2020 BMW M8 Competition: Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat Is It?
When the letter M precedes any BMW model designation, it means the vehicle possesses the highest levels of performance available from the German automaker. Combine that M with the brand’s flagship performance coupe, the 8 Series, and the result is the M8 — an ultimate performance BMW. We spent a few days with the exciting 2020 BMW M8 Competition Coupe, and it did not disappoint.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTest Vehicle
BMW provided a 2020 BMW M8 Competition Coupe painted in hard-to-ignore Java Green. As the top model in the BMW M lineup, this 8 Series comes with most features as standard equipment. However, our test vehicle did have additional options including M Carbon Ceramic Brakes, a Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system, the M Carbon Exterior Package, an M Driver’s Package and a Driver’s Assistance Pro Package. Total MSRP for this machine comes in at $175,745. Competitors to the M8 Competition Coupe include the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, Bentley Continental GT, Porsche 911 and Polestar 1.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStyling
The BMW 8 Series is a sleek sports coupe in its own right with a long hood and flowing roofline, but the M8 Competition’s design goes one better by showcasing the power beneath the skin. Larger openings in the front bumper and a blacked-out grille project a more aggressive style — and complement the M8’s Java Green exterior — as do beautiful 20-inch M Star Spoke bi-color wheels with gold brake calipers.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear View
At the rear, the 2020 BMW M8 Competition means business with sculpted body work, stylish LED taillights and four large integrated exhaust outlets that emit an amazing roar from the V8 engine.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCarbon Fiber Trim
Our test vehicle also featured the optional M Carbon Exterior Package which adds carbon fiber trim around the front vents and side gills, as well as a rear spoiler in carbon fiber that contributes much to the M8’s exotic appearance.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUnder the Hood
At the heart of the 2020 BMW M8 Competition resides a 4.4-liter M TwinPower Turbo V8 engine generating a stout 617 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque delivered at a low 1800 rpm. The powerful V8 gets teamed with a quick-shifting 8-speed M Steptronic automatic transmission.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePerformance
With the added grip of the M xDrive all-wheel-drive system, the M8 Competition can launch to 60 mph in 3 seconds on its way to a top speed of 190 mph. We can attest to the quick acceleration — although we chose to keep the M8 under 190 mph on public roads.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInner Space
The 2020 BMW M8 Competition Coupe may reign atop BMW’s performance lineup, but that doesn’t mean creature comforts have to suffer. The M8 comes with 16-way power M Sport seats that look attractive in two-tone Black / Midrand Beige. A diamond pattern and contrasting stitching underscore the interior’s premium vibe. Seats are heated and cooled, and integrated side bolsters provide excellent support during spirited driving.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInterface
The large horizontal display screen in the 2020 BMW M8 Competition is nicely integrated with the dash and can be navigated via touch, a controller in the center console or by voice. Climate controls get adjusted via buttons and knobs, with many buttons in the center console and on the steering wheel for various functions and configurations. In front of the driver, a 12.3-inch digital dash display can be configured in a number of ways, depending on what information the driver chooses to keep in focus.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear Seat
Often the bane of sport coupes in general, the rear seat of the 2020 BMW M8 Competition is a tight fit. With front seats located in comfortable positions for their occupants, legroom for rear-seat passengers is almost nonexistent. It’s possible to squeeze two adults in the rear seat, but only for short trips. (For those who need M8 performance as well as a proper rear seat, the 4-door M8 Gran Coupe is an option.)

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCargo Space
The 2020 BMW M8 Competition Coupe offers a surprisingly decent amount of trunk space. Two standard-size suitcases would easily be swallowed up in this narrow but deep space.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOn the Road
The M8 Competition is first and foremost about performance, and it certainly lives up to expectations. With 617 horses available, an abundance of power exists for almost any situation. Full throttle is an event, resulting in an amazing exhaust roar accompanied by incredible acceleration. The M8 Competition achieves triple-digit speeds extremely quickly; although we released the throttle at that point, the car remained willing to continue accelerating at an alarming rate.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceExtreme Performance
Even though the 2020 BMW M8 Competition is not a small vehicle, its performance relegates size to mere afterthought. Not only does the car offer extreme straight-line acceleration, the suspension, all-wheel-drive system and sticky tires make the M8 a joy to drive when the road gets curvy. Possessing pinpoint steering precision coupled with excellent grip, the M8 seems to encourage drivers to attack corners faster and faster. We haven’t had the opportunity to take the M8 Competition on a racetrack, although we can confidently say this powerful M8 would be in its element.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceComfortable Cruiser
One admirable trait that can be attributed to all BMWs — and it goes for the M8 Competition as well — is how well the automaker’s vehicles transition from performance machine at one moment to comfortable road car the next. BMW allows drivers to set up driving characteristics to suit the conditions, including settings for engine, transmission, chassis, steering, brakes, stability control, all-wheel-drive system and exhaust note. Setting everything to the most comfortable settings turns the M8 Competition into an almost docile cruiser. Power remains fully available, but the drive experience is less frenetic.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceM Buttons
Repeated scrolling through endless menus to change vehicle configurations would become complicated and tedious for those who appreciate the joy of driving, so BMW engineers created programmable presets. Two M buttons on the steering wheel can be preset with desired settings for all parameters. During our testing we discovered that setting one M button for full comfort and the other for extreme performance works well for transitioning from highway cruising to backroad fun.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 9.0
A longtime BMW tagline refers to each of the automaker’s vehicles as “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” and the M8 Competition certainly fits that moniker. The sleek lines, aggressive stance and bold exhaust note let passersby know the M8 Competition is a high-performance machine, and the turbocharged V8 certainly confirms those expectations. Granted, its high price of entry limits the BMW M8 Competition to those in particular tax brackets, but for those with the means this luxurious high-performance machine would add considerable excitement to the daily drive.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW M8 Competition
Sleek styling.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW M8 Competition
Adaptive LED headlights.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW M8 Competition
Twenty-inch M Star Spoke bi-color wheels shod with high-performance Pirelli P Zero tires.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW M8 Competition
The carbon fiber trim works well with the Java Green paint.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW M8 Competition
Carbon fiber roof reduces weight and lowers the center of gravity.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW M8 Competition
Almost every part of the driving experience can be set for comfort or higher performance.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 BMW M8 Competition
Gauge cluster is completely configurable.

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