This year, BMW unveiled its most powerful, most expensive, most high-numbered M performance vehicle available on the market today: the 2020 BMW M8 Competition, available in either a 2-door coupe or 4-door gran coupe. Aside from claiming the highest number on the famed M food chain, it has some other impressive numbers: 617 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque, which can get you from 0km/h to the 401 speed limit of 100km/h in just over 3 seconds. All that for a starting MSRP of $151,000 Canadian.
It’s insanely powerful and insanely fast, but this sports car has been getting a ton of heat in the reviews.
BMW created the M8 to compete in the Grand Touring (GT) category alongside staunch competitors like the AMG S63, and Bentley Continental GT (both used for comparison in this piece). The M8 has consistently lost in the reviews to both of these cars when compared overall. However, these comparisons have made the M8 seem like an illogical GT option to purchase when it really offers the happy middle ground to owning a high-performance GT, and here’s why.
‘Control-A’ on Options & Features
BMW has opted to pack in more tech and features in as standard when it comes to your car’s specs. For an additional value pack price of $14,000, the BMW Individual Manufaktur Package gives you the highest-end tech and quality material on the interior and all-carbon fibre features on the exterior. Some of these features include:
- BMW Display Key
- Carbon Fibre Roof, Diffuser, Intakes, Side Mirror Caps
- BMW Laser Headlights
- Parking Assistant
- BMW Drive Recorder (built-in dash cam)
- Night Vision & Pedestrian Detection
- Gesture Controls
- Ambient Lighting
- Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System
- And tons more
When it comes to competitors like AMG and Bentley, they dime you on every bell and whistle you add to your custom car. In the luxury category, these numbers add up. Given the AMG S63 starts at an MSRP of $188,900 and the Bentley Continental GT at $222,800 as a base, you can imagine what the final price tag would look like once you’ve designed your dream ride. A fully specced out BMW M8 Competition would run you just under $195,000.
I hopped on to BMW’s online ‘Price & Build’ configurator and specced out my own BMW M8 Competition and here’s what it looks like:
So, where does it get the heat?
A lot of the heat on the 2020 BMW M8 Competition about speccing comes down to it not being as luxurious as its competitors or not being all that different from other cars in its lineup. On the luxury front, when it comes to more value in tech and features for your dollar, the M8 is a bargain compared to competitors. When it comes to setting itself apart from other models in the BMW family, the automaker is more concerned with making their cars work with a driver-first experience. That focus delivers sheer driving pleasure instead of having the most luxurious appeal.
Performance That Drives for Itself
BMW has long lived up to its slogan as The Ultimate Driving Machine. When we look at the numbers, the M8 outperforms its rivals in speed.
While both AMG and Bentley offer more torque and Bentley has more horsepower, they both fall short on speed performance in comparison. The difference is largely thanks to BMW’s intelligent all-wheel drive system, which gives the 2020 BMW M8 Competition a strong ability to distribute its power well onto the road. This incredible performance puts the M8 Competition into supercar territory and it can beat out contenders like the Lamborghini Huracan, Audi R8 V10, Ferrari 458 Italia, and Aston Martin DBS Superleggera in reaching 100km/h first.
So, where does it get the heat?
The 2020 BMW M8 Competition uses the same engine as the M5 Competition, and both share the same horsepower and speed. Much of the heat coming in is that the M8 is just an M5 with a new body. Technically this is true, but the 2020 BMW M8 Competition is still faster than the M5. That’s because it’s a tad lighter, has improved weight distribution and a more aerodynamic design. Check out this video on how the M8 Competition stacks up against the M5 Competition.
When it comes to day-to-day driving, the fastest top speed will not be something you’re going to use very often. Rarely, unless you plan on hitting up the track frequently. Having awesome acceleration is what matters in the city and produces the regular thrill for a daily driver. Top speed wise, the M8 is fast enough.
A great visualization of acceleration over top speed is seen in this smart ForTwo commercial back from 2014.
Exterior Design That’s Consistently Aggressive
A significant area the 2020 BMW M8 Competition has gotten a ton of heat on is its exterior design. Many reviews of the M8 looks cite that it falls short of expectations of what the public imagined. They claim it falls on the side of being unassuming. The S63 and Continental GT are better comparisons to each other than to the M8. They target a market that is looking for increased opulence and luxury appeal. However, compared to what I like to call “road aggression’, I find the M8 wins out.
When people are looking for a sports car, they want something aggressive. The Continental GT takes on a more luxurious and opulent presence but does not scream aggression. The AMG S63 is moving in a better direction regarding its road aggression on the road. Still, the 2020 BMW M8 Competition has a lower and more aggressive stance. With its iconic BMW headlights, familiar kidney grills, and signature M side-view mirror design, the M8 is a perfect blend of aggression. This design is also something that I appreciate as it’s consistent with the brand. You would not mistake a BMW when you see one.
While the S63 and Continental GT may have a more opulent appearance, the 2020 BMW M8 Competition has a much more athletic look. It looks much more aerodynamic. It seems like something designed to go fast.
Even the rear of the M8 has a lot going on in the aggression department. Wide taillights accentuate the M8’s wide stance on the road, and the four exhaust tips with the carbon fibre diffuser give it a monstrous finish.Between these cars, if one appeared behind you on the highway, I’d place my bets on people moving out of the way more often for the M8.
The More Heat The More Rare
I believe that there are so few M8s on the road due to much of the car’s negative rep. Since the car’s release, I have only ever seen it three times: once parked in a lot, once parked behind a gate, and once drove by. At the same time, I’ve seen countless AMGs, Bentleys, Porsches, and Lamborghinis. To me, this gives the M8 a particular rarity to it, and whenever it shows up, you immediately feel it’s presence; that it’s not just any car or any BMW. It’s extraordinary in that regard.
The Sweet Spot of Sports Cars
Ultimately, different brands and cars appeal to different people’s tastes. However, suppose you’re considering a new GT along with cars like the AMG S63 and Continental GT. In that case, the BMW M8 Competition is a strong contender that gives you the middle ground in the sports car category. It’s packed with loads of tech and performance, a more athletic and aggressive appearance and for a much lower price.
As a daily driver, the 2020 BMW M8 Competition would be an excellent choice.