On paper, this coupe battle should be a spectacular neck-and-neck race. The BMW M2 CS and Jaguar F-Type are both luxury coupes, and in this particular challenge, the F-Type is a First Edition model packing the 450-bhp version of Jaguar's 5.0-litre supercharged V8. The Bimmer also offers 450 bhp from its twin-turbo 3.0-litre I6, and manufacturer statistics have both cars reaching 62 mph (100 km/h) in the mid-four-second range.
So yeah, that sounds like a recipe for an outstanding drag race. The action is courtesy of Lovecars, but as motoring legend Tiff Needell points out in the clip, real-world performance doesn't always match what you see on paper. This is especially true for these two cars when you look beyond the acceleration figures – the BMW enters the battle with a six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive, versus an eight-speed automatic with all-wheel drive on the Jaguar. The advantage seems to fall towards the F-Type, but the bigger cat is also more than 180 kg (400 pounds) heavier.
As with most drag races, it ultimately comes down to the launch. We've seen time and again how lesser-powered cars can romp horsepower monsters by getting a better launch, and though BMW lists the M2 as being slightly quicker than the Jag to 62 mph, it's much harder to find the perfect launch combination piloting a RWD manual compared to an AWD automatic. Then again, that added challenge is what makes manual-equipped cars so exciting for enthusiasts.
In any case, that's the situation Needell finds himself in behind the wheel of the Bimmer. And you know what? Even for a seasoned pro, nailing the perfect launch isn't easy. The race actually sees the M2 launch just ahead of the Jaguar, but the small advantage is quickly erased by the F-Type's all-wheel-drive grip. At half-track the Jag is clearly in the lead, but the lighter M2 starts closing the gap. Can it overcome the less-than-perfect launch to claim a win? Hit the video above to find out.