Wrecking Ball | Jaguar F-Type R Coupe

BY Azfar Hashim

Bored of life? Get this coupe from Jaguar and get ready for a ball of a time. Growwwl!

Photos: Joel Tam and Azfar Hashim

Now, if you’re looking for an alternative next to the usual list of powerful coupes – BMW M4, Audi RS5, upcoming Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG (which I heard is already available for booking) or Porsche 911 (no, it’s not “in a league of it’s own”) and even Lexus RC-F – I would really like to steer your attention to Jaguar’s F-Type R Coupe. Oh I’m not saying this for any sort of commercial value, but it’s really just something good.

It’s a left-field choice that’s for sure. Which is really unfortunate, because this (insert cockney accent) Jaaaag has proper firepower: Under the bonnet, this cat has a 5.0-litre V8 supercharged powerplant, and mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, musters 543 bhp and mind-boggling 680 Nm of torque at your disposal. Most importantly, it takes only 4.2 seconds - faster than the time you would take to sneeze - to go from standstill to 100 km/h. Hilariously, some even think those digits sound too effing vulgar.

And this F-Type R gladly represents the whole school of thought that goes, ‘there’s no replacement for displacement’. Flooring the car from standstill is akin to being hit by a train, hard — it has that sort of ferocity and does put a tinge of fear into your system looking at how the tail would even wiggle left and right (if you’re ballsy enough to switch off the traction control, that is) before rocketing forward and jeopardizing your driving license.

If that’s not enough, you’ll even have the enthralling experience courtesy of that super lively sports exhaust. In the first two gears, the needle flies to its 6,700 rpm without any effort to the point that, I think, it would gladly spin even to 20,000 rpm if Jaguar had such a maximum mark on the tachometer. It really puts things into perspective as to what sort of feat engineers can achieve in modern engines.

Out on the expressway, it really is hard to maintain a sane 90 — 100 km/h speed limit; but doing so also exposes a more sedate and cultured side of the F-Type R. The cabin is brilliantly suppressed from wind and road noise, you can hold a conversation with your passenger and the standard Meridian sound system is excellent. And surprisingly even in 8th, the car has enough firepower to overtake and out-accelerate anything in its path. Even a bigger challenge is trying to behave gentlemanly in the tunnel because you have a V8 that’s paired to a supercharger; with the sport exhaust note roaring in all its glory as you hold on to 4th, all you end up doing is holding the steering wheel as tightly as you could, flashing the high-beams and making sure you have enough path just to hear the exhaust scream, crackle and pop.

The Jaaaag comes with ‘Dynamic-i’, and this little function allows the driver to choose his preferred setting for the gearshift pattern, engine mapping, steering weight and suspension set-up.

With everything set to Dynamic, you do need to take things easier approaching bends. Trust me, if you want to drive like a mad man high on adrenalin, leave the traction control on. For those who are used to a BMW, Audi or Porsche, this Jaguar will teach you how to respect the laws of physics. You can’t simply tap your brake from 120 km/h and expect the F-Type R to negotiate the corner for you. No, it doesn’t work like that here and only amateurs who do not understand what driving is all about would drive in such a manner.

In this 1,650 kg Brit coupe, you have to learn to slow down, brake, prepare to take the cornering line, brake a little more, start turning the steering wheel, apply the right amount of pressure on the accelerator, trail brake if it’s still too fast, feel the tail threatening to break traction, hear the tyre shouting as it approaches its limit, see the traction control light flick, hit the apex and quickly exit with the traction control light still flicking away; and you have to do this every single time you see a tight bend ahead. Well it’s mad, I’ll give you that — but a good mad.

On one hand, you think there’s simply excessive powaaah being delivered to the rear wheels, but on the other hand, you have to be grateful that Jaguar didn’t bore you like the Germans… At least, that’s what I think.

In terms of interior, you get every single panel covered in leather, with the centre console finished in carbon fibre to show off its sporting intent. Better still, Jaguar did not go over the top, preferring to keep things simple — every single control buttons, including the sport exhaust and rear spoiler activation switches, are well laid out and clearly labelled to make it convenient for the driver to make any sort of adjustments while ferociously munching the tarmac ahead.

In conclusion, the Jaguar F-Type R is a very unique coupe because it has the sort of lunacy only a ballsy driver would love and appreciate; leaving you with smiles and laughter even after being schooled. It doesn’t handle as tightly or assuring as the RS5, M4 or 911, but I still love it. The V8 growl, that fierce exhaust note, such exhilarating acceleration and ferocious overall character — now, how could you forego all that?

If you have the means, please buy it before they ban the car.

To add on, the RC-F should perhaps aspire to behave like this. Then it would lessen the risk of being another shadow in the background…