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.