What Is It?
Last year BMW introduced the new 8 Series as the flagship coupe of the company’s line, and shortly thereafter upped the performance level with the M8. (All BMW’s with the M designation are higher-performance variants.) In typical BMW fashion, engineers added rear doors so the coupe lineup now includes the 4-door Gran Coupe. Whether referred to as a sedan or a coupe, this 2020 BMW M8 Gran Coupe brings together the highest levels of luxury and extreme performance — with room for the whole family.
The German automaker provided us with a 2020 BMW M8 Gran Coupe painted in Almandin Brown II Metallic. As the flagship of the BMW M lineup, the M8 comes extremely well equipped with numerous standard features; however, our test vehicle also included Taruma Brown Full Merino leather, carbon fiber trim, a Driving Assistance Professional Package, M Carbon Ceramic Brakes, an M Driver’s Package and a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound audio system. Total MSRP lists at $154,295. Competitors to the M8 Gran Coupe include the Porsche Panamera, Audi RS7, Maserati Quattroporte and Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door.
The BMW 8 Series is already on the large side (191.1 inches long), and the 2020 M8 Gran Coupe is 9.1 inches longer, 1.4 inches wider and 2.3 inches taller than the M8 Coupe. Although it is larger — and about 185 pounds heavier — the Gran Coupe still looks long and low with aggressive front styling and a sleek silhouette. The carbon fiber roof, 20-inch wheels and quad exhaust outlets convey to any observer that this big 4-door behemoth means business.
It may have the personality of a sports car, but inside the M8 Gran Coupe exudes pure luxury. The exclusive M Sport seats are covered in soft Merino leather and feature the M8 logo below the head restraint. Heated and cooled seats have a diamond-stitch pattern along the center. Bolsters provide a snug fit without feeling tight.
The large horizontal display screen is nicely integrated and can be navigated via touch, a controller in the center console or by voice — the latter activated by saying “Hey BMW.” Climate controls get adjusted via buttons and knobs, with many buttons in the center console and on the steering wheel for various functions and configurations.
While the standard M8 Coupe also offers a rear seat, this space is much more usable in the 4-door Gran Coupe. With 7.1-inches more legroom and 3.5 inches of more headroom, the Gran Coupe’s rear-seat passengers will find the area quite comfortable. Two USB-C ports as well as rear-seat dual climate control add to the overall experience. Seatbacks are contoured, which provides a cocoon-like feeling and a stable environment — a nice touch (and much needed) if the driver decides to have a bit too much fun. There is a seat belt for a middle-seat occupant, but the elongated center console stretches back to the rear seat, so the M8 really works best as a four seater — perhaps with enough space for a child seat in the middle.
Under the Hood
Powering the M8 Gran Coupe is a 4.4-liter S63 M TwinPower turbocharged V8 engine that generates 600 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. Peak torque is available from 1800 rpm, which is why the M8 always feels like it has more than enough power on tap. The potent V8 gets teamed with a quick-shifting 8-speed M Steptronic transmission that sends power to the road via the M xDrive all-wheel-drive system. BMW claims the M8 Gran Coupe will reach 60 mph in 3.1 seconds — as quickly as the Coupe — and we have no reason to doubt this stat. With the optional M Driver’s Package, the M8 tops out at 190 mph — we’ll take their word on that as well.
The 2020 BMW M8 Gran Coupe’s all-wheel drive has a rear-biased system that sends torque to the front wheels when extra traction is required. This system also reduces the intrusion of the stability control system during spirited road or track driving. Drivers can also configure the M8 in full-time rear drive; however, BMW suggests this mode for experienced drivers only.
Tires and Brakes
With 600 horsepower on tap the tires and brakes become quite important. BMW has that covered — our M8 Gran Coupe was fitted with 275/35 (front) 285/35 (rear) ZR 20 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires that offer excellent grip in wet or dry road conditions. Stopping power is also up to the task with fixed 6-piston calipers up front and floating single-piston calipers at the rear with optional M Carbon Ceramic brakes.
BMW provides the driver with the ability to configure seemingly every aspect of the driving experience. The engine, chassis, steering, brakes, stability control and all-wheel-drive system all have settings that can be adjusted depending on driver preference. The transmission can be programmed for quicker shifts or it can be set to manual for paddle shifting, and the exhaust can be made loud or quiet. The gauge cluster and head-up display can also be configured for different appearances. Even though many drivers would appreciate the flexibility this offers, it almost seems like too much to think about.
Rather than having to wade through different menus to change the car to the preferred setup for every drive, two M buttons on the steering wheel work as configuration presets. For example, M1 can be set for a relaxed driver setup, while M2 may be the choice for more extreme driving.
On the Road
The M8 Gran Coupe provides the thrilling sensation of unlimited power on tap. There’s practically no avoiding it: Passengers will be pushed into their seatbacks, whether launching from a standstill or putting a right foot to the floor at 60 mph. During our test drive we discovered the M8 Gran Coupe had transported us well into triple-digit speeds, and found the car very smooth and stable — as if it could simply cruise above 100 mph all day.
Excellent All-Wheel Drive
Even more impressive than the powerful V8 engine is the method that the 2020 BMW M8 Gran Coupe employs to get that power to the road. The M xDrive system works incredibly well in bad weather as well as during high-performance driving. In rainy conditions we were able to launch from a stoplight and acceleration was instantaneous and strong, with no discernible wheelslip or intervention by traction control. In dry conditions we found it possible to enjoy a bit of oversteer around corners with complete control as the system moved torque to the front wheels to smoothly pull the car back into a straight line of travel.
Sports Car Handling
The M8 Gran Coupe is no small car, but it doesn’t let its size get in the way. Configuring everything to the sportiest setting, this big four door goes around corners with incredible grip while staying perfectly flat. Steering is spot-on with excellent feedback. With the chassis and suspension in their stiffest settings the ride remains comfortable — even on rough roads.
Like an automotive Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the M8 Gran Coupe can change its demeaner completely when required. Set the exhaust to quiet, soften the suspension, slow the shifts and the M8 becomes a quiet, comfortable cruiser. With its high-end audio system and soft leather seats the M8 Gran Coupe makes a great road-trip option.
Quite often premium car shoppers need to choose between a high-performance sports car and a luxury cruiser, but with the BMW M8 Gran Coupe it’s possible to have both in one vehicle. With a luxurious, comfortable interior for front- and rear-seat passengers, the M8 Gran Coupe vies with some of the best luxury sedans on the market. At the same time, it can easily keep pace with the most powerful sports cars available. While all this versatility comes at a relatively high retail price, the BWM M8 Gran Coupe would certainly be an exciting and luxurious family car.