As we’ve discussed here on Gear Patrol, BMW’s naming conventions these days are, shall we say, a tad confusing. Sedans wind up being called coupes; 3s become 4s, 6s becomes 8s; and the letter M winds up being tossed around willy-nilly like never before. But as some guy from Stratford-upon-Avon once put it, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. So no matter what badge BMW slaps upon it, it’s hard to argue that the new M8 Gran Coupe is anything other than a very sexy sport sedan.
A speedy one, too. Like the two-door M8 that deserves its coupe nomenclature, the M8 Gran Coupe and M8 Gran Coupe Competition use the same powertrain as the BMW M5 and M5 Competition, respectively: a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8, connected to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic.
That engine churns out a claimed 600 horsepower in the “lesser” M8 and 617 ponies in the M8 Gran Coupe Competition, with 553 lb-ft of torque available in both models — just like the M5s. And, like the hot boy 5 Series twins, the M xDrive AWD system and active rear limited-slip differential can shift the amount of power flowing between the axles and the rear wheels as needed, increasing the share of power heading astern all the way to 100 percent if you feel like vaporizing some expensive tires.
The biggest difference between the M8 GC and its relatives lies with that slippery body. The rear end is 1.5 inches wider than the already-bootilicious M8 coupe; compared with that car, the roofline has been raised and the windshield elevated to a less-acute angle to make room inside. Interestingly enough, the so-called “flying buttress design” of the metal around the rear glass has to be folded by hand, due to its design.
Inside, there’s room for four people to nestle comfortably into their chairs, with the center console stretching all the way to the back seat. (BMW claims the rear center seat can still be used when needed, but from the sound of things, we wouldn’t wish that spot on our worst enemy.) And as you’d expect from a car positioned at the top of BMW’s expansive model lineup, the interior is outfitted with all varieties of luxurious and high-tech features and options, from special M Sport seats with light-up badges to a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and a 10.3-inch center display. (Fun fact: Activate the car’s Track mode, and that display goes dark to minimize distractions. Track mode also turns off the radio.)
Which, of course, brings us to the price. The M8 Gran Coupe starts at $130,000, while the M8 Gran Coupe Competition starts at $143,000. That’s $27,300 and $33,00 more than the M5 and M5 Competition, respectively — both of which offer effectively identical performance. Is the M8 GC’s added style worth enough money to buy its more staid brother and a new Mazda Miata? That’s up to you.
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