Configurable driving modes are nothing new for BMW. The M3 and M4, we once worked out, have 243 permutations within the driver settings, giving three different modes for engine, gearbox suspension, steering and traction control.
But the incoming BMW M8 will go a step further and offer something a little more unusual: it’ll actually have two different brake modes to choose from.
It’s possible because of a new compact module which “brings together the brake activation, brake booster and braking control functions,” saving 2kg compared to a conventional setup. There’s a vacuum-free brake booster/servo, which is controlled via an electronic actuator. It’s a brake-by-wire system, in other words.
That last bit is important, as it means BMW is able to introduce Comfort and Sport settings which vary the amount of brake pedal pressure required to slow the M8 down. Handy if you don’t want to accidentally lurch to a stop at traffic lights.
BMW is also promising that the new system will deliver “sublime pedal feel in any situation”. Munich says that feedback won’t be hampered by “wet road surfaces, significant lateral acceleration or high brake temperatures”. Bold claims for a brake-by-wire setup - we’ll be interested to see how it shapes up IRL.
Along with the brake modes, there’ll be two different settings for the steering and three apiece for the dampers and engine. It’ll be possible to fiddle with the gearbox, although we’re not certain how many modes the M8 has for that as of yet.
As with the M5, turning off the Dynamic Stability Control opens up the choice of three modes for the xDrive system: 4WD, 4WD Sport (more rear-biased), or pure RWD for lurid drifts. If getting around a circuit as fast as possible without safety nets is your aim, there’s also a dedicated ‘Track Mode’ which turns off all the driver assistance systems, along with the infotainment display and the audio to give a distraction-free cockpit. It’ll only be available on the M8 Competition.
The M8 will arrive in coupe form at some point in 2019, with drop-top and four-door ‘Gran Coupe’ versions landing next year.