2022 BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe Review – The Ultimate Something Machine

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
Fast Facts

2022 BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe

4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (617hp @ 6,000 rpm, 553 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm)
Eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive
15 city / 21 highway / 17 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
16.1 city / 11.0 highway / 13.8 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price: $130,995 US / $157,701 CAN
As Tested: $163,095 US / $166,805 CAN
Prices include $1000 destination charge in the United States and $3201 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can't be directly compared.
2022 bmw m8 competition gran coupe review the ultimate something machine

Is it possible to be both overwhelmed and underwhelmed? Does the whelming up and down cancel itself out, leaving one with just the right amount of whelm? Or is there some sort of exponential curve, resulting in either a surplus or deficit of whelmification?

The red squiggly lines provided by the good people behind Microsoft Word tell me that I’m stretching the bounds of both language and reason here – but reason may not have been in the room when the folks in Munich plotted this 2022 BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe. Heck, we can quibble on the language there, too, when considering the traditional definition of a coupe. But looking at the specs and the window sticker can lead one to conclusions that are occasionally not delivered upon slipping behind the wheel, thus leading to my conundrum.

Six hundred and seventeen horsepower. Forget for a moment that some engineers in Auburn Hills stumbled upon fifteen trailers full of superchargers a few years back and consider what that number represents. The trio of unobtanium supercars that lined every kid’s bedroom walls in the Eighties – the Porsche 959, Ferrari F40, and Lamborghini Countach – never produced more than five hundred horses. No modern kid is putting a poster of a BMW M8 on their walls, and yet this sedan (dammit, it has four doors I’m calling it a sedan) can absolutely smoke any of those icons.

Sixty? The publications that can afford testing gear are generally quoting 0-60 in under three seconds, with quarter-mile runs in the tens. All-wheel drive paired with that kind of power can certainly launch hard, and in my week with the M8 Competition, I did enjoy a few raucous starts here and there – where appropriate. I didn’t find a safe place to switch into the rear-drive mode, seemingly best for drifting and other forms of making very expensive Michelin-scented smoke. Trust me, I’d have loved to – I even spoke to an older gentleman at a garage sale (my wife and I were child-free one Saturday morning) ask me to – in his words – “light ‘em up” in front of his house. I doubt his neighbors would have appreciated it.

Unlike many other new BMWs, the M8 Comp doesn’t look hideous. Neither is it a paragon of modern design, but I do feel it’s attractive from many angles. The rear quarter view is especially appealing, with the low-slung roofline drooping over the haunches of the rear fender line, then finishing with the upturned flourish of the duckbill spoiler. The signature twin-kidney grille is thankfully not afflicted with the bilateral hydronephrosis so engorging the face of the 4-series and any number of BMW crossovers.

Interior comfort is quite good, with decent leg and hip room front and rear. You’d think that headroom would be compromised considering the “coupe” styling, but the only concern was with the actual ingress/egress, as my kid whacked her head upon exiting the rear seats a couple of times. Those rear seats, interestingly, allow for three-abreast seating with a trio of seatbelts – however, the unlucky soul cursed for the middle will be straddling an uncomfortable hump festooned with controls for seat heating in their nether regions.

I’m getting more and more used to the typical BMW infotainment system. It still takes some unlearning of gestures found in many other cars – as I’m half-German I’m all too familiar with the attitude of “our way is right – all others are wrong” that permeates both my paternal heritage and the control logic of iDrive. The 12.3-inch display is bright and clear, and inputs are snappy.

My issue with the M8 Competition comes when you aren’t stomping on the loud pedal. In most typical driving, it doesn’t feel special. It doesn’t feel like it’s the supercar that it really could be. Rather, it seems as if it’s a 5-series sedan with a firm suspension and big seat bolsters.

While there’s no question it can be frighteningly quick both off the line and around the bends, the big Bimmer reveals no joy in the way it hustles. The steering is light and uncommunicative. The suspension – no matter how the dynamic suspension adjustments are tweaked – doesn’t encourage me to push any harder.

Add that to the price – and the THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS worth of options on my tester – and I’m struggling to find the love for the big M8. I’m not really sure who buys this car. It’s not as plush as many other luxury sedans in this price range, nor is it as fun to drive as the sports cars for which you could spend the price of a small house.

In short – while the 2022 BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe can put up some impressive performance numbers, it doesn’t feel like it wants to.

It may be sold by a brand that dubs its vehicles the “Ultimate Driving Machine”, but it doesn’t make me want to get out and drive.

That’s not the good kind of whelmed.

[Images: © 2022 Chris Tonn]

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2 of 20 comments
  • Danddd Danddd on Jun 18, 2022

    The only ultimate driving machine BMW has now is the 2 Series.

  • JLThom JLThom on Jun 28, 2022

    not entirely sold on the validity of this review. i find that with this vehicle & most other similarly priced luxury-sport street machines - switching to "Sport/Sport+" mode (drastically) changes the driving dynamics & behavior of the vehicle. i have a 750 Li xDrive. leave it in Normal mode most times for daily driving commute. you have press hard on the go-pedal to wake the TT-V8 up. it's ho-hum - boring. but put it in Sport/Sport+ and the engine revs up at the slightest tap on the accelerator pedal. the suspension also tightens up to flatten-out the ride on most curves & turns too. it easily rockets up to 60-70 mph on city streets. and is an absolute "blast" to drive on the highway. so...you have an M8 Competition GC & you didn't bother switching it to Sport mode at any time while driving?! Come on, dude!

  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.