away within the cavernous trunk. Good luck doing that in your (admittedly chic) Lexus LC 500 or Mercedes-AMG GT. There’s sufficient house again there for a number of suitcases, and whereas the rear seat is low on headroom, it’s ok for a below-average-height grownup.
Each final luxurious function and flourish that BMW has in its bag of tips is thrown at this cabin, which suggests it’s decked out with leather-based and Alcantara so far as the attention can see. The wraparound (from front-to-back) door leather-based, abundance of metallic switchgear and miles of shiny carbon fiber trim all screams cash. Its up to date — and bigger — display screen is way more befitting of the 8 Sequence, and choosing a flashy shade just like the Sakhir Orange on this tester helps up the ambiance by so much. Nonetheless. The aforementioned Lexus LC 500 executes its inside — with each class and sportiness — higher than any mannequin on this class.
Worth might nonetheless be a deterrent to M8 possession, however now it’s a lot nearer consistent with rivals just like the Porsche 911, Jaguar F-Kind, Lexus LC 500 and maybe even the Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray or Z06 variants. The shortage of an S-Class Coupe with an AMG model virtually arms BMW the large V8-powered German efficiency coupe market, and boy am I glad it’s round and (fairly vigorously) trumpeting its eight-cylinder horn. These much less thrilled with BMW’s latest design language will discover each a standard look with the trendy thrum of an M automotive on this attractive coupe, and that’s one thing we hope to understand for so long as BMW is comfortable to offer.