I just recently had the chance to spend a week with the BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe, a car I was incredibly excited to drive. Prior to driving it, I was sure I’d love it. Its combination of gorgeous styling, monster performance and private-jet luxury made me confident that it’d be a brilliant car. After driving it, though, I was left disappointed and I honestly don’t see a real reason to buy any M8 over its lesser M850i sibling.
It’s not that the BMW M8 is a bad car by any means. In reality, it’s an objectively excellent car, even if it is too much money. However, when you’re actually behind the wheel and actually driving it on a regular basis, it begins to feel stale. Sure, blitzing to 60 mph (or higher) at shocking speed is fun once or twice but gets very old surprisingly quickly. There’s little else aside from that brutal acceleration to entertain the driver; there’s no steering feel, its too soft and comfy and it’s nearly Rolls-Royce-quiet inside. Sure, it’s fast but it keeps driver isolated from the experience and that just simply cannot be the case in an M Division product.
However, it can be the case in an M Performance car. See, M Performance cars aren’t full-blown M cars. They’re not designed to be able to munch race tracks for breakfast. Instead, they’re designed to feel like faster, sportier versions of standard BMWs and they typically do. The BMW M850i is a great example, as it’s only slightly sportier than the 840i and a helluva lot faster, while still retaining its everyday comfort and livability.
To be perfectly honest, the BMW M8 does the very same thing, just one step further. It’s only slightly sportier than its less powerful sibling, the M850i, but quite a bit faster while also retaining the same everyday comfort and livability. If you want to retain cushy ride comfort and everyday livability, why buy an M car, though?
The BMW M850i, in any variation, is very bit as realistically fast as the M8 is — the difference between 0-60 mph in 3.0 seconds versus 3.5 seconds isn’t noticeable in the real world. It trades off those very few tenths for additional ride comfort, though, and it costs tens of thousands of dollars less, while essentially doing the same thing.
As hard as BMW wants to push the motorsport-driven narrative of the M8, it’s just not going to stick. No matter how you slice it, the BMW M8 is just not a sports car — it’s far too big, heavy and comfy for that. Instead, it’s a grand touring car; something designed to get you from one very luxurious place to another, as quickly as possible, in the lap of luxury. There’s nothing wrong with that, GT cars are some of the sexiest, most desirable cars on the planet, but it’s still not a sports car. So why spend upwards of $50,000 more on the BMW M8, when it’s just a slightly faster GT car than the much cheaper BMW M850i?
There’s honestly not a great answer, at least one that I can think of. The BMW 8 Series is already having a hard time finding homes and I honestly think the M8 is going to struggle the most. There’s just not enough extra spice, enough extra verve to justify buying it over the BMW M850i, which is an already brilliant GT car. If it’s my money, I take the M850i and never look back.