I'll never forget the smirk that spread across the face of the Jaguar engineer when I asked: "So how are you allowed to make the F-Type R's V8 so relentlessly aggressive at the tailpipes?" 

You see the week before, we'd had a special edition Mini in on test with a trick aftermarket exhaust, and among the usual promotional bumpf was the warning not to set the exhaust to its Track setting anywhere other than on the track. More than that, it was illegal to do so.

Well, if the Mini's half-hearted effort is illegal, you should definitely be checking the rear view mirror driving an R. It's downright antisocial at times, easily capable of making the elderly jump and small children cry. But, it's 100% legal. Completely above board. Unbelievable. 

The thing is, until this year my feelings towards the rear-driven R, while undoubtedly in awe of its noise, were somewhat mixed. Its performance was savage and it looked superb, but its infotainment was so-so and interior quality didn't really live up to its price. 

However, those downsides are easy to overlook. The much bigger issue for me was that when you wanted to take it by the scruff of the neck and cover ground quickly in the UK, it often required more courage (and sometimes luck) than I could muster. 

On a track with lots of run-off or a hot, sticky middle-eastern road? Fine. But on a craggy, undulating, camber-ridden British B-road during a soggy February day, the R's tail-happy characteristics need serious management. 

I remember just a journey in Wiltshire, accompanied by possibly the world's worst performance car co-driver - my girlfriend. As a general rule, she's not keen on cars that make loud noises and cause people to look at you, and she particularly doesn't like going sideways. All of these things were happening.

Aside from the matter of a white-knuckled other half, I was more troubled by the fact I couldn't access the R's full potential. It had so much performance to give, but you couldn't use it for fear of an almighty off.

And then came along the AWD model and solved the problem in a flash. Yes, it's heavier, and yes, it's ludicrously expensive. It's therefore probably not the pick of the range, or even the best balanced to drive hard without traffic coming the other way.

But what is does, is allow you to get on the throttle out of soaking wet bends without a sense of impending doom, and that counts for a lot on our roads. Even better, Jag went ahead and improved the interior quality and infotainment with the facelift too. 

It might sound surprising, but there aren't actually that many cars I drive doing this job that I truly want to buy with my own money. The AWD R, though, but this is one of them. Gorgeous looks, a no beating about the bush, fire-spitting 543bhp V8 and enough grip to use it. I spent the entire time working out how to quickly acquire £91,660.