If we accept BMW’s argument that this is the M division’s first proper swing at a fast, modern, performance GT car, we’d have to admit that it’s a pretty good swing. The M8 Competition doesn’t want for outright pace or handling dynamism, or for capacity to thrill. Even if you bought one as an alternative to a big-hitting, purpose-built sports car, you’d be unlikely to feel short-changed in so many ways.
But the brief of a great luxury performance GT car must be broader than such a mission statement, of course; and it’s with the delivery of GT-appropriate richness of experience – in the material feel of its interior and in the refinement, tactile sophistication and subjective appeal of its drive – that the M8 Competition falls a little short.
BMW will have known that it had it all to do to present a viable rival for Bentleys, Aston Martins and upper-end Mercedes-AMGs here on desirability, and that the rest of the M8’s package would need to be word perfect to make the car’s wider case clear; which it isn’t – although it’s not without strengths. As big, fast GT cars go, this will be a polarising one open to both criticism and praise in equally serious terms.