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July 21, 2018


They rumble. They roar. And when a heel stamps on the gas pedal, they overtake.

Weeks after the government lifted its longstanding female-driving ban, Saudi women are embracing not only driving, but driving fast, and loudly.

“They don’t expect to see me in this car,” said Samia Weheba, 23 years old, as she zipped past taxis and sport-utility vehicles in her matte gray, 400-horsepower Audi RS3.

“It’s such a guy’s car, especially in this country.”

Many auto showrooms, getting ready for the end of the driving ban on June 24, hired saleswomen and rolled out vehicles they thought would appeal to women. They stocked affordable sedans and mini-SUVs, often in bright colors. . . .

As soon as the Saudi king last September announced plans to let women drive, Sahar Nasief knew what she wanted: a Mustang convertible.

“It’s always been my dream car,” said Ms. Nasief, 64, who learned how to drive decades ago as a student in the U.S. . . .

Ms. Taher wants good speakers to blast her music. She wants dark interiors to avoid discoloring seats with the all-black gowns Saudi women typically wear. And she would like an engine that roars.

“I like the noise,” she told the salesman. “VROOM! VROOM!”

I credit Donald Trump for this change.