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The range-topping M car tries to straddle being both a sports car and a GT – with mixed results

This revised BMW M8 Competition Coupé, the explosive 616bhp V8 range-topper in the ever-growing BMW M range, is more model-year change than mid-life refresh. It is billed as the latter but is in reality the former because the changes only really go skin deep.

They extend to new colour, wheel and trim options, a bigger infotainment screen inside and lightly tweaked front-end styling.

However, BMW now wants you to consider the 7- and 8-baged models at the top of its range as true luxury cars rather than mere premium ones. Thus, the M8 is labelled by its maker as a luxury sports car, one that swells to just over £150,000 with the £20k of options as fitted here and into Aston Martin Vantage territory and not a million miles away from a Bentley Continental GT. So it’s with this fresh branding and approach in mind that we will assess it.

Bmw m8 2022 005 rear action

Whatever the marketeers at BMW might say, these changes and that repositioning have had no impact on the main elephant in the room with the M8: that it does not successfully satisfy either the role of a sports car or a GT.

The M8 never quite knows what it wants to be. The performance and acceleration is equivalent to that of a supercar, and so easily and effortlessly accessed with monster levels of grip and stability to boot.

That’s of course in no small part to the excellent 4.4-litre V8 engine, and the eight-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive system. It’s less the power, more the 553lb ft of torque you notice the most. Peak torque arrives at just 1800rpm and stays with you for more than 4000rpm more, and surges the M8 relentlessly forward in almost any scenario and gear. Shifts are slick and the way it gathers and carries speed is quite remarkable. 

Yet all this power and torque is delivered in a way that’s all rather undramatic, as if the engine is shy of making any kind of V8 growl. It’s almost eerily quiet. If you’re buying a car like the M8, surely you want to make a bit of an entrance? 

As for the handling, it’s unwilling or perhaps more likely unable to immerse you fully in attacking your favourite B-road due to the sheer size and weight of it. Our road test of the M8 a couple of years ago found hidden depths to the car when on a track, but on the road, it just falls a bit flat for an M car and feels precise and predictable in its handling rather than exciting. And it’s by these standards you must judge it: it is not an M Performance model, remember, and is sold and marketed as a full-fat M car. More engaging handling should be a given. 

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Bmw m8 2022 015 cabin

So the M8 doesn’t handle like a sports car, yet the road noise and firm ride remove it from serious consideration as a GT. It’s never uncomfortable, but it also never really settles and flows down a road at low or higher speeds. 

What does impress is the interior. The infotainment and technology are well integrated and easy to use, while it’s also supremely comfortable and the material quality is excellent. It’s not at Bentley levels, but it also feels an awfully long way from a BMW 1 Series. As it should for the price, mind. 

Still, the M8 feels like a car set up for a fall by BMW for being given an M badge in the first place. It just never feels as sporty as an M car should, and in chasing that M dream, it also ends up being compromised in what could have been a more compelling and interesting GT car.

Consider it a technical showcase, then, a car that’s easy to be impressed by for much of what it does but difficult to love. Big front-engined V8s are an endangered species, sports car or GT, so while they’re still around, their ilk is best enjoyed elsewhere.


Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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si73 9 August 2022
Never seen one on the road but it looks Mustang sized and in profile a similar shape to the Mustang as well, whilst it may not suit the UK as well as it does Germany or the US as someone else stated, I still reckon it'll find buyers who want the top rung of the BMW ladder and I doubt anyone will really be disappointed.
567 8 August 2022

Disappointing however might be a better used buy when most of the money is lost from the car.

abkq 8 August 2022

Huge car, poor space utilisation, and the styling is not special enough to justify the compromise in cabin space. 

I would call such a large heavy expensive coupe a dinosaur, an evolutionary dead end.