Road tests

New BMW M8 Gran Coupe 2022 review

A refresh brings more aggressive looks for the BMW M8 Gran Coupe, but they come at a price

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

Verdict

Subtle mid-life updates to its styling and a revised spec inside with more personalisation potential have kept the M8 Competition Gran Coupé fresh enough. However, the M5 is a better (and cheaper) bet if you want a super- saloon, while if you’re sold on the four-door coupé styling but still want an M division flavour, the M850i GC could be a better compromise and more usable.

As automotive facelifts go – or Life Cycle Impulses in BMW parlance – the new M8 Competition Gran Coupé is a light one. However, look closely and you’ll realise that changes have been made.

The model’s styling is subtly different and arguably a little more aggressive than the car it replaces, with a new lower section to the front bumper, fresh 20-inch alloy wheels, eight new body colours, including four ‘frozen’ matte finishes, and what the brand calls its ‘M lights Shadow Line’ trim for the headlights. This means the housing inside the LED headlamp units is darkened to create a more menacing look, giving buyers even more scope to personalise their car.

The same is true inside, where the two-piece carbon-fibre-backed bucket seats first seen on the M3 and M4 models are now available as an option, while the cabin is trimmed in Merino leather and Alcantara upholstery. There are also new colour choices offered for the interior, too.

However, none of this really changes how the M8 Competition Gran Coupé drives, which is to say that it’s extremely rapid and competent, and has a broad repertoire. The engine generates huge thrust, with barely any lag from the turbos. The V8 soundtrack, which is augmented in Sport mode, is nice, too, although the fake rumbles and pops through the speakers mean it does lack authenticity and feel a little contrived.

It’s superbly stable at speed and doesn’t take very long to get there, sprinting from 0-62mph in just 3.2 seconds thanks to BMW’s M xDrive four-wheel-drive system.

However, when the road starts to get twistier, you do begin to feel the M8’s significant 1,995kg kerbweight. The steering is a little mushy and doesn’t deliver much in the way of feedback, and while there’s plenty of grip on offer, you don’t feel all that involved in the driving experience.

So is this sleek high-performance four-door coupé more of a limo? Well, not really, because to achieve the performance levels an M8 needs to offer, the ride is also on the firmer side. At higher speeds in Comfort mode the suspension deals with bumps relatively well, even on 20-inch wheels, but lumps and scars are more noticeable at lower speed around town.

One dynamic plus point is that the car’s M-developed brake-by-wire system is one of the better executions of this technology, with a more natural-feeling pedal than some rival models that offer similar set-ups.

There’s an incredible level of kit on offer, with BMW’s OS 8 infotainment system one of the best in the business. It has built-in sat-nav (very good) plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity (also very good), among other technology. There’s also a bright and clear digital dash and one of the most comprehensive head-up displays on sale anywhere.

As you’d expect from a range-topping car such as this, matrix LED headlights, a Harman Kardon sound system, four-zone climate control, adaptive cruise and lots of driver-assistance tech, such as BMW’s Parking Assistant, are fitted as standard. There is also full keyless go and a powered tailgate, while the M8 boasts BMW’s illuminated kidney grille option, although this might be a feature that repulses as many people as it excites.

But with a price tag of £130,520, it’s also an eye-wateringly expensive car, and here is where the M8 Competition Gran Coupé comes unstuck.

Beyond a six-figure price tag, BMWs have sometimes struggled to justify their place in a rarefied area of the market that includes competitors such as the Porsche Panamera and the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door. Both of these feel more engaging to drive and more special inside than the M8 Competition.

But BMW’s greatest rival arguably comes from within, in the form of the excellent and significantly cheaper M5 Competition.

At £107,520, it’s still pricey, but the M5 is more affordable than its M8 sibling and is more agile and better to drive. Not to mention the fact that the 5 Series-based car offers more room inside and a bigger boot, at 530 litres, compared with 440 litres for the sleeker Gran Coupé. Plus the M5’s boot opening is larger and more practical, too.

Of course, the M8 Performance Gran Coupé’s smoother roofline and exclusivity will appeal to some buyers, but it will really have to in order to justify its price tag.

Model:BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe
Price:£130,520
Engine:4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol
Power/torque:616bhp/750Nm
Transmission:Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
0-62mph:3.2 seconds
Top speed:155mph
Economy:24.8mpg
CO2:263g/km
On sale:Now

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