A menacing look from its LED headlamps and a soul stirring growl from its twin exhausts at the rear announce the presence of the M8 Gran Coupe and its more athletic cousin, the Competition Gran Coupe before the eyes can soak in the low, wide and muscular beauty from BMW. The M8 Gran Coupe looks similar to the two door coupe till the A pillar with its wide and narrow interpretation of the kidney grille. The grille has double slats and the M colours to differentiate it from the lesser mortal cousins. The 20″ wheels fill in the wheel arches well giving away the sporty character and race track biased capabilities of the car. The huge inbuilt spoiler at the rear also does not make any attempt to hide what this beast is intended for. The front fenders have the, now compulsory M gills for ventillating the brakes.
Inside, the car seats four adults in comfort. You can also take in a fifth passenger for short drives. The car has a wheelbase of 3,027 mm which makes the cabin spacious and comfortable. The M8 interiors are swathed in acres of leather with the mandatory M logos and stitching. The driver and co-driver get sporty leather seats with perforated 3D quilting and integral head rests. The seats can be adjusted for fore/ aft position, back rest angle, backrest width, thigh support and head restraint height allowing the driver to a find a comfortable driving position to race down the track or for mile munching down the autobahns. The rear seat can be split 40:20:40 with the seats being operated from inside the boot also for convenience. The boot itself can hold up to 400 litres of luggage for a nice driving holiday.
The dashboard is driver focussed and dominated by two screens. A 12.3″ screen behind the steering wheel which displays the mandatory instrumentation and vehicle based information. The same can be projected on the screen thanks to a head up display (HUD). The second screen is for the infotainment system and is 10.25″ across. All the information regarding car set up, navigation etc are accessed through this screen. It also allows access to a host of connected services offered by BMW through BMWConnectedDrive. All these services and various modes can be accessed by the driver through either the Control Display’s touchscreen, the familiar iDrive Touch Controller, the controls on the steering wheel, voice control or gesture control. The driver can also seek the assistance of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant by calling in “Hey BMW”.
BMW has provided the driver with a number of electronic driving support in the form of Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, the Night Vision system, Driving Assistant Professional package, which adds features such as the Steering and lane control assistant, the Lane Keeping Assistant with active side collision protection, the Evasion Assistant, and the Crossroads warning, Wrong-way warning and Front Cross Traffic Alert systems. These systems are optional extras. The standard Parking Assistant also includes a rear view camera, while upgrading to the optional Parking Assistant Plus adds the Top View, Panorama View and 3D Top View functions to the mix.
The driver can choose from a number of driving modes which control the performance of the engine, the suspension as well as the transmission. These include, the EFFICIENT, SPORT and SPORT PLUS settings to alter the engine map. The COMFORT, SPORT and SPORT PLUS chassis options give access to the three profiles for the electronically controlled dampers. COMFORT and SPORT settings alter the response of the M-specific electromechanical steering and the new braking system. The Dynamic stability control controls the transfer of torque and power to the four wheels. When it is switched off, the driver can opt for the 4WD, 4WD SPORT and 2WD (for pure rear-wheel drive) settings for the M xDrive all-wheel-drive system.
The M8 Gran Coupe is powered by a 4.4 litre twin turbo V-8 direct injection petrol engine with VALVETRONIC variable valve timing and Double-VANOS variable camshaft control. The engine produces 600 HP at 6,000 rpm, redlining at 7,200 rpm. It also generates a torque of 750 N-m between 1,800 and 5,600 rpm. In case of the M8 Competition Gran Coupe, the same engine extracts another 25 HP to produce 625 HP at 6,000 rpm, while the torque of 750 N-m is available till another 200 rpm at 5,800 rpm. The power and torque is transmitted to the four wheels through the 8 speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic, M xDrive all-wheel drive and the Active M Differential. Though its a four wheel drive system, the M xDrive is rear wheel biased. When the switched off, the car becomes a rear wheel drive. The direct connection to the engine, optimum ratio spacing and incredibly short shift times mean that drive power is relayed with urgency. The transmission can be operated using the restyled gear selector complete with Drivelogic button or the M shift paddles on the steering wheel. The Drivelogic function makes it possible to adjust the transmission’s shift characteristics in both automatic and manual modes by activating one of three clearly distinguishable settings. Drivers can choose from gear change setups specially configured for a more comfortable ride, sporty driving or track use respectively
Both the engines are designed for the track and have installed special cooling systems for the engine as well as transmission oil systems. The V-8 engines push the M8 Gran Coupe from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.3 seconds while 200 km/h is reached in 11.2 seconds. In case of the Competition the numbers come down to 3.2 seconds and 11 seconds. While both the cars have an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h, one can opt for the optional M Driver’s Package pushing the top speed to 305 km/h. These engines are connected to a free flowing exhaust system with flaps which controls the sound emanating from the twin exhaust pipes at the rear with the mode selected.
The M8 Gran Coupe and M8 Competition Gran Coupe have been developed for track as well as road use. The kinematics and elastokinematics of the front and rear axle are designed for both wheel location and directional stability. The design has resulted in enhanced agility and precision in dynamic handling situations without compromising ride comfort in everyday driving. Not only do the M-specific forged links and the extremely stiff setup of the anti-roll bars on the five-link rear axle lend themselves to fleet-footed agility, they are a factor in the precise responses of the suspension and damping elements. The M8 Gran Coupe and Competition Gran Coupe have adaptive suspension with electronically controlled dampers whose setup can be varied at the touch of a button. COMFORT mode smooths out imperfections in the road surface, while switching to SPORT mode activates significantly firmer damper settings, fine-tuned on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit. Activating SPORT PLUS mode produces an even tauter setup to achieve maximum longitudinal and lateral acceleration on smooth stretches of asphalt, such as race tracks.
Braking is provided by vented M compound brakes with six-piston fixed callipers at front and vented M compound brakes with single-piston floating callipers. Other safety features include airbags for driver and front passenger, side airbags for driver and front passenger, head airbags for front and rear seats, three-point inertia-reel seat belts on all seats with belt stopper, belt latch tensioner and belt force limiter in the front, crash sensors and tyre pressure indicator.