• The 2020 BMW M8 is Here But is it a Suitable Investment over the M850i?

The first ever BMW M8 comes as a coupe or convertible, as well as Competition spec for both

No more waiting around for BMW to reveal and fully detail the first car to bear the M8 badge. While there was a previous 8 Series model back in the 1990s, it never spawned an M8, so this is it. BMW will sell it to you in coupe or convertible guise or, if you want a more extreme edge to the M8 experience, you can have either spiced up Competition guise.

What Do We Know About the 2020 BMW M8?

The 2020 BMW M8 is Here But is it a Suitable Investment over the M850i? Exterior
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Non-Competition M8 examples will be powered by a 592 horsepower (600 PS), 4.4-liter, twin-turbo, V-8 that also makes 750 Nm (553 pound-feet) of torque and sends its power to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission and xDrive all-wheel drive. Opt for the more hardcore Competition version and power is upped to 617 horsepower (625 PS) and this drops the claimed sprint time to 100 km/h (62 mph) to from 3.3 seconds to 3.2 seconds for the Coupe and from 3.4 to 3.3 seconds for the drop-top.

The force-fed V-8 looks like the same unit that powers the M850i, but it has different internals that allow it to make more power and torque. It also sits on firmer engine mounts, and it breathes out through a louder exhaust that also changes the sound character of the engine compared to the M850i. The sound signature is also altered through the use of cross-bank exhaust manifolds.

The 2020 BMW M8 is Here But is it a Suitable Investment over the M850i? Exterior
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The car’s all-wheel drive system comes with an electronically controlled M differential that can be set in one of two modes: 4WD for regular driving and 4WD Sport for more spirited driving.

As with the current M5, with which the M8 shares its engine and many drive components, disabling the stability control puts the car into 2WD mode. That meansthe front axle is mechanically decoupled so all the power actually goes to the rear but, as you can imagine, since this is only possible with the stability nannies disabled, it will make this car act a bit wayward, so it’s best reserved for controlled environments such as a track.

Since these are expensive, ultra fast performance cars, efficiency is probably not a prime concern for you, but that doesn’t mean BMW has not at least tried to make the vehicles somewhat efficient for what they are. The Bavarian automaker claims the M8 returns between 10.5 and 10.8 l/100km (22.4 and 21.8 U.S. mpg) on average, depending on the selected model. The convertible uses a bit more than the coupe, while the Competition model further increases the number, but not by a significant amount.

The 2020 BMW M8 is Here But is it a Suitable Investment over the M850i? Exterior
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2020 BMW M8 - drivetrain specifications
M8 Coupe M8 Competition Coupe M8 Convertible M8 Competition Convertible
Engine type S63B44T4 S63B44T4 S63B44T4 S63B44T4
Engine type V8 V8 V8 V8
Induction Turbocharged Turbocharged Turbocharged Turbocharged
Cylinders 8 8 8 8
Valves per cylinder 4 4 4 4
Stroke mm 88.3 88.3 88.3 88.3
Bore mm 89.0 89.0 89.0 89.0
Displacement cm³ 4,395 4,395 4,395 4,395
Compression rate :1 10.0 10.0 10.0 10.0
Engine power hp 600 HP @ 6,000 RPM 617 HP @ 6,000 RPM 600 HP @ 6,000 RPM 617 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Engine torque 553 LB-FT @ 1,800 – 5,700 RPM 553 LB-FT @ 1,800 - 5,860 RPM 553 LB-FT @ 1,800 – 5,700 RPM 553 LB-FT @ 1,800 – 5,860 RPM
0-60 mph seconds 3.1 3.0 3.2 3.1
Top speed (optional) mph 155 (189) 155 (189) 155 (189) 155 (189)

What sets the M8 apart visually from the M850i? Well, it has flared wheel arches, it comes with unique front and rear bumpers, unique 19-inch rims that hide bigger brakes, gloss black trim in place of chrome, and a dinky little trunk lid spoiler that has to be one of the smallest of its type on a performance car of this caliber. But even so, this is a BMW, so we’re sure it actually has a purpose being there. For the hardtop version, you may also be able to spot the double-bubble contoured roof panel that’s made out of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP).

The 2020 BMW M8 is Here But is it a Suitable Investment over the M850i?
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Inside, BMW has bestowed the M8 with unique M8-branded seats, a unique steering wheel, and unique leather-clad gear selector for the automatic gearbox.

The fully digital gauge cluster has M-specific graphics, and the keen eyed among you may also spot the M Mode and Setup buttons located next to the gear selector.

U.S. Pricing for the M8 Coupe starts at $133,000 or $142,500 if you want the M8 Coupe Competition. The M8 Convertible kicks off at $146,000, while the M8 Convertible Competition bumps that up to $155,000. At this price, all models come very well specced, and there aren’t that many options to choose from. Noteworthy options include the M Carbon-ceramic brakes, the M Carbon exterior package, and some driver assistance nannies too, but other than these, the car is pretty much fully loaded as standard.

2020 BMW M8 - prices
2020 BMW M8 Coupe $133,000
2020 BMW M8 Coupe Competition $146,000
2020 BMW M8 Convertible $142,500
2020 BMW M8 Competition Convertible $155,500

The 2020 BMW M8 versus 2020 BMW M850i - is the M8 worth it?

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It wasn’t so long ago that BMW’s exclusive and super sporty Motorsport models used to come with a bespoke engine that wasn’t available on any other car. The spine-tingling V-10-powered E60 M5 comes to mind, as does the E90 M3 with its glorious V-8, or even the V8-powered E39 M5 before that. All these cars were made even more special simply because you could not get their engine any other (lesser) BMW.

Now the new M8 has come along with the S63, 4.4-liter V-8 engine.

Sure, the M8 looks meaner with its flared wheel arches, double-bubble CFRP roof, unique rims, and carbon fiber bits, and yes, it is more powerful and therefore faster, but is it worth the extra money?

I mean the M850i makes less power, at 523 horsepower, but exactly as much torque as the M8, and its 3.6-second sprint time isn’t far off, either.

With some tasteful cosmetic aftermarket parts, you could make an M850i look a lot like the M8, and that engine could definitely be professionally tuned to similar power levels (and also be made to sound similar with a pro custom exhaust system). The gearbox is pretty much the same (albeit with different calibration for the M8), the all-wheel drive system is the same (although you cannot disconnect the rear axle in the M850i) and, for probably 90 percent of drivers, the driving experience offered by the two will feel extremely close.

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The M850i starts at $111,900 in the U.S., so that means it’s exactly $21,000 cheaper than the M8, and it has all of the modifications listed above. The modifications that would take the M850i into M8 performance territory and give it more of a Motorsport look would probably bump the price by about the same and you would probably lose the car’s warranty too.

So, I think that it’s not the M850i that makes the M8 redundant, but that it’s the other way around.

Sure, $21,000 is not chump change, but for the extra performance and exclusivity offered, it’s not a bad deal. You’re better off spending the extra cash because an M8 will hold its value better than an M850i come resale time.

How Does the 2020 BMW M8 Compare to the Competition?

The 2020 BMW M8 is Here But is it a Suitable Investment over the M850i? Exterior
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BMW is aiming for the very pinnacle of big performance grand tourers with the M8. The car will go up against the likes of the Mercedes AMG GT-R, the Aston Martin DBS and, last but not least, the Mercedes S-Class Coupe. All of these cars are similarly priced, have similar power outputs, and all try to blend supercar performance with the long-legged character associated with a grand tourer. The M8 steps in with plenty of power, the promise that it can outhandle all of these cars, and extra sophistication in terms of chassis and electronics.

You should choose it over, say, the Mercedes S-Class Coupe if you want a more connected feel while driving quickly, , less roll through corners, and more cornering grip. It won’t challenge the S-Class for luxury, but since the M8 will be far rarer than lesser 8-Series models, it will challenge any S-Class for exclusivity.

The 2020 BMW M8 is Here But is it a Suitable Investment over the M850i? Exterior
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In my mind, the M8’s biggest rivals are cars like the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera. Yes, the Aston is quite a bit more expensive and it lacks all-wheel drive, but they are comparable in terms of power and performance.

The fact that a BMW can now challenge an Aston Martin is definitely a worthy feat.

Yes, at the end of the day, having an Aston Martin sounds better than having a BMW, but if you look at this in a more pragmatic way, the M8 is a good deal based on the performance it offers and the uber expensive company it keeps.

Has it been worth the decades-long wait for the first ever M8?

The 2020 BMW M8 is Here But is it a Suitable Investment over the M850i? Exterior
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Well, yes and no. The old 8-Series, in 850i guise, was powered by a glorious sounding V-12 engine and that in and of itself made the car quite exclusive. It endowed it with extra bragging rights over cars that were ‘only’ powered by a V-8. And, that wasn’t even designed as an M8 substitute - it was simply the pinnacle of the first-gen 8-Series range.

With this new M8, a lot of stuff is carried over from the M850i.

Its engine, drivetrain, gearbox, most of the interior and, well, pretty much everything. However, BMW’s Motorsport division usually makes some very noticeable changes to M-badged cars, and we’re pretty sure you’re really going to be able to notice the difference between the two out on a track.

The 2020 BMW M8 is Here But is it a Suitable Investment over the M850i? Exterior
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The difference in price between an M850i and the M8 is not huge and, in this context, the M8 is probably a better value than the M850i, if you can provide the extra cash. Sure, it would have been nicer and more exclusive if it didn’t share its engine with most of BMW’s higher performance (even non-M cars), but between the performance it provides for the price and rival cars from even more exclusive manufacturers costing significantly more, the M8 is a welcome addition to the 600-ish horsepower two-door segment.

Further reading

2019 BMW 8 Series Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2019 BMW 8 Series.

2019 BMW M8 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full speculative review on the 2019 BMW M8 Coupe.

2019 BMW M8 Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Read our full speculative review on the 2019 BMW M8 Convertible.

2018 BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 BMW M8 Gran Coupe Concept.

2019 BMW 8 Series High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the BMW 8 Series Concept Coupe.

Andrei Nedelea
Andrei Nedelea
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