Here it is, the one bad kitten that you true believers have been waiting for. It’s the most potent, driver-oriented member of the Jaguar F-Type family, the R Coupe.
On paper, the F-Type R sounds like the business. It gets Jaguar’s familiar 5-litre supercharged V8 that produces 550bhp and 680Nm. It gets from zero to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds and will go on to a top speed of 300km/h.
On the road, the F-Type R feels every bit as rapid as those numbers suggest. It leaps off the line like a terrified cat, and turning off the traction control button and flooring the throttle results in burnouts of biblical proportions.
And there’s the small matter of it sounding absolutely divine. Revving the engine with the car at a standstill elicits a throaty bark from the mighty V8. Under load, the F-Type R sounds even better, with all manner of indecent bangs, pops and fizzes emanating from the hind quarters of this “cat”.
It’s difficult to put in words how alluring the F-Type R sounds, but if have even the barest hint of petrol running through your veins, it’s enough to make you weak at the knees and giggle like a schoolgirl.
This Jaguar’s ability to do that is the crux of its appeal. The F-Type R tickles the primordial part of the petrolhead’s brain with that aforementioned cracker of an engine (plus accompanying noise) and swoonsome styling.
But when you get down to it, the F-Type R isn’t actually that capable, with our main gripes levelled at how much it weighs. Jaguar makes much of how it rests on an aluminium chassis and has numerous components made from exotic materials such as magnesium. In spite of all that, the car weighs 1650kg, which makes it a bit of an overweight kitty, and that’s before you exacerbate its weight issues by slapping on some optional extras.
Yes, you might point to how the F-Type R has a monster 5-litre V8, but it really has no excuse. For example, the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe weighs just 5kg more, despite it not having an aluminium chassis and coming with a larger 6.2-litre V8.
We really do wonder where all the weight has gone to, and the kilos are especially palpable when the car is charging hard. It heaves over larger crests and it struggles in tighter corners. For a relatively small car, it isn’t particularly agile, and it doesn’t really do all that well as a grand tourer either, with it being sprung a touch too firmly and how it’s a little too noisy.
And don’t get us started on its switchgear. Yes, the jet fighter-esque rocker switch for the driving modes is undoubtedly cool, but some buttons are a hangover from when Jaguar was owned by Ford – those have a cheap, plasticky feel to them. Granted, there aren’t any glaring quality issues, but we expect more of a car costing $560,000.
Then again, overall build quality and driving dynamics aren’t the reasons you want an F-Type R. If those two things are high on your list of sports car-buying priorities, you’d do well to skip right past it, ring up Porsche for a Cayman GTS and save some $130,000 in the process.
No, you want an F-Type because it looks dead sexy (a worthy successor to its legendary ancestor, the E-Type) and its engine note could make even the stoutest of hearts weep tears of joy.
There’s no denying the F-Type R is deeply flawed, and making the decision to buy one is clearly an irrational move, but precisely because of that, it makes this Jaguar so much more appealing.
ENGINE 5000cc, 32-valves, V8, supercharged
MAX POWER 550bhp at 6500rpm
MAX TORQUE 680Nm at 3500rpm
GEARBOX 8-speed automatic with manual select
0-100KM/H 4.2 seconds
TOP SPEED 300km/h
CONSUMPTION 9km/L (combined)
CO2 EMISSION 259g/km
PRICE INCL. COE
$560,000 (after $15k CEVS surcharge)