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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Practical test: BMW M8 Gran Coupé Competition: On a fast journey

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The era of the large coupés seems to be coming to an end. More and more manufacturers are removing the elegant luxury models with previously only two and now four doors from their portfolios. Good that there is still one like the BMW M8 Gran Coupé.

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Admittedly, the spectacularly elegant Gran Coupé from BMW also does the same thing as the M850i ​​with the magnificent V8 turbo, which is just as enchanting with its voluminous sound as with its impressive driving performance. Is there any reason to top it all off and treat yourself to the 180,500 euro M8 Gran Coupé Competition? In itself only this one: you want to own the absolute top model and there are significantly more customers than you might think who like to spend those gigantic 45,000 euros more than with the M850i ​​Gran Coupé. The number of interested parties has grown again, because even the last car fan should now realize that the time of the combustion engine is slowly but surely coming to an end. Even BMW, who do not want to ban the joy of driving combustion engines, should at best be able to imagine the next generation as a plug-in hybrid. The current M8 is therefore the last to roll out of Garching into the well-heeled customer world without a plug. Of course, an elegant cross between a luxury coupé and a similar power sedan with powerful electric motors on the front and rear axles is conceivable, such as an Audi E-Tron GT or a Porsche Taycan, but the emotions that a Mercedes AMG CLS, an Audi RS7, a Porsche Panamera Turbo S or even a BMW M8 Gran Coupé when driving in their interiors, they are completely different with an electric drive, because engine vibrations, drive acoustics and the enchanting inertia of a potent high-performance engine are simply missing.

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The 5.10 meter long BMW M8 Gran Coupé Competition spoils you with all these characteristics and the usual spectacular performance. The four-door offers space for four adults. In contrast to the normal BMW M8 Coupé, two more people can enjoy the Bavarian’s leather-covered luxury fund while driving. The sports seats are comfortable, the space available thanks to the 3.03 meter long wheelbase is very decent and if it weren’t for the limited space for the rear hairstyle – the sportiest of all eights would even scratch the grandiose BMW 7 Series in terms of drive and handling, the latest design however, appeals to a completely different clientele. The name suffix “Competition” promises a little more spice, which cannot be used in everyday life – especially not in the sunny state of Florida. But when you step on the gas faster than you would like, you can tell that all of the 460 kW / 625 hp are available on demand under the contoured bonnet.

If you put your mind to it, the two-ton colossus in a tailor-made suit can sprint from a standing start to 100 km/h in little more than three seconds, and the speed limiter only switches on beyond the 305 km/h mark. BMW promises an average consumption of 11.2 liters of premium fuel per 100 kilometers, which can be maximally influenced by the driver’s commitment. If things are casual and relaxed, twelve liters are always feasible in real operation. With a dedicated driving style, 15 liters are set.

The thrust of the turbocharged eight-cylinder with its 4.4 liter displacement is powerful and the 750 Nm maximum torque, accompanied by a sonorous roar, already pushes at a low 1,800 rpm, although the all-wheel drive Bavarian brings two tons of curb weight to the ground – almost perfectly on both axes distributed. The steering is magnificent and in fact the power four-door can inspire not only in comfort mode. But this mode is sporty perfect, in which the eight begins its service after pressing the red starter button. In the selectable sport modes, it is admittedly very tight with its variable dampers and access to the steering, but also very convincing. This applies not least to the suppressed pitching and rolling movements, which are not noticeable at any speed. In addition, this magnificent feedback from the steering wheel via the M steering wheel, which is probably a bit too thick – simply great. The driver not only learns to appreciate the well-contoured and air-conditioned leather seats when accelerating. Unfortunately, the adjustment range is too small, especially in the front area under the thighs, and the leg rest can only be pulled out manually. This should be done electrically in this price league and be included in the memo package. On request there are even carbon bucket seats, which then seem a bit too strained for a car in this class. The very well-functioning voice control, which is excellent for navigation, is a pleasure.

The operation is typical BMW, everything is clear and most of it is easy to understand. The displays have benefited from the latest facelift with a diagonal extension to 12.3 inches. Due to the numerous options for making the driving modes of the M8 sharper or softer, you sometimes have to delve deeper into the submenus of the touch screen and then it quickly becomes confusing. If you want, you can also deactivate the recommended four-wheel drive and direct the impressive power of the eight-cylinder to the rear axle alone. However, the driver quickly eludes the knowledge of what such a thing is supposed to do with a power four-door car with more than 600 hp. You can use the two red M buttons on the steering wheel to set pre-configured modes as you want and then rather not use them in everyday life. After all, it is possible to explain in a promising way to friends and acquaintances what the two additional buttons on the steering wheel are capable of, or even better: the passengers ask you questions that you have always wanted to answer on this topic. On the other hand, one or two normal sports modes would probably have done it for the Bayern star if the whole thing is put in the right light via the displays. And it also seems unlikely that someone would set the shift times on the gear selector lever. But the BMW M8 can – if the driver just wants it.

Source: Stern

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