BMW has a large car platform that underpins its big vehicles – 5, 7 and 8 Series. They have an engine in the front, mounted longitudinally, and variously drive the rear or all four wheels.

Given power outputs starting with a six are common not just to the M8 but also the M5, which has a job to do as a family car as well as a super-saloon, it’s not surprising that four-wheel drive is the default for BMW’s most powerful.

Laser lights are part of the £20k Ultimate Pack that, externally, also adds some carbonfibre trim. The lights turn night into day.

The M5’s four-wheel-drive powertrain, 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 and automatic gearbox are carried straight across with even the same power output – 616bhp developed at 6000rpm and a fulsome torque figure of 553lb ft developed with table-top flatness all the way from 1800rpm to 5800rpm.

As with Mercedes-AMG’s twin-turbocharged V8, the two turbos sit between the two cylinder banks – in a ‘hot vee’, colloquially – which makes the response better because the exhaust feeds more quickly into them. Because the turbos aren’t mounted to the side of the engine, it can be more easily packaged, too, (often lower in the car than a wider engine), despite the unit’s higher centre of gravity.

Away from the driveline, it’d be unfair to say the M8 is just a two-door version of the M5. The suspension hardware is mostly common to both cars, it’s true, but 201mm has come out of the wheelbase, the body rides 10mm closer to the ground and there is more underbody bracing in the M8 than the M5. The front subframe reinforcement plate is attached to the sills and there’s reinforcement at the rear, too.

The rear track is also 38mm wider than an M5’s and all of these combined, says BMW, means there’s no need for an active roll control or rear steer system as is sometimes fitted to large or heavy cars – and, at 1885kg and 4867mm long, the M8 is both of those.

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