After teasing the world with race car versions and camouflaged prototypes, the 2020 BMW M8 has finally debuted in coupe and convertible forms. Like the M5, the BMW M8 will be offered in standard or Competition variants along with a number of familiar components shared with its four-door sibling.
Some of the key design cues distinguishing the 2020 BMW M8 from a standard 8 Series include large lower front air intakes, quad exhaust tips, black chrome kidney grilles, and black side mirror caps. The M8 coupe comes standard with a carbon-fiber roof, while the M8 convertible has a lighter soft top that can retract in 15 seconds at speeds of up to 30 mph. Inside, the 2020 BMW M8 gets M Sport seats with an illuminated badge on the headrest, extended leather upholstery, and carbon-fiber trim. The M8 Competition also gets seat belts embroidered with the M brand’s colors.
Under the hood of the 2020 BMW M8 is the familiar 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 (code-named S63) paired to a specially tuned eight-speed automatic transmission. It makes 600 horsepower in the standard M8 and 617 horses in Competition grade, as well as 553 lb-ft of torque regardless of trim. To support the M8’s high-performance mission, the engine also gets upgraded oil-supply and cooling systems. The M8 Competition adds a special exhaust system with selectable engine sound.
Like the M5, the M8 comes standard with a performance-tuned, rear-biased all-wheel-drive setup. An electronically controlled multiplate clutch distributes the power to the front and rear wheels, and the Active M Differential further splits it between the rear wheels. The all-wheel-drive system’s rear bias will only put power down to the front wheels when the rears get overwhelmed. Using the drive-mode selector, you can control how the M8 distributes its power, and if you deactivate the stability-control system, the car can go into rear-drive (a.k.a. “Drift”) mode.
The standard adaptive suspension uses body motions, steering input, and road surface conditions to adjust each individual damper accordingly. Three suspension settings, Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus, can be selected to fine-tune the M8’s ride and handling characteristics. Competition models take the M8’s handling one step further with firmer suspension calibration, stiffer engine mounts, increased front negative camber, and rear toe-link ball joints replacing the rubber bushings in the standard car. BMW’s M Servotronic power-steering system features a variable steering ratio, which the automaker says improves straight-line stability and turn-in response. Like the suspension, you can also change steering modes, choosing from Comfort or Sport settings.
The driver can customize the engine, suspension, steering, braking, and all-wheel drive to their taste. Each system has two to three different settings, all of which you can mix and match through the custom function, then save as a complete calibration to the M1 and M2 buttons on the steering wheel. BMW has also added an M Mode button to the center console that allows the driver to configure driver-assistance features, instrument-cluster settings, and head-up display themes accordingly. The standard M8 comes with Road and Sport M Mode settings, while the M8 Competition adds a Track setting.
The M8 comes standard with large 15.5-inch front and 15.0-inch rear steel brake rotors and BMW’s latest customizable brake-by-wire system. You can also opt for larger, carbon-ceramic discs measuring 15.7 inches up front and 15.0 inches at the rear. Staggered-width , high-performance tires wrapped around 20-inch wheels come standard on the M8, while the M8 Competition gets lighter pieces with a cool two-tone pattern.
As the range-topper of the 8 Series lineup, the 2020 BMW M8 comes with a long list of standard equipment, including laser LED headlights, heated and ventilated front seats, a Harman/Kardon surround-sound system, a 12.3-inch digital cluster display, the latest version of iDrive with a 10.25-inch touchscreen, a wireless phone charger, and keyless entry and start. Options include a 16-speaker Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system, a neck warmer (convertible only), a black soft top, and a moonroof.
The 2020 BMW M8 doesn’t come with a full suite of driver-assistance features out of the box. Only automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning come standard. Want lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control? You’ll need to get the Driving Assistance Professional package, which also snags blind-spot monitoring, upgraded forward-collision avoidance, pedestrian detection, side-collision prevention, and evasion-assist systems. That also forces you to get the Driving Assistance package, which adds lane-departure warning, a surround-view camera system, parking assist, and parking sensors.
Pricing for the 2020 BMW M8 starts at $133,995 for the M8 Coupe and $143,495 for the M8 Convertible. The M8 Competition starts at $146,995 for the coupe and $156,495 for the convertible. In addition to the coupe and convertible body styles, a four-door Gran Coupe version will inevitably join the lineup since the standard 8 Series Gran Coupe is debuting later this month. The M8 was also previewed in Gran Coupe guise at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show.