I haven't skied the 8.5 and I only skied the Brahmas for a couple of runs but I think a "racy" ski it the ticket for a lot of skiers on hard snow or "on-piste" and I didn't find the Brahma to be "racy". It is more laid back than race carvers although I was laying deep trenches on the soft groomers that day. It just didn't have the energy, explosiveness on exit, or precision of a race ski or even skis like the MX78/88, m-power or EDT 84 which I have skied. It is more relaxed than those others.
When I skied it, the word "approachable" kept popping into my head. I don't know if this makes sense but for a lot of intermediate-expert skiers, the sport is as much and "activity" as a "sport". The Brahma doesn't require you to be super athletic and all over your game all of the time, but it does allow you to rip all over the mountain and have a good time. I could easily see a lot of people being happy with this as a 90% of the time ski, and I bet a lot of people would find themselves feeling like better skiers by updating to Brahmas.