As far as big, fast BMWs go, the M5 Competition is probably the best of them. Thanks to its 617 horsepower 4.4 liter twin-turbocharged V8, it’s astonishingly fast and it’s more nimble than any car of its size should be. However, if there is a criticism, it’s that it’s a bit too refined for an M car. In this new video from Harry Metcalf, we get to see what the M5 Competition is like to drive but, even more than that, we also get to see how it compares to something that isn’t very refined — the Jaguar Project 8.
Admittedly, this comparison is a bit flawed, in the sense that the Project 8 is based off of a Jaguar XE, which is 3 Series-sized, and it’s a very limited-run, insane project of a car. However, it does prove one, one very important thing, that BMW M should pay close attention to.
The BMW M5 Competition is a perfect example of a car that’s almost too good. It’s remarkable in what it can do and its breadth of ability. However, all of that capability and performance is muted by a layer of refinement. Objectively, that’s a good thing, as the M5 Competition could be your do-it-all, everyday driver and never be uncomfortable, while still providing performance that could shatter Nurburgring lap records. However, it does make for a less interesting car.
When Metcalf steps from the M5 Competition to the Jaguar Project 8, he immediately seems happier. Objectively, the Project 8 is worse than the M5 Comp in every measurable way; it’s slower in a straight line, laps a track slower, is far less comfortable, gets much worse fuel economy and is less practical. However, the Project 8 is the more fun car to drive, it’s the more special car to drive and it’s the one that gets your blood pumping far faster.
In buying a high-performance machine, you’re saying to a car manufacturer that you want to have some fun. The Project 8 is objectively a worse car than the M5 Comp but, in reality, it’s a better one. If BMW were to just focus more on fun and driver engagement, rather than outright capability and refinement, the M5 would absolutely be worse in so many areas but it’d be better in the areas that count. That’s the less, M Division.