Jaguar F-type R coupe review
This is most powerful version of Jaguar’s new sports car, the long-awaited F-type coupé.
The top-spec V8 sits alongside its supercharged V6 siblings, although none of the range should be described as underpowered. The base V6 has 337bhp available, rising to 376bhp in the V6 S and ending with an impressive 542bhp in V8 form.
Most staggering about the new F-type coupé is the simple fact that Jaguar has improved the torsional rigidity of the convertible by 80 per cent.
That such a large change can come from adding a fixed aluminium roof is more than impressive, with the extra metal turning the F-type into a true monocoque structure in the process.
The extra rigidity means Jaguar engineers have been able to make the new F-type coupé even better to drive, granting extra dynamic ability by raising its spring rates at the front and rear.
The coupé should have more control, better agility and greater steering precision than the convertible, then. And that was hardly lacking in the first place.
Size wise, the all-aluminium, front-engined, rear-drive F-type coupé is comparable to a BMW 3-series. Indeed, it shares many of its components with Jaguar’s own upcoming 3-series rival, the XE.
With a top speed of 186mph and the 0-60mph sprint covered in just 4.0 seconds, the most powerful F-type coupé is thunderingly fast.
As well as the burbling 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine there are extra additions in the form of 20-inch wheels with larger steel brakes. Carbon-ceramic units with performance tyres and lighter forged wheels also feature on the options list.
Even sitting at its governed top speed, the V8 coupé remains flat and able to steer faithfully, with its large tailgate spoiler handling the generated lift confidently.
On track, I found it easy to bring the Jaguar F-type coupé to its limits and hold it there, with the car’s excellent torque vectoring system eliminating understeer in most of the corners.
There’s a real feeling of the F-type directing you to the right line, even if, like me, you have a tendency to hit the apex of a corner too early.
If you’re not looking for a hardcore racer experience, its best to leave the F-type coupé with its Dynamic stability mode turned on. That allows you to oversteer fairly shallowly while also keeping your speed up.
Of course, if you get brave you can turn off all the electronic aids, and doing so will allow you to pull off the kind of wild oversteer-induced drifts favoured by magazine photographers.
It’s surprisingly easy to do, too, even at 40mph, because the F-type coupé feels so balanced. It’s tail pokes out willingly but can be held with the right power for what seems like minutes.
That depends on whether you decide to spend more to get this top-spec F-type R. It costs from £85,000, a considerable jump from the £51,235 of the base model.
Still, if you choose the V8 there’s no chance you’ll be disappointed. With all three F-type coupé models, there’s a shared quality of simply going straight that’s quite wonderful.
You feel lordly as you drive along, fingers resting lightly on the wheel, enjoying the beautifully crafted interior, not needing to adjust anything.
That kind of faith in a car is rare to come by, and it’s something that will lift the F-type coupé out of the realm of being another mere sports car, and into the history books.
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Jaguar F-type R coupé
Price £85,000; 0-60mph 4.2 sec; Top speed 186mph; Economy 25.5mpg; CO2 259g/km; Kerb weight 1650kg; Engine V8, 5000cc, longitudinal, RWD; Power 542bhp at 6500rpm; Torque 502lb ft at 3500rpm; Gearbox 8-spd auto