The new BMW M8 has been officially teased once again, with a new set of images showing a late prototype hiding under less body-concealing camouflage. The new flagship M car is no secret, with the brand having shown a near-production concept of a BMW M8 Gran Coupe at the 2018 Geneva motor show, but we’ll see the coupe and convertible first.
Under the bonnet is the same S63 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine as fitted to the M5, and it will be available in both 590bhp standard and 616bhp Competition forms. Both models will have selectable the xDrive all-wheel drive with the ability to decouple the front axle and go fully rear-wheel drive.
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> Click here for our review of the new BMW M5 Competition
The eight-speed automatic transmission is also shared with the M5, with individually selectable modes that alter the ferocity of the shifts, as has become commonplace in BMW M cars.
New for the M8 is BMW’s first integrated braking system, which disconnects physical braking force on the pedal from the actual braking activation. This allows engineers to control the feedback being generated through the pedal, and vary the force being applied into the actual brake system – think of this as the braking version of throttle-by-wire. The system brings together the brake activation, brake booster and control functions into a single electronic control unit, which then also talks to the M8’s individual driver modes, altering the feedback and actuation through two different algorithms.
Of course, all this performance tech will be mounted on the 8-series’ lower, more dynamically focused chassis. Compared to the M5, the M8 will be shorter, wider and lower, with a centre of gravity closer to the road and an even more rigid body.
Like the 7-series, the 8-series is made up from a cocktail of high-strength steel, aluminium and even a small amount of carbonfibre, to keep that weight in check. In order to make the M8 even sharper, the BMW M Division has developed further support into the chassis structure itself and a bespoke suspension set-up.
As for the new BMW M8’s rivals, it’s a similar story to that of the lesser M850i. Larger and more opulent than a Porsche 911, yet more focused and dynamic than a Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe, the M8 will have space to breathe at the £110-130k price point that’s expected when the car arrives next year. Needless to say, there are plenty of indirect, but very talented performance rivals also on offer.