BMW’s ultimate M8 is getting closer to productionby Dim Angelov, on LISTEN 07:16
BMW has been testing an odd-looking BMW 8-Series. On the outside, the car looks like a normal BMW M8, but with a few very distinctive differences. We have known for a while that BMW has been cooking something else based on the 8-Series and all evidence suggests that it will be a hotter version of the car, sitting above the M8 Competition. Straight away, there are a few noticeable differences, and this is what you need to know.
2022 BMW M8 CSL
On a few occasions, BMW claimed that this was not a hotter version of the M8, but a prototype for testing some M8 accessories and race components. There were even rumors that BMW was using the 8-Series test mule to develop a mid-engine supercar, but that seems a bit far-fetched given the car’s proportions and the company’s future plans.
What we see is a front grille with no mesh, for improved cooling, as well as a more aggressive front splitter. On the side, we see slotted read windows. This begs the question: is the M8 CSL going to have a full interior and air-conditioning, or is it going to be a stripped-down track version of the Gran Tourer? The vents are probably there to let fresh air into the cabin, or they might not serve a purpose other than to make us wonder.
The side skirts and rear bumper flanks are finished in black. This could mean that the production car might have a unique body kit that, together with the new front splitter, will channel air along the sides of the car. The car also seems to be quite low, so expect some new clever suspension setup. One thing that no camouflage can hide is the tall fixed rear wing.
The new rear diffuser is still covered in camouflage, but we do see a new central light, positioned in between the exhausts, just like on a BMW M8 GTE race car. We also notice that the rear window is still being masked.
No interior shots are available at the moment, but we expect it to be a stripped version of what we’ve seen on the M8. Expect a lot of exposed carbon fiber and possibly an integrated roll-cage, along with a rear-seat delete (they’ll probably charge you to put it back in).
Powertrain and Performance
Engine-wise, we expect a hefty bump in power.
Given the M8 Competition’s 625-horsepower figure, we expect to see close to 700 horsepower in this sportier interpretation.
By now, the eight-speed ZF automatic has been established as BMW’s go-to transmission unit. It is expected to get a new remap, favoring more aggressive driving and shifting. Power delivery will probably be entrusted to the Xdrive system, but you’ll still be able to switch to rear-wheel-drive only.
The BMW M8 CSL is expected to debut in spring 2022, which means the official unveiling could be towards the end of this year.
Since the car is still in development, it will be a while before BMW gives us exact prices. That said, if we look at the existing M8 prices, we can get a rough estimate. The standard BMW M8 starts at around $130,000, while the M8 Competition - $147,995. Depending on what options you have, it can go up to $175,745. With this in mind, we expect BMW will charge you at least $200,000 for the upcoming M8 CSL.
If we talk about track versions of performance cars, the Porsche 911 GT3 is one that should always be considered.
Still holding the title of the fastest normally-aspirated road-going 911, the GT3 is as track-focused as ever. It might have a 4.0-liter normally-aspirated flat-six with "only" 510 horsepower and 347 pound-feet (470 Nm), but the Porsche 911 has proven to be quite capable even when it outgunned (on paper).
Moreover, it offers one of the best chassis in the business, despite the engine hanging all the way in the back and if you opt for the PDK gearbox, you have arguably the best dual-clutch transmission, currently on offer.
It also has a lot less weight to lug around, at 3,126 pounds (1,417 kg). For comparison, the lightweight M8 CSL is expected to tip the scales at around 3,814 pounds (1,730 kg).
The GT3 will be noticeably cheaper, as PDK-equipped models start from $143,600. And let’s not forget it’s based on an already capable performance car, instead of a powerful gran-tourer, even if a sportier one.
Read our full review on the Porsche 911 GT3
When it came out (ages ago), the GTR was a proper Porsche, Ferrari, and Lambo killer. Fast forward 13 years and the platform is finally showing its age. The GTR used to be a supercar bargain, but its prolonged lifespan changed that. It certainly isn’t a bargain when it comes to the latest NISMO version, which costs $210,740.
You still get the same capable Lotus-designed chassis and the very capable and durable 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6, now with 600 horsepower and 481 pound-feet (652 Nm). Although updated, the interior still lacks the finish of the latest Porsche and BMW M Gmbh have to offer. Despite the fact, Godzilla is still capable of wiping the floor with many modern exotic cars, there’s no denying the fact that you’d be spending new car money on what is essentially a modified car from 2008.
Read our full review on the Nissan GTR NISMO
The BMW M8 CSL is a bold move from BMW.
With this, the Bavarian carmaker wants to prove that you can indeed put a fat man in a pair of running shoes and it will make him an athlete.
I am certainly not aiming to ridicule the BMW M8, as it is an immensely capable machine, but at its core, it is a luxury car that can double as a performance car, rather than the other way around.
Still, the current M8 can pull some impressive numbers and the M8 CSL will surely attract the spotlight away from cars like the GTR NISMO and 911 GT3. After all, AMG surpassed all expectations when its "Red Pig" finished second at the 1971 24 Hours of Spa. The question is, will the M8 CSL be able to run hard and long enough with the already established track weapons in the segment?