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Editors' First Take

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The BMW M8 makes one hell of a first impression. A bright red M8 Competition Coupe lurking in the pit lane at Portugal's Portimao Circuit is equal parts elegant and imposing. Under the hood there's a twin-turbocharged V8 with 617 horsepower, allowing for a 3-second 0-to-60-mph acceleration time. It's a big car with big power. And Portimao is the perfect place to put it through its paces.

All M8s use the same engine: BMW's 4.4-liter, twin-turbo S63 V8. In the standard M8, it produces 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. Opt for the more expensive Competition model tested here and you get the aforementioned 617 hp, but the same 553 lb-ft. Regardless of output, the M8 uses an eight-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. All that brute force runs to the ground via a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system, which can torque-vector across the rear axle for improved cornering grip.

The M8 Competition will set you back $146,000 -- a $13,000 increase over the standard M8 Coupe. But you do get more than just an additional 17 hp for that not-insignificant upcharge. The Competition pack also adds unique 20-inch wheels, an M Sport exhaust, different-colored seat belts (for whatever that's worth) and a Track profile for the M drive settings. Track mode completely disables all driver-assistance systems and turns off the radio and center infotainment display. The 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and head-up display (HUD) go minimalist in this setting, as well, only giving the driver the most important information they need.

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