Hands up: who remembers the original BMW 8 Series? You know: the one with V8 or V12 power, rear-wheel-drive, flip-up headlights and likely being driven by someone with a pointy lapel and rolled-up sleeves? It was probably white, too.
You may remember that one, but it’s unlikely that you’ll remember the M8 Concept that briefly appeared in the early ‘90s, at the outset of a recession that eventually caused the project to be reduced to just a single prototype model. It had what BMW calls a “F1-derived” V12, good for about 600 hp, but also some massively flared fenders and a retina-searing shade of red. It never made production, but BMW – in Canada, at least – chose the Luxury & Supercar show in Vancouver to reveal a car built to recall that oddity of the early ‘90s.
It’s called the “M8 Competition Coupé Individual Manufaktur Edition” and it will be limited to just 20 examples – finished in either Fire Red to recall the old M8, or Frozen Black. And it will only be available in Canada.
Why Canada? Well, according to BMW, it’s the brand's fourth-largest market in the world, and when Canadians buy BMWs – or any luxury car, for that matter – they go all out.
In this instance, though, “all out” is more of a styling thing than a mechanical thing, for the Manufaktur has the same power and torque figures – 617 hp, 553 lb-ft – from its twin-turbo V8 as the standard Competition does, as well as xDrive AWD. With the Manufaktur, though, you get special carbon fibre adds on the front bumper, kidney grille and side skirts (matching the wing mirrors and roof) as well as a full Merino leather interior with Sakhir Orange inserts, all products of BMW’s Individual program.
Want more carbon fibre? Just pop the hood to reveal a glossy engine cover finished in the stuff, and emblazoned with BMW "M" colouring and logos. Gorgeous. There’s also special “BMW Individual Manufaktur” inscription in the cupholders and on the lid above the wireless charging pad.
In person – even under the bright lights of a late summer's day in Vancouver and surrounded by all sorts of other precious metal from McLarens to Paganis – the Manufaktur has a definite presence. Indeed, when you think about it, a car like this deserves to a special hue, a little more flair than its brethren. That's what sets vehicles like this apart, and I would guess it's a big part of what people want when they're shopping in this realm. The carbon fibre bits are especially inviting when set against the Fire Red backdrop; they seem to shine all that more brightly themselves. The M8 Competition, to those in the know, is a truly mental car. When painted like this, you can tell whether you're an aficionado or not.
Then there are the rims; gorgeous 20-inch numbers surrounded by Pilot Sport 4S rubber; these are some no messing-around tires, a sentiment driven home even further by the blocky gold-painted calipers peaking out from behind their spidery spokes. You won't have any problem keeping this two-door in check, I'm sure of that,
While the interior does get all that jazz like two-tone seats and contrasting door inserts and stitching, I feel like choosing a black base is a little too, shall we say, conservative considering the surroundings and it's a little dark inside. Probably the right way to go, though, and this is a nitpick unlikely to really bother anyone.
There may not be more power, but remember: that’s over 600 hp we’re talking about, as well as a 3.2-second 0-100 km/h time. That’s blindingly fast and for a grand tourer like this, it’s more than enough. Add the fact that with the Manufaktur you get all the bells and whistles like 7th-generation iDrive, more computers than the International Space Station and a luxurious and well-appointed cabin, and this here is one loaded special edition.
It will cost you, though. Once the Manufaktur starts arriving in dealers in October, you’re looking at a startling MSRP of $198,000, just over 50 grand more than a standard M8 Competition runs. Such is the price of exclusivity, though, and if BMW is right about its Canadian buyers, they’ll move all of these.
Want more? The 10th annual Luxury & Supercar show runs this weekend at VanDusen Gardens in Vancouver.