Looking to the bright future of the M8

Harvey Samuel Firestone is not a guy you would usually tie with BMW, let alone the newest BMW M850i. He founded the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company back in 1900 and paved the way for a well-known marketing idea called - “Win On Sunday, Sell On Monday!”

Muscle car producers (and not only them) used this strategy to their advantage back in the day of really cheap gas. Good old times. It seems that BMW is attempting to implement the same strategy this year with their 8 Series.

BMW unveiled the new 8 Series at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and placed it directly next to their fantastic M8 GTE racer. The model in question was the top spec M850i xDrive Coupe M Performance in orange. BMW Motorsport CEO Franciscus Van Meel and BMW designer Adrian Van Hooydonk talked endlessly to the press there explaining all the bits and pieces.

And it happened! Van Meel said:

“This car (pointing at the M8 GTE) is going to race today, and that car (pointing at the M850i) you can buy later on this year.”

So, yes, BMW M boss is actually telling you to buy the M850i which is such a sports performance machine it felt only natural to reveal it next to its sister, the race-bred M8 GTE. Some questions lingered after seeing the footage. What, for the love of all that is sacred, will the M8 bring? What will it turn into?

Maybe a monster. Maybe an undisputed BMW that the fantastic original 850CSi from the Nineties simply couldn’t have been.

This is a story about the forthcoming BMW M8.

What Do We Know for Sure?

2018 BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe Exterior
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Revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2018, the BMW M8 Gran Coupe demonstrated what the M8 will stand for

It has been announced. Officially.

Revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2018, the BMW M8 Gran Coupe demonstrated what the M8 will stand for. And it did so despite having two extra doors compared to the recently shown Coupe.

“The BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe offers a look ahead to the most exotic and alluring variant of the new BMW 8 Series,” Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president for BMW Group Design, said in a statement. The M8 Gran Coupe is a striking piece of design announcing the new 8 series and the whole class of automobiles soon to be the ultimate of the BMW lineup. The M8s.

Yes, plural. We will have three different M8 models soon. Maybe as soon as 2019. In addition to the M8 Coupe, BMW Motorsport will unveil the M8 Convertible and the M8 Gran Coupe. Only because the world needs more M cars. The M8 Coupe, Convertible, and Gran Coupe have all been spotted on the streets and the tracks already.

2019 BMW M8 Spyshots Exterior High Resolution
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The M8 Coupe, Convertible, and Gran Coupe have all been spotted on the streets and the tracks already.

Apparently, the M8 will be quite different compared with the M850i – an already a scary capable car. TopGear reported that, while chatting with Markus Flasch, Head of the 8 Series Vehicle Line, they found out that the M8 will have a different character compared to, what I would call, civilian versions of the 8. While the M850i personality was affected by the M8 GTE racecar, the M8 will apparently be far closer to the racer than we were previously led to believe. Competing on the grand scale, the M8 GTE offers valuable lessons to Motorsports engineers. All of the accumulated experience will finally be intricately convoluted with the M8.

Already conveying a clear message of sport and dynamism with the M850i xDrive M Performance, BMW M has obviously set the bar really high when it comes to their new flagship.

Yet to be confirmed

BMW's M8 GTE Le Mans Competitor Previews Production M8 Model High Resolution Exterior
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BMW officials did report that the new car is not a 6 Series successor, it is NOT a two-door version of the 7 Series, and it actually has more parts similar to those found in the M8 GTE than in the 7 Series

Taking into account that the M8 has to take the best Motorsport has to offer, I can only imagine what will be under the presumably aluminum bonnet, behind carbon fiber active aero bits, under the CFRP roof, and behind the 20-inch lightweight wheels.

Presenting the new M850i, some BMW officials did report that the new car is not a 6-series successor, it is NOT a two-door version of the 7 series, and it actually has more parts similar to those found in the M8 GTE than in the 7 series. All that, despite being produced in the same plant as the 7 Series. Nevertheless, this tells me that BMW will have to look all across its range to formulate a blend of hardware good enough to make the M8 the fastest and the quickest BMW ever.

Yes, you read that right.

Internet rumors have it that the BMW M8 will be the most performance-intensive machine the company has ever released.

2019 BMW M8 Exterior High Resolution
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In that case, the 4.4-liter M TwinPower Turbo will have to be massaged a bit. That could pose a bit of a problem, though. In 2015, BMW M CEO, Franciscus Van Meel suggested that Motorsport will cap the power of their engines around the 600-horsepower mark.

Speaking to Autocar, he said: "We’re at the limit. If you go on adding more horsepower and torque, it’d probably be over the limits.”

Right now, they are already over it with the current fastest M - the M5 Competition whose engine develops 625 horsepower. If Van Meel wants to remain true to his word, the M8 simply could not deliver much more in terms of power. So, let’s assume they’ll cap it at 650 ponies. Mad enough!? I’d like to think so.

Let’s stick with the M5 Competition a bit longer as this one is most likely to be a donor car for the M8.

Reasonably, we can expect the M8 to get gear similar to the following:

  • M xDrive system
  • electronically controlled multi-plate clutch to transfer power between front and back axles
  • Active M Differential to precisely feed power between two rear wheels (it will be able to make epic drifts)
  • Programmable DSC
  • Full RWD capability
  • Additionally sharpened up electromechanical M Servotronic steering
  • Lower center of gravity compared to the M5 Competition and “regular” 8 Series cars
  • Unique M-design interior traits
  • Wider hips, deeper front intakes, and more prominent rear diffuser contributing to an overall meaner and more striking appearance

This is all great, but it remains to be seen how fast will it be. The M850i xDrive M Performance can catapult to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds using its Launch Control. It can probably be even quicker considering how BMW tends to be conservative about these things. It can also hit an electronically limited 155mph.

The BMW M5 Competition, on the other hand, will do 62 mph in 3.3 seconds and 0-124 mph in 10.8 seconds. The M8 Coupe has to be considerably faster.

Are we about to be introduced to a BMW Luxury Grand Tourer which can surge to 62 mph in 3 seconds and, probably, hit 190+ mph?

I guess we are!

Conclusion

The BMW 8 Series is Out, but What do we Know About the BMW M8? Exterior
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BMW M8 cars are of fundamental importance for BMW. They have to showcase what BMW really stands for - Ultimate Driving Machines. And, with three different models in production, I can see BMW M8s tackling a multitude of segments and cars. Just think about it, the BMW M8 Gran Coupe can compete with the Aston Martin Rapide, the AMG GT4, the Porsche Panamera, and the Audi RS7, among others.

The M8 Coupe with its sub 4.9-meters in length, and dare I say exceptional driving characteristics, will target the buyers of almost every other similarly fast and priced sports car out there.

And then, there is the M8 Convertible to spice things up on the coastline. Can’t imagine anyone looking at it with disgust in Monte Carlo or Nice.

Considering all said, I believe that the 2020 BMW M8 will cost at least $160,000, if not more.

Further reading

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

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

2019 BMW M8 Computer Renderings and Photoshop Exclusive Renderings Exterior
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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 Exterior High Resolution
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Read our full review on the BMW 8 Series Concept Coupe.

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