If the tyres aren’t howling, the exhausts are bursting in a Gatling-gun rhythm and your point of direction suddenly appears through the side window.
Honestly, they should’ve just fitted windscreen wipers there. And some headlights in the doors. There are few cars on the planet more raucous than the F-Type R Coupé and nothing louder than its 5.0-litre supercharged V8. It’s unfeasibly loud, unnecessarily loud, to the point of being plain rude, but your evil grin is hard to shake. A little button in the Jag opens the exhaust valves, and after ‘Start’ it’s the first button you touch every single time you get in. The second is the traction control switch. And then you sit there for a while poisoning your lungs with Pirelli smoke. After one too many times, Imran put an end to the immaturity, “Stop doing burnouts, you’ll give us all cancer.”
So far, then, our Coupé of the Year is pretty mad. “It might not be faster than an M4, or even an RC F, but this car is about drama,” argues Sony. And that’s why the RC F isn’t here. Weighing over 1.8-tonnes, the Lexus is at odds with itself, and the M4 is another story that requires an article in its own right.
You’ll remember we left it parked back at wheels HQ because it didn’t qualify, and while it’s astoundingly fast, massively and perceptibly faster than the Jag, it’s just not that impressive as a successor to its brilliant, naturally aspirated forerunner.
The BMW is alarmingly close to its limit, and doesn’t really work as a coupé — its seat is too high and the steering wheel pointlessly thick and too softly padded, so you can’t even feel what the road is trying to tell you. As a performance car, yes, the M4 is great, but as a showy indulgence the British car has more fans here.
Having said that, the M4 ends up working quite well as soon as you add a couple of extra doors. As an M3 saloon, this starts to make a lot of sense. “I don’t know if it’s just my imagination,” says Amit, “but I sense that the steering wheel is thinner than in the M4. Also, that high seat doesn’t bother me here. It’s a family car, after all. The alarming weight transfer at the limit… What do you expect from a family hauler?”
He’s got a point. Such cars are compromised in their requirement to be all things to all drivers so we naturally expect less from family cars when it comes to performance, and our Sports saloon of the Year over-delivers. Yeah it’s got four doors, and a 120-horsepower deficit to the Jag, but it still leaves it behind in a run through a twisty wadi. That 3.0 straight-six twin-turbo can make a noise of its own, too, though of course not quite as obnoxiously as the F-Type. wheels brand manager Aniruddh runs the wadi again and can only blurt out two words, “That sound!” I break the news to him that it’s really actuated fakery through the speakers, but no one cares. To be honest I don’t either, and I echo Amit’s sentiments, as does most everyone else — the M3 is better than the M4, even if it had an easy time of joining this group today.
The real test will come next year, when the Lexus GS F and Mercedes’ new force-fed C 63 AMG arrive. But things are looking good for the first M3 to go turbocharged.
Driving the F-Type R up these mountain roads with its glorious V8 rumble thundering across the valley only helps reaffirm my first impression after driving it in Spain last year. There isn’t another coupé on sale today for under half a million dirhams that can match this Jag for its stunning visual and aural drama, or the kind of heart-in-mouth fun you enjoy behind its wheel. Here, even in the exalted company of Italian supercars costing twice as much, the Jag is very much at home."
- Sony on the F-Type R Coupé
"Why the M3 and not the M4? The question might vex many readers. After all, they are the same cars, making the same amount of power, in fact the M3 is actually a touch slower. But here’s the thing. The M4, despite its stupendous pace, feels nervous on the edge. However, add two more doors into the mix and suddenly things are not so bad. The slight body roll is forgivable and the fact that it can be a comfortable family car as well as a rabid backstreet bomber means it ticks more boxes. Plus, M3 has a better ring to it than M4, I think."
- Amit on the BMW M3