- the bmw m8 gran coupe will be priced from $130,995, undercutting the two-door coupe.
- the gran coupe is estimated to make up half of u.s. m8 sales.
- four-door m8 production begins november, with deliveries in the u.s. starting in early 2020.
we imagine that bmw's product planners spent plenty of time working with popular brands of construction toys as kids. there is something very lego-like about the way the company's model plan locks together. so having seen both the 8-series gran coupe and the m8, we are entirely unsurprised by official confirmation that the two will be combined in the stylish form of the new m8 gran coupe.
like its non-m sister, the m8 is what more people would tend to think of as a sedan than a coupe, having four doors and—in a serious pinch—five passenger spaces. but it offers a stylish and more practical alternative to its two-door coupe and cabriolet sisters, and will also be sold for slightly less; at $130,995 the m8 gc is $3000 under the m8 coupe, while the $143,995 m8 gc competition (below) undercuts the two-door by the same margin.
it's a case of paying less to get more. as with the regular 8-series gran coupe, the m8 has been given a substantial stretch, with a 7.9-inch-longer wheelbase and an overall increase of 9.1 inches in external dimensions. pretty much all of that room has gone into improving accommodation for rear-seat occupants, which has gone from cramped and very occasional in the coupe to everyday viable. rear headroom is still limited, so don't try to wear a top hat in back, but there is enough legroom to allow an average-size adult to sit behind another in comfort. although there is a seatbelt in the center, the m8 gran coupe can't really be regarded as a five-seater, as anyone relegated to the middle will have to sit with legs on either side of the substantial climate control console between the seats. bmw execs admit that it is a better-than-walking deal for very occasional use.
up front, nothing has changed from the freshly launched m8 coupe and cabriolet. the 4.4-liter s63 twin-turbo v-8 produces a peak 600 horsepower in the regular m8, and 617 horsepower in the competition. both engines have the same maximum 553 lb-ft of torque. drive is directed to each corner through an eight-speed automatic gearbox and what is described as a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system. bmw claims a 3.1-second zero-to-60-mph time for the m8 and three dead for the m8 competition, the exact same as for the m8 coupe. on bmw's numbers, the gran coupe is just 100 pounds heavier than the two-door.
in addition to the modest increase in performance, the competition pack adds unique-design forged wheels, a rortier exhaust system, a full merino leather and microfiber interior, and darker exterior trim. we also believe it incorporates the same modifications as selecting the pack does in the coupe and cabriolet: firmer engine mounts, revised front suspension, and a slight tweak for software settings for the car’s many active dynamic systems. the gran coupe will also get the electrically boosted brakes that we didn't especially like in the coupe and cabriolet. carbon-ceramic brakes will be optional on both regular and competition m8 gcs, as will the m driver's package, which increases the speed limiter from 155 mph to 190 mph and also allows a driver training session. we will update with option pricing when we have it.
as tends to be the case these days, there will also be a first edition (pictured at top), based on the competition but with unique diamant green metallic paint and with grille, side breather, and window trim in the goldbronze color that the m8 gran coupe concept was shown in. we don't have a price for this yet, but bmw says only 50 of the global run of 400 cars will be coming to the united states.
while it is faster and looks more muscular than the m850i that sits below it in the gran coupe hierarchy, the m8 is missing out on a couple of things its cheaper sister allows. the use of a carbon-fiber roof means there is no option for a sunroof, and the m8 also does without active rear steering; bmw executives don't feel it is quite right for a full-blooded m car yet. although that will doubtless create a purer driving experience, as it has in the coupe and cabriolet, it will also cut down on the ease of low-speed maneuvering.
bmw predicts that half of m8 sales are going to be the gran coupe, and it is not hard to see the appeal of something that combines style and utility so well. but while it has a price advantage against the other members of the m8 clan, it does also have a rival that offers considerable savings yet has the same mechanical package. the m5 sedan starts at just $103,695, is equally powerful in both regular and competition flavors, and is also considerably more practical. but the '5 isn’t as stylish and won’t be as exclusive, so it depends on how much value you place on those virtues.