Don’t for a second think that BMW M’s first foray into the world of the luxurious super-GT means that it has suddenly come over all soft. On first acquaintance, the M8 Competition’s sharp creases, chiselled edges and gaping intakes lend it a look that’s as aggressive as any other M car you care to name – even when its shorn of its roof.
BMW hasn’t pulled any punches in terms of its technical specification, either. The 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V8 that lies behind the M8’s large, high-gloss black kidney grille is the same heavy-hitting unit that powers the M5 Competition, here developing 617bhp at 6000rpm and 553lb ft at 1800-5800rpm.
This considerable firepower is deployed to the road via an eight-speed gearbox, BMW’s active M differential and a fully configurable, rear-axle-biased xDrive four-wheel drive system – and, just as in the M5, the xDrive system can send all of that power and torque rearwards, all of the time, if you want it to.
Meanwhile, a greater level of torsional rigidity, courtesy of an even stiffer M-specific CLAR platform, should help lift the M8’s appetite for quick direction changes over and above that of the standard 8 Series. Competition models also benefit from stiffer engine mounts and a greater wheel camber at the front axle than is found on the standard M8 to sharpen handling responses even further; and while the story is different in other markets, BMW UK will offer the M8 for sale in Competition guise only.