BMW has whipped the covers off its new M8, set to be offered in standard form and flagship Competition guise as well as in both coupé and convertible body styles. All four variants are scheduled to hit South Africa in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Oomph comes from the “most powerful engine ever developed for a BMW M car”, with the twin-turbo 4,4-litre V8 developing 441 kW in the case of the standard (for lack of a better term) models and 460 kW in the Competition variants (and 750 N.m in both cases).

An eight-speed M Steptronic transmission ships standard, directing drive to all four wheels via the Munich-based firm’s rear-biased M xDrive system (complete with the same sort of “2WD” mode that debuted on the M5).

The M8 Coupé will thus hit 100 km/h in a claimed 3,3 seconds (with the soft-top taking one-tenth longer), while the M8 Competition Coupé will complete the sprint to three figures in a claimed 3,2 seconds (with the cabriolet again one-tenth behind). Top speed for all models is electronically limited to 250 km/h, although can be optionally raised to 305 km/h.

All four derivatives are equipped as standard with M-specific adaptive suspension, including electronically controlled dampers and electromechanical M Servotronic steering, along with 20-inch M light-alloy wheels in a twin‑spoke design (wrapped in high-performance tyres measuring 275/35 R20 at the front and 285/35 R20 at the rear).

While M compound brakes will come standard, BMW will also offer optional M carbon-ceramic items. Either way, the system includes a new M-specific version of the brand’s integrated braking system that presents the driver with two pedal settings: a comfort-oriented mode and a “particularly direct, instantaneous pedal feel”.

A new "M Mode" button sited on the centre console also makes its debut.