by Jay Traugott
You know you're living in a good era when a four-door vehicle with coupe-like styling from one of the world's best automakers comes with 617 horsepower on tap. Introducing the 2020 BMW M8 Gran Coupe and M8 Gran Coupe Competition, a pair of German cruise missiles on wheels that serve as a more "family-friendly" alternative to the M8 coupe and convertible. Hey, not everyone wants to have just two doors. The M8 Gran Coupe's arrival may come at a time when battery-powered electric vehicles slowly begin the process of going mainstream, but it's important to note that internal combustion ain't dead yet. This new BMW M car is proof.
With exotic and muscular looks and a luxurious interior jam-packed with technology and connectivity features, BMW is here to remind us that extreme amounts of horsepower still matter. Porsche has proven there's a huge market for high-performance sedans with its highly regarded Panamera lineup, but BMW intends to make its own mark within the segment beyond its legendary M5.
There's no doubt the M8 Gran Coupe is a modern BMW. Along with the signature kidney grille, the M8 Gran Coupe continues with the German brand's current design language, although the M division has added its own series of touches such as exterior badging, door sill plates, and a standard M Carbon Roof. There are also adaptive LED headlights with Laserlight and larger openings that flank the front bumper. Notice how the Hofmeister kink in the C-pillar ties with the flowing side profile lines. Slim LED taillights and a quad exhaust are design highlights at the rear.
Compared to the M8 coupe, the M8 Gran Coupe is 9.1 inches longer, 1.4 inches wider, and 2.3 inches taller while its wheelbase is 7.9 inches longer. Non-metallic, seven metallic and five BMW Individual paint colors are on offer.
M brakes featuring drilled, vented brake discs measuring 395 mm upfront and 380 mm at the rear are standard, while the optional M Carbon ceramic brakes, which offer even greater stopping power, increase the diameter to 400 mm up front, while the rear units remain at 380 mm.
Step inside and you'll find a cabin with seating for five and the typical high-quality we expect to see in every modern BMW M model. Only this time, the M8 Gran Coupe is the flagship. There are M-specific instrument cluster displays and a head-up display that provides drivers with all necessary information. At the same time, drivers and passengers enjoy the immense comfort of the 3D-quilted exclusive M Sport seats with illuminated M badging. The extended center console is unique to the M8 Gran Coupe because, quite clearly, there are rear seat passengers who require attention. The rear seat console provides passengers with left and right climate controls, air vents, a storage tray, and USB-C ports.
Ambient lighting comes standard as does carbon fiber trim. Customers can also opt for Ash Grain Grey-Metallic Wood, Individual Piano Black Finish or Individual Ash Black Silver Wood trim. The M-specific leather steering wheel is also interesting with its mounted M1 and M2 buttons, which can be programmed with various engine, suspension, steering and braking system modes. BMW Live Cockpit Professional offers the latest version of iDrive with a 12.3-inch display screen behind the steering wheel and a 10.25-inch center display.
Like the M8 coupe and convertible, the M8 Gran Coupe is powered by a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 with 600 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. The M8 Gran Coupe Competition variant receives a slight boost to 617 hp along with unique engine tuning that allows for a 260-rpm increase in the torque band. Competition models also have an M Sound Control button located on the center console to control exhaust volume.
With all of that power, you'd expect incredible performance, right? Of course. BMW claims a 0-60 mph time of only 3.1 seconds while the Competition model shaves a tenth of a second off. To compare, both times are two-tenths of a second faster than the M8 coupe. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph but is increased to a supercar-like 190 mph when equipped with the M Driver's Package.
Power is directed to all four wheels through an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission. Called the xDrive all-wheel-drive system, this is actually rear-drive biased in order for drivers to make the most use of the vehicle's power and torque. BMW M engineers went to great lengths to coordinate the engine, transmission and AWD systems to create the best driving experience possible given the vehicle's size and weight.
Of course, none of this comes cheap, but the M8 Gran Coupe is actually a pretty good bargain considering its power output, luxury, and ultra-levels of refinement. Pricing gets underway at $130,995 for the 2020 M8 Gran Coupe and $143,995 for the M8 Gran Coupe Competition. It should also be noted that the M8 Coupe is actually slightly more expensive than its four-door sibling.
There's no question the M8 Gran Coupe will sell in solid numbers. BMW would not have built it otherwise. It also fills the slot in the lineup for a BMW M model that has never existed before or likely ever will, the M7. Four-door coupe styling is simply more attractive than the traditional three-box sedan design.
The M8 Gran Coupe and M8 Gran Coupe Competition will compete directly against the Porsche Panamera Turbo and Turbo S, Mercedes-AMG GT 63 4-Door, and the also all-new Audi RS7. An official on-sale date has not been announced, but given that production won't get underway until this November, we expect to see the 2020 BMW M8 Gran Coupe arriving in dealerships early next year.