Skip to main content

With up to 617 hp on tap, the 2020 M8 is BMW’s new performance flagship

When the reborn BMW 8 Series arrived, it was only a matter of time before a hotter M8 version showed up. It was such an obvious move that BMW didn’t even try to keep it a secret. The German automaker has been running M8 race cars for over a year, after all. But now the road-going M8 is finally here, and it looks like it was worth the wait.

Available as either a coupe or convertible, the M8 uses a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that comes in two strengths. The standard M8 makes 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, while the Competition model makes 617 hp, with torque output unchanged. BMW claims the standard M8 coupe will do zero to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds, while the convertible takes an estimated 3.2 seconds. The Competition coupe and convertible take 3.0 seconds and 3.1 seconds, respectively, according to BMW.

All M8 models come standard with an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph, but BMW will raise the limit to 189 mph as part of the M Driver’s Package. That also includes a round of training at one of BMW’s driving schools in Thermal, California, or Spartanburg, South Carolina. When you have over 600 hp available at the twitch of your right foot, some schooling is probably a good idea.

An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard equipment. The latter carries over from the BMW M5, meaning it allows the driver to disconnect the front axle and make the M8 rear-wheel drive. That option also deactivates the stability control, which should turn the M8 into a drift machine.

The M8 also gets the usual round of BMW M car chassis upgrades. Adaptive M Suspension constantly monitors everything from road conditions to steering input, making minute adjustments to suit. Competition models get firmer suspension settings. An M mode button resets various vehicle parameters to the driver’s preferences. A new brake-by-wire system improves responsiveness, and even lets the driver adjust how the brakes feel. It also saves 4.5 pounds over a conventional braking system, according to BMW. Every little bit counts, apparently.

Mildly more aggressive exterior styling and model-specific 20-inch wheels distinguish the M8 from lesser 8-Series models. Coupes get a standard carbon fiber roof, and Competition models get special lightweight wheels. On the inside, the M8 gets a reconfigurable dashboard display and head-up display. Competition models get a Track setting — designed for closed courses — that turns off all driver aids, the audio system, and the central display screen. That lets the driver focus on, well, driving.

The 2020 BMW M8 starts production in July 2019. Pricing starts at $133,995 for the standard coupe, and $143,495 for the standard convertible. The M8 Competition coupe and convertible start at $146,995 and $156,495, respectively. All prices include a mandatory $995 destination charge. BMW has a third M8 variant on the way: the Gran Coupe four-door, which will likely take its styling cues from a 2018 concept car.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
The Dinan-tuned M2 S2 turns BMW’s modern classic up to eleven
bmw tuner dinan gives the m2 a performance focused makeover we go for spin s2 press shots 5

The BMW M2 is a spiffy coupe right out of the gate, but what would it take to make it better? If you ask Nathan Fette of Dinan, a tuning company based in Morgan Hill, CA, it starts with one overriding objective: “to develop the fastest, best handling and most reliable, street legal cars available anywhere.”

It’s going to take a little more than a hearty spirit, mind you. You’ll need a litany of upgrades, more power, and some careful engineering to better one of the best from the Bavarian automaker. With that in mind, We sat down with the folks from Dinan to get a better understanding of the company’s strategy when tuning a vehicle like the BMW M2, and then headed out to some of our favorite Californian backroads for some seat time in their latest offering.
Improving performance without typical aftermarket caveats
The tuning company’s tweaks to the diminutive coupe are extensive enough to warrant a new name, the Dinan M2 S2, and the modifications touch on the drive train, suspension, brakes, rolling stock, and aesthetics to elevate the car into a performance realm beyond what the factory had in mind. “Our goal is to make the driving experience even more exciting without sacrificing the refined handling, reliability or warranty coverage that owners of such vehicles can come to expect,” Fette explains.

Read more
Car design is shifting, but BMW M’s president still believes in ‘classic values’
BMW M550i xDrive

BMW used the 2017 Detroit Auto Show to unveil its new 5 Series sedan, including a first-ever M550i xDrive performance model that bridges the gap between the standard 5 Series and the legendary M5.
It’s the latest stage of the evolution of BMW M, the automaker’s performance division. M started out building limited numbers of performance cars, but its practices have changed as the BMW lineup has grown and diversified, and new technologies have altered car design.

Digital Trends spoke to Frank van Meel, president of BMW M, in Detroit to discuss the M550i, and how M tries to stay true to its guiding philosophy in a shifting automotive landscape.

Read more
Spruce up your Bimmer with a slew of new M Performance Parts from BMW
BMW M3 with M Performance Parts

The annual SEMA show in Las Vegas is a trade event for the automotive aftermarket, so it's full of companies pushing parts and accessories for owners to modify their cars with. But manufacturers know there is money to be made in that business too.

Over the past few years, BMW has hawked its M Performance Parts at SEMA, and it's got quite a few new items for 2016. The list includes several cosmetic items and accessories aimed at increasing convenience, but also some parts that genuinely increase performance. BMW says the United States is its biggest market for M Performance Parts, so it's not surprising that the carmaker plans to go all out for SEMA.

Read more