M8 Gets M Performance Treatment—With Incredible Wheels

BMW’s continued offensive in the luxury performance segment is progressing unabated, and the latest effort has materialized as an array of M Performance parts for the brand new M8. Announced almost immediately after the range-topping performance grand tourer itself, just a few details have been public, with the basic carbon-fiber bits and pieces accounted for. There will also be a model-specific version of the M Performance Pro steering wheel, sport brake pads, tailpipe finishers, and a form-fitted car cover for protection during storage between high-speed continental jaunts, but what everyone’s really interested in is the set of wheels.

The official word on the newest collection of M Performance bits includes no official explanation of the wheels, but it’s simply impossible to ignore what looks like a hollowed-out Y-spoke design intended to save weight where it really counts. Together with the concave form that originates at the hub, which is especially pronounced on the rear, the wheels appear striking in the official press images, and are likely to be breathtaking in the flesh. Again, sizing, weight and other specifics remain a total mystery at this point, but the wheels are stamped with M Performance lettering on the lip, and frame the upsized carbon-ceramic brake rotors and gold six-piston calipers nicely. They also carry forward BMW’s current theme of using a BBS-derived Y-spoke look for their M Performance wheel designs.

The M Performance Pro steering wheel might look familiar, and that’s because it’s similar to the unit available for the X3 and X4 M models. It’s likely still a worthwhile upgrade though, thanks to its improvement of tactile feel where it matters most. Dripping in carbon-fiber, just like the other M Performance parts for the interior and exterior, the steering wheel goes one step further, putting the composite material in the hands of the driver every time a shift is executed using one of the paddles. The paddles themselves, which frame the now-native configurable M buttons, are available as a standalone add-on for the conventional steering wheel as well.

The tight, form-fitted cover can largely be considered the finishing touch. Other M cars are no exception when it comes to the M Performance catalog offering a form of protection, and the panel-hugging car cover, which is specifically intended for indoor use, isn’t a new idea just for the M8. Made from elastic polyester with a paint-friendly liner, the cover is machine-washable, and almost seems like it could be a standard offering for the M8, given how many of the big coupe’s competitors are known for spending their lives tucked away, on a trickle charger. M Performance wheel bags are also available, and they should be just like the set that can be had for the G20 3 Series.

While M Performance parts for other models go as far as including a full set of brakes, with improved calipers and rotors, the collection for the M8 includes a set of brake pads. This makes sense, given that the M8 is already fitted with some of the best brakes available on any current BMW model. The pad material for the M performance sport brake pads is derived directly from the long-distance compound used by BMW Motorsport, and benefits include shorter braking distance, improved braking response, less fade, and of course, a more dynamic presence which allows for a distinct, racing-style steering feel through turns, according to BMW.—Alex Tock

[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]

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