ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The BMW M8 Competitors Gran Coupe posed a placing determine parked within the driveway. This tester arrived in Macau Blue Metallic paint, which, relying on lighting, introduced as wherever from a blackish void to a moonlit sky to a berry wine. The lengthy hood ends in a toothy smile of a grille, with a variety of respiratory room between it and the radiator. It had carbon fiber far and wide: Entrance spoiler and air consumption surrounds, vents behind the wheel arches, mirror caps, rear lip spoiler, rear exhaust surrounds and the entire rattling roof.
The inside mirrored this closely carbon-clad aesthetic. In some vehicles, this a lot carbon seems to be gaudy, or too uncooked, or simply misplaced. It’s an apt match for the M8, although, bringing a few of the exterior aesthetic into the cabin. The M-trademark tri-color stitching and seatbelt stripes announce this automobile’s sporting intentions, whereas quilted, perforated Silverstone leather-based reminds you that this can be a posh beast, too. The little M8 logos within the entrance headrests illuminate at night time, drawing your eye previous the windshield deep into the automobile’s inside.
Powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 producing 617 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, BMW claims it might probably dash to 60 mph in simply 3.0 seconds. It’s the kind of velocity that comes nearly too shortly and effortlessly. There’s hardly time to benefit from the barrage of sensations via acceleration earlier than you must ease up or in any other case end up in an excessively unlawful and unsafe driving scenario.
The powertrain’s stunning soundtrack can also be closely filtered. You’ll be able to hear the engine working its method up the rev ladder, however it’s muted and smoothed out, versus the aggressive snarl you may solely get pleasure from with the home windows down. For somebody outdoors of the automobile, although, the M8 is prone to depart a sonic impression with a baritone idle and raspy chunk because the pitch and quantity elevate via the M Sport exhaust.
The one problem the M8 presents is timing your shifts within the eight-speed transmission’s guide mode. As this factor winds up so shortly, you must be fast on the paddles to hit your swap earlier than bouncing off the automobile’s 7,200-rpm redline. Get it proper, and also you’re rewarded with a crisp, fast change and the resultant punch of touchdown within the coronary heart of the engine’s energy band.
Regardless of the automobile’s outright aggression, it’s not a punishing each day driver. It feels easy on the street regardless of the tiny sidewall on the 20-inch Pirelli P Zero tires. The adaptive suspension is accommodating even on downright shoddy roads. It’s spacious inside, with loads of creature comforts for the motive force and passengers. Even putting in automobile seats within the again is a straightforward chore, with loads of room to work and simply accessible LATCH anchors hidden neatly behind little leather-based flaps. When not completely exploding onto a freeway on-ramp, this factor can cruise in luxurious consolation. As velocity builds, although, it feels planted and exact, a real tremendous sedan able to tracing flat arcs down winding roads as surefootedly at 65 mpg as at 35.
I had appreciable rain throughout my time with the M8, and the all-wheel drive got here in useful. Regardless of the soggy roads, the M8 was completely satisfied to chunk down into the pavement and propel itself ahead nearly as forcefully as on dry roads. After all, the large energy was nonetheless keen to beat traction on looser roads, however no shock there. With nice energy comes the duty to make use of the suitable pedal judiciously, as tempting as it’s to behave like a idiot with it.
This M8 additionally got here outfitted with the Driving Help Skilled bundle. This made a few of the extra boring stretches of freeway simpler to cope with. Particularly given how simply this automobile will violate the velocity restrict with the slightest provocation, turning on adaptive cruise management served me properly within the radar-patrolled sections of I-96. This can be a automobile to which velocity comes simply and stealthily. In case you don’t regulate the speedometer, it’s straightforward to search out your self cruising a great 20 mph quicker than you’re feeling such as you’re doing.
Previous to testing the M8, I had the Audi RS E-Tron GT, a automobile with an analogous physique type and specs — 637 horsepower, 0-60 in 3.1 seconds. After all, it has a very completely different method to attaining these numbers. The M8 does it with cylinders firing and a variety of fanfare; the E-Tron does it with motors spinning and eerie calm. They even come at an analogous worth, with this $163,095 gas-guzzling BMW coming in at $1,205 greater than the electrical Audi.
Throughout my time with the M8, I additionally couldn’t assist however suppose covetously of Mercedes-AMG’s magnificent boosted inline-six. At this price ticket, and with this a lot energy, the cleaner Audi appears simply as partaking because the M8, but when I’m on the lookout for a high-performance sedan to usher out the ICE age with a bang (and a few crackles), the riotous Mercedes-AMG GT 53 is the extra emotional and fascinating trip for the reason that engine is a complementary a part of the expertise moderately than a grand-standing scene stealer. That’s only a private selection, although. Take your decide: a BMW V8, Mercedes mild-hybrid inline-six or Audi’s/Porsche’s stellar e-motor setup. There’s not a nasty option to be made right here.