Motoring | Road Tests
Jaco Van Der Merwe
The one is the fastest SUV The Citizen has ever tested and the other is officially the hastiest four-door GT car to feature on our high-performance test list.
Problem is, if you want a piece of this magnificent duo, you have to fork out R6.2-million up front and make sure you have another bar or two handy to quench their thirst. That is a lot of money, even for a tenderpreneur. But as this combination will not see the inside of over 99.99% of garages in South Africa, it should feature prominently on most people’s to-do lists for when they do strike it rich in the lotto.
If you are blessed enough to shop in this aisle and are a fan of the BMW badge, then the M8 Gran Coupe Competition and X5 M Competition will form the perfect his and hers garage. And before I’m being chastised for any form of political uncorrectness by making that statement, I never mentioned who will be driving what. In fact, for those who might have taken offence by assuming I associated the his part to the GT and the hers part to the SUV, some soccer dad’s I know would actually prefer the X5 M over the M8.
The two cars just dovetails perfectly. The X5 M provides the obvious SUV virtues like high seating position, comfort and versatility to make daily school runs and shopping trips a breeze (and rather fast), while the M8 Gran Coupe offers supercar performance in elegant luxury for (rather slow) daily commuting.
Over weekends, all bases are covered. For the more adventurous the SUV offers plenty of space with the added benefit of being a very capable off-roader, while the gentleman’s tourer takes care of open road trips with very decent luggage space big enough to swallow a few golfbags.
As these are two of the most expensive BMW products locally on offer, time granted for media to tests are severely reduced compared to the usual seven-day window. As they are both high-performance models, a trip to the Gerotek Testing Facility was top of out priority list, with the remaining time dedicated to usual daily chores.
M8 Gran Coupe Competition
By reaching 100 km/h from a standstill in 3.39 seconds during Road Test Editor Mark Jones’ high-performance test, the M8 Gran Coupe Competition toppled the Mercedes-AMG GT63 S 4Matic+ 4-Door Coupe as the fastest four-door vehicle. The 14 two-door models ahead of it on the list are incidentally headed by its sibling, the M8 Coupe Competition, which holds out all-time record with a 3.13 sprint.
To see the M8 Gran Coupe Competition’s road test results, click here.
The M8 Gran Coupe shares the same engine specifications with it’s two-door sibling; a 4.4-litre V8 twin turbocharged petrol engine which sends 460kW/750Nm to all four wheels via an eight-speed sport Steptronic transmission. The Gran Coupe is 115 kg heavier than the Coupe, 231 mm longer and offers 20-litres more boot space for a total of 440-litres. Needless to say, legroom in the rear is much more acceptable than that of the Coupe, which was so bad that it even annoyed my six-year-old.
The term Gran Coupe does have the tendency to divide opinion, but the M8 is sculpted so well that anyone scoffing at the idea of two additional doors is probably just plain jealous. A feeling guaranteed to amplify by the shameless V8 exhaust notes.
The cockpit is a splendid mixture of racing DNA and elegant comfort. If the creature comfort you need doesn’t come standard, you just have it fitted as an optional extra. I mean, does another R100k worth of options even make a dent in a R3 423 862 bill?
With the car’s core DNA taken straight off the race track, the M8 is fitted with every imaginable system to make it as fast as possible and provide handling that will make the most average driver feel like Lewis Hamilton. For the longevity of that F1 champ euphoria-thing, rather not try rear it in rear wheel drive.
The R2 775 658 X5 M Competition features the same hardware as the M8; a 4.4-litre V8 twin turbocharged powerplant mated to eight-speed sport Steptronic transmission sending 460kW/750Nm to all four wheels.
While SUV actually stands for Sports Utility Vehicle, you’d be excused for confusing it with something along the lines of Stupid Ultrafast Vehicle in the X5 M Competition’s case. Anything weighing 2 225 kg reaching 100 km/h from as standstill in 3.82 sec is simply insane. Especially one that can be bought straight off a dealership floor without having to undergo some sort of aftermarket “surgery”.
The test data shows that the X5 M Competition relegated the previous fastest SUV that Mark has tested, the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S that clocked 3.99sec, to second place. It’s not quite comparing apples with apples as the X5 M Competition competes with Merc’s GLE, but hey, a Stupid Ultrafast Vehicle is a Stupid Ultrafast Vehicle right?
To see the X5 M Competition’s road test results, click here.
A standout feature of the X5 M Competition is that is doesn’t even look all that obtrusive from the outside. Besides the striking 22-inch star spoked light alloy wheels, a few M styling enhancements and the obvious badging, it doesn’t stick out like sore thumb in everyday traffic. But that can be rather short-lived once the V8 starts clearing its throat while setting off at the traffic lights.
On the inside, it’s as well-specced and plush as you can wish for in a car tasked with run-of-the-mill daily routines, with a good dose of attitude for added measure. As an extra treat, our test model had the rear-seat entertainment system fitted which includes a Blu-Ray player, two separate high-res 10.2-screens and wireless headphones at a whopping cost of R38 200.
While mom and dad fight over the keys for the afternoon trip to the sports grounds, I think it might just be the actual soccer kids themselves that are the true beneficiaries of this ride. And a happy garage is a perfect garage I guess.
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