Munich - BMW has unleashed its long-awaited M8 and the new performance flagship comes in four flavours, allowing clients to choose between standard and Competition model grades as well as Coupe and Convertible body styles.

While you’re stewing on which one to get, let’s take a look at the performance on offer.

It’s the same deal as the M5 here, with the M Division’s most powerful engine ever, a high-revving 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, offered in two output levels: in the ‘regular’ M8 it produces 441kW and in Competition guise it’s good for 460kW. In both cases peak power is produced at 6000rpm, but the engine will happily rev to the 7200rpm mark, and both versions boast a maximum torque figure of 750Nm.

But enough of that, how fast is it?

According to BMW, both ‘regular’ M8 Coupe and Convertible models will get you to 100km/h in 3.3 and 3.4 seconds respectively, while the Competition versions reach that mark in 3.2 / 3.3 seconds.

Also as per the M5, power goes to all four wheels through an eight-speed, three-mode M Steptronic gearbox and M-tuned all-wheel-drive system, which has a rear-biased set-up. Of course. BMW’s Active M Differential does the dirty work here, and drivers can select a rear-wheel-drive-only ‘drift mode’ by deactivating the DSC stability control - and that is, of course, best left to experience hands. You don’t have to go from one extreme to the other, however, as there is a 4WD Sport mode that has more of a rear-axle bias than the default 4WD setting.

M-specific chassis components are naturally also part of the deal here, including M-specific forged links, and electronically controlled dampers. Also standard are 20-inch M light alloy wheels in a twin-spoke design. Buyers not content with the standard M compound brakes can opt for M carbon-ceramic brakes.

Distinctive design features include flared wheel arches, larger air intakes, ‘double M’ grille design, M gills, aerodynamic exterior mirrors, double-bubble carbon fibre-reinforced plastic roof (Coupe), rear spoiler, apron and a unique diffuser design.

The cabin too, is swathed in M-specific garnishes, and standard features include Head-Up Display,  BMW Live Cockpit Professional (with navigation system and BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant), BMW Driving Assistant and Display Key.

All four BMW M8 derivatives are scheduled to go on sale in South Africa during the fourth quarter of 2019.

IOL Motoring