Let’s pretend, just for a moment, that the majority of expensive new cars are not actually bought on finance or as company cars.
Let’s imagine, solely because it suits this story, that the accepted way to buy a new car is to stroll into a dealership with nigh on £60k’s worth of bank notes in your hand and place them quietly on to a salesperson’s desk and gently ask if they’d mind, awfully, exchanging them for a BMW M4.
A new M4, with manual transmission and no options – not that anybody will buy one like that – retails at £56,650, and very pleasing it is, too. With 424 twin-turbocharged nags, a limited-slip differential and rear-wheel drive, it is a coupé to be adored. It drives well. It seats four. It swallows golf clubs. And it is as capable at driving to and from the Nürburgring as it would be around the circuit when it got there.
Do we like the idea of that? Consider our boat duly floated. But what if you had the requisite £56,650 to do with as you pleased in motordom, but didn’t want an M4. Where should you take your bank notes instead? And would you be better off doing so?
Personally, I’d have about a dozen ropey old sheds and snotters, have greasy fingers and no personal life, so I have been banned from the game. Instead, we have asked some of our esteemed contributors what they would do – and below are their proposals.
Steve Cropley - Jaguar F-type coupé
You'll clock that when it comes to spending Mr Prior’s £56k, my colleagues have mostly taken the two-car option. In a way, I admire their enterprise.
However, a lifetime of chucking good money after bad on cars old and new (not to mention about 50 motorcycles, two aeroplanes and a boat), I can tell you with certainty that the most enjoyable course is to choose one fabulous car that you can enjoy every day of the week. It simplifies everything: garaging, insurance, servicing, deciding what to drive tomorrow.
That’s why I’ve chosen the Jaguar F-type V6 S coupé. First of all, it’s one of the most satisfying cars that I’ve driven for years, exciting for its performance yet reassuringly easy to drive because of its precision.
Once you learn its capabilities (I’m tempted to say ‘limits’ but you’ll never approach most of them, on the road) it feels like something you wear. Subtle stuff like brake assistance build-up and steering gearing is exactly as I’d choose it myself. I like that feeling that I’m stepping straight into a car the great Mike Cross has just signed off.
There has been criticism of the ride. Some find it too firm. It seems fine to me and – important – also to the missus who (I’ve learned from long experience) has to sign up to any car we buy for it to be fully enjoyed.
The F-type is firm, but also taut and controlled. It looks terrific and is unmistakable as the new F-type. And in the more rigid, more precise coupé, even the boot space is respectable.
The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that the coupé costs £60,000, not the £56,000 I’m offered by Mr P. The hell with it; to make up the difference, I’ll sell the racing pigeons and take on a paper round.
Matt Prior's verdict - Not bad at all, Steve. A fine-handling car with poise, and purpose, and for my money the F-type’s engine sounds better than the BMW’s. Talking of money, you owe us £3600.