I love the way the Audi R8 drives, but unless I’m looking at it head on, I just don’t like the way it looks. It’s way too fussy for me and too jarring with angles and panels all over the place.  

I was sharing this opinion with a senior motor industry bloke the other day and his response was fascinating. He reckoned I should forget about what Audi’s 911-rival looks like, it’s mere existence proves that the company is leaving arch-rival BMW for dead at the moment.

This is a chap who’s opinion counts for a lot. He’s run three major car companies and also spent a good chunk of his career working for BMW itself. And his perspective is that Munich has lost its direction – and that has allowed Audi to move in and plug the gaps.

He wanted to know where BMW’s mid-engined supercar is. It might not be a big money-spinner, but it would add some much-needed halo status to the brand. Something that, in his view, isn’t being provided by the current range of M-Powered saloons and coupes – nor by the company’s F1 activities.

I’ve got some sympathy with this view. Many of us have wondered why a company that makes such good-to-drive saloons has always struggled with sports cars: Z3 and Z4 anyone?