If you thought this M8 Competition might feel, to drive, like an BMW M5 with two fewer doors and quite a lot less roof, you may be more surprised by how differently the car rides and handles from its saloon sibling than by its rapacious pace. Although an M5 is already a fairly firm-riding, agile-feeling saloon car, the M8 seems unmistakably lower and a little wider set on the road and it feels slightly more firmly sprung still.
It also steers quite a bit more directly, its off-centre handling response in particular exhibiting a keenness you don’t often find in cars this size. The more comfort-oriented driving modes take the edge off this initially quite alarming appetite for an apex, as does familiarity, so that, over time and in one way or another, you get used to the way the car darts around roundabouts and junctions. But for a big GT car, the M8 certainly pushes the boundaries of what constitutes entirely natural- and intuitive-feeling handling.
For that reason, it takes a little while to be able to place the car on the road exactly as you’d like. The confidence needed to explore the car’s handling at speed also takes its time to build. A steering set-up about which there is just a hint of elasticity of feel, and that doesn’t telegraph building cornering load as clearly as you might like, doesn’t speed the process up much. However, there is bountiful handling stability and dynamic composure to discover once you feel comfortable enough to discover it.