by Jake Lingeman
The 2022 BMW M8 Gran Coupe isn't the first 8 Series from the Bavarian outfit. It built the flagship for two generations. The first was a coupe from 1990 to 1999 and its claim to fame was that it was the first road car with a V12 mated to a six-speed manual transmission. It also featured side-view mirrors that tilted down when in reverse and pop-up headlights that seemed to last. It was a beast, and ahead of its time, but it can't hold a candle in performance or comfort to the new M8 Gran Coupe.
The new M8 Gran Coupe features a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8, all-wheel drive and, an eight-speed automatic, with outputs of 617 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. This is a substantial increase over the basic M850i Gran Coupe, which makes 523 hp.
Like its competition, the Audi RS7 and the Porsche Panamera, the M8 Gran Coupe has loads of space, even for five people; it will fit you and your family and take you to 60 mph in three seconds, or cruise happily on the long road in sublime comfort. It's one of those cars that could be your only car, forever.
The 2022 M8 isn't an all-new model but there have been a few changes. It's obvious that the majority M8 Gran Coupe customers went for the Competition model with its sporty extras and 617-horsepower V8. To that end, the previous 600-hp base model has fallen away for 2022 and the Competition is now the only M8 Gran Coupe you can buy. That's the major change to this four-door coupe, but it also gets the option of M carbon bucket seats for 2022. Strangely, wireless charging has been removed from the spec sheet. Outside, Almandin Brown II Metallic paint falls away but Aventurin Red Metallic is added.
See trim levels and configurations:
|Competition Gran Coupe||
4.4L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
You really have to decide what you want to use this car for. It starts with the rubber band tires with an aspect ratio of 35. That's the percentage of how much of the tire is sidewall and cushiony. That's a low number, so there isn't much cushion. We expect that out of an M car, but this is such a big, family-style M car we thought we'd get a little more waft. And any M8 absolutely requires winter tires if you live in the north. We were slipping all over the road in this German manatee. And it's made worse by the driver assistance systems taking over the wheel, sometimes it felt like it was losing traction, not keeping it.
The M8 Gran Coupe gets a double-wishbone front and five-link rear suspension with special bushings, swivel bearings, and strut tie bars. BMW says that forces moving through the control arms, wishbones, sub-frames, and to the body provide handling and agility without compromising comfort. We concur - it certainly handles well.
And in the Comfort driving mode, it is a little softer. The transmission and throttle relax, the adaptive suspension smooths out more bumps and the steering gets easier. We could still hear the ping of those tires crossing expansion joints on the highway. Sport mode turns everything up, and in fairer weather we would have left it in that setting the whole time, kidneys be damned.
This M8 Gran Coupe, like Audi RS7 and even the Porsche Panamera Turbo S, could easily be your only car. While it doesn't have loads of cargo space, it's enough to go on vacation with your significant other, it would be aces on road trips as long as you stay in Comfort mode, and if the need strikes, you can hit the track. Our tester had carbon ceramic brakes, which you'd need for any serious track work, as this car weighs in at almost 4,500 pounds and you'll definitely be pushing it to go faster.
However, when you switch to maximum attack mode - Sport Plus mode - it doesn't feel like "The Big M8" we hear so much about. This car is easy to handle in a parking lot, as it is at full speed on the freeway. It will shoot through surprisingly small gaps and take on anything off the line south of a full-on supercar. If you have the means, we highly recommend it.
Both the M8 Gran Coupe and RS7 are interesting alternatives to more conventional sedans. They each have arresting styling, spacious cabins, and powerful turbocharged V8 engines. The 591-hp Audi will hit 60 mph in an impressive 3.5 seconds, while the 617-hp BMW shaves half a second off that time. The Audi's interior packs more of a visual punch and it also has a much bigger trunk, but its reliance on touchscreen controls makes it less user-friendly than the BMW's cabin. Both cars are fabulous to drive and have grip reserves that will not be challenged on most public roads. We'd say that the Audi is a little more comfortable and the BMW a little more exciting at the limit, but it's a close call. At $118,500, the Audi is cheaper than the $130,000 BMW, but the M8 makes up for that with its more powerful V8. Audi fans are unlikely to be swayed by the BMW and vice versa, but if you aren't loyal to either brand, you can't go wrong with either model in this comparison.
The M5 is a more conservative package but still packs a mighty V8 punch, as we've explained in our reviews of the M5 sedan. It also offers more configurations, including a Competition model and a hyper-focused CS. Its boxier lines conceal a more practical interior for five occupants and a larger trunk, but the M8 Gran Coupe is undeniably sexier. The base M5 makes 600 hp but is nearly as quick, taking 3.2 seconds to reach 60 relative to the M8's three seconds. Notably, the base M5 is almost $30,000 cheaper - that money could go towards one of the many options. Both are similar to drive, being comfortable on the highway and athletic in the corners, but we would have liked more feedback through the steering. If you prefer flying under the radar, the M5 is the obvious choice. But these are performance cars designed to excite, and for that reason, we find it hard to resist the appeal of the seductive M8 Gran Coupe.