By SHAWN DONOVAN BRETT
The new BMW M8 Gran Coupé Competition blends standout performance attributes with distinctive body design and increased space for rear-seat passengers. It offers an exclusive opportunity for driver and passenger in four full-size seats to sample the signature dynamism, agility and precision offered by the new range-topper.
Setting the tone around R3,4 million (spec dependent), there have been high expectations for the Bavarian beast, with a 4,4-litre twin-turbo V8 that sings to the tune of 460kWs and 750Nm of torque! What that translates to is a sprint to 100km/h in just 3,2 seconds and a top end speed limited to 250km/h (with the option to remove the limiter, propelling you into the 300km/h territory).
Despite the supercar performance, the Gran Coupé is still a luxurious and surprisingly comfortable car to drive and live with daily despite the fuel consumption. But then I have said it before and I will say it again, fuel consumption is irrelevant in this price category.
However, I recommend setting aside a good rainy-day fund for when the 20-inch tyres need replacing, although it is a 4-wheel-drive, it has an optional rear wheel only configuration that is happy to chew up some tread and show you what it feels like to get the tail wagging. Drivers can use the Setup menu to select 4WD Sport mode, which sends an even higher proportion of drive to the rear wheels, and deactivating DSC brings 2WD mode into play, with drive fed exclusively through the rear wheels.
BMW has conquered cornering wit swift single-mindedness thanks to determined turn-in and self-correcting balance supported by fast-acting dampers and standard rear-wheel steering.
Among the ingredients in the extravagant appearance of the four-door high-performance sports car is the dynamically stretched silhouette, muscular shoulders and standalone rear-end design. Large air intakes, M gills on the side panels, aerodynamically optimised exterior mirrors, a rear spoiler and other M-specific features provide a visual showcase for the high-performance character of the new model.