Motoring » Road Tests
I attended the BMW X5 M Competition and X6 M Competition media launch a few weeks ago at the Zwartkops Raceway, and as a pleasant little surprise, BMW brought out their new M8 Competition Coupe and I was lucky enough to catch a lap around the track in it.
I was somewhat surprised at how nimble and quick the full house luxury, 1.8-ton, GT car felt. And then when one arrived at the office for testing, that feeling of this car being fast returned all over again. After years of testing and driving all sorts of fast and slow cars, you just get a feel for when a car is fast, and you almost know it is going to test well.
Before you say it, let me beat you to it. Yes, I know the M8 Competition should be fast, it produces 460 kW of power at 6 000 rpm and a proper 750 Nm of torque all the way from 1 800 rpm to 5 800 rpm from its 4.4-litre twin turbocharged V8 powerplant. You can dismiss it all you want, but reputations are built on it, legends are born from it and motor manufacturers chase it for ultimate bragging rights. Just as much as owners do, in my opinion.
What am I talking about? I am talking about something that starts at 0, gets separated by a dash, and ends at 100. Ask any enthusiast and they should be able to rattle off their favourite car’s 0-100 km/h time. It’s also the first number a manufacturer throws at you as soon as they are done telling you how powerful their latest machine is.
My leaderboard, that has been around for over 15 years, is headed up by Porsche’s previous generation 911 Turbo S with a blistering time of 3.21 sec, and a top 10 that features the likes of Ferrari’s 488 GTB at 3.39, McLaren’s MP4-12C at 3.39, Mercedes-AMG’s GT-R at 3.54, Nissan’s GT-R at 3.43 and then a crazy sedan duo that consists of BMW’s latest M5 xDrive at 3.34 and Mercedes-AMG’s E63 S 4Matic at 3.38 seconds.
Well that all changed with this test when M8 Competition Coupe rewrote the record books by doing a 3.13 sec 0-100 km/h time and a 11.09 quarter-mile at 205 km/h. And this was no fluke, the car did four runs all under the 3.21 time set by the Porsche.
The taking of names did not end here either. The 1 km time of 20.23 sec and speed of 265 km/h put this GT car right near the top of the table, but by this time its weight was starting to come into play, and this allows the much lighter, outright supercars to get away. Top speed, for what it is worth, comes in at an electronically limited 305 km/h.
Going fast in a straight-line is one thing. Enjoying your car at a racetrack or out on a nice mountain pass is also quite important when you are paying R3 280 400 for the privilege. And this show-off car that has already proven its bark backs up its sprint bite and does the same when the tar gets twisty, thanks to all the right track goodies to take a proper chunk out of its competitors. Experience collected from the development of the M8 GTE racing car is said to have played a role here.
The M8 Competition Coupe’s aggressive styling hides water-filled charge coolers, an additional engine oil cooler, separate transmission oil cooler, trick oil sump with additional oil supply to the engine, and an exclusive-to-the-model Track Mode, which takes care of enhancing the feel of the active braking, steering and suspension systems.
The best part is that the power and torque are transferred through a lightning fast eight-speed M Steptronic transmission to all four wheels through the M xDrive all-wheel-drive system with its rear-biased setup. So, you can have lots of safe fun by default, but should you want to test your guardian angel’s sense of humour, you can deactivate the Dynamic Stability Control and select the 2WD mode and then hold on as all that power and torque simply fry the rear tyres.
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