With the BMW M850i being good for 523bhp and a faintly ridiculous 0-62mph time of 3.7 seconds, we knew the M8 would be a monster. And sure enough, it’s quite the beast.
In the UK, you’ll have to buy it in Competition form - the standard M8 won’t be available. But the Comp is the one you want, anyway - it develops 616bhp from a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, launching the car from 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds. Which is as fast as a McLaren 570S. Not bad for a circa-two tonne hulk, and the convertible version is only a tenth behind.
Peak power comes in at 6000rpm, although you can keep going until 7200rpm if you fancy. 553lb ft of torque, meanwhile, is available from 1800 to 5600rpm. The top speed is electronically-limited to 155mph, unless you option the M Driver Package, in which case it increases to 189.
The swift off-the-line pace is thanks to the M8’s trick all-wheel drive system, which is shared with the M5. As in the super saloon, it’s heavily rear-biased, sending power to the front wheels only when traction is lost at the rear if set to 4WD mode.
Switch to 4WD Sport, and the system sends even more power to the back wheels while turning off the DSC. Or if you’re feeling brave and can stomach the inevitable tyre bill, there’s the 2WD mode, which does what it says on the tin.
All models feature M8-specific adaptive dampers and overhauled suspension geometry, with Competition variants getting - along with the extra 25bhp - their own set of chassis tweaks. These include increased negative camber on the front axle, stiffer engine mountings, and toe links with ball joints taking the place of traditional rubber mounts.
In markets where both versions of the M8 are sold, telling them apart will be easy. The Comps get a different set of wheels, plus various gloss black trim pieces including the kidney grilles, badging and exhaust tailpipes. Speaking of which, you also get an M Sport exhaust system fitted as standard, something which is optional on the ‘regular’ M8.
Braking is taken care of by 395mm discs at the front grabbed by six-pot calipers, and 380mm rotors at the rear squeezed by single-piston floating calipers. Go for the optional carbon ceramic brakes, and those front discs grow to 400mm.
As revealed a few weeks ago, the M8 will have selectable brake modes. You can set the stoppers to either Comfort or Sport, altering the amount of pedal pressure required to slow the car down. It’s a brake-by-wire system, but BMW is boldly promising that it’ll still provide “sublime pedal feel in any situation.”
Inside, there’s a leather steering wheel with the red ‘M’ drive mode buttons first seen on the M5, plus M Sport seats with “perforated 3D quilting” and light-up M8 badges. Because who cares about subtlety, anyway?
As in the rest of the 8-series range, a 12.3-inch screen forms the instrument cluster. It’s paired with a 10.25-inch infotainment screen, and BMW’s head-up display is fitted as standard.
Like the sound of all that? You’ll need to part with at least £123,435 for the M8 Competition coupe - about £23,000 more than the M850i - and £130,435 for the Comp convertible. Both are available to order now, and the first cars will be in the hands of customers by October 2019.