The Jaguar F-Type R Coupe – Bad Kitty (Part 2)

8/5/2014 9:46:23 PM

In these conditions, the S shone. The supercharged power delivery and eight-ratios of the automatic transmission combined perfectly, allowing me the opportunity to exploit all the available power at any point. And the soundtrack provided aural stimulation with few peers – the V6 revs smoothly, with a slightly hard edge as the revs climb. Jaguar engineers must have a sense of humour if you listen to the way in which this motor pops and crackles on a trailing throttle (this is also a nod to the E-Type which performed the same trick from its carb-fed motor).

Motive force is supplied solely to the rear wheels and traction is handled by a mechanical limited-slip differential. Driven with a sense of purpose, the S does not falter. There is ample grip with a transparency from the underpinnings to provide your internal G-meter with enough sensation to trust the levels of grip and exploit them to the full. But to do so on a public road would be foolish.

Carbon-ceramic brakes work a treat but are optional

Carbon-ceramic brakes work a treat but are optional

Which is why we stopped at Motorland before reaching Alcaniz. For those who aren't Moto GP fans, the 5.4 km of blacktop set into the sun-bleached Spanish countryside is part of a large facility created for use by the motor industry for testing purposes. The Herman Tilke-designed circuit provides a wide range of challenges that creates a dynamic test for any vehicle. For our on-track exploration, we piloted the R Coupe.

In these safe confines, with large run-offs and no oncoming traffic, we were encouraged to push the limits of the R. Through the vast array of corners, including a "corkscrew", the Big Cat remained composed, if tail-happy. Unlike its smaller-engined sibling, the R model can be steered from the rear axle very easily. Thank all 680 N.m.

Rear spoiler is electronically deployed

Rear spoiler is electronically deployed

Although the launch cars had (optional) carbon-ceramic discs, you can never quite hide the fact that it weighs 1.7 tonnes. If there's one area in which the F-Type could perhaps have a little more feedback, it would be the steering. You can almost sense rear-end grip levels more so than at the front.

A day later, we had the opportunity to experience the R Coupe on the road. As I had suspected after our stint at Motorland, the V8 variant requires a bit more circumspection, especially in the tighter stuff where your exit trajectory is dependent as much on your right foot as it is on your hands. It's still massively fun to hurl through the countryside, however. Oh, and this car has a soundtrack that is, arguably, even better than that of the scintillating V6S; it's slightly more vocal, with crisp crackling on the overrun and a fiat brraaaaapp on full-throttle upshifts.

Motor, controller and power transmission wires occupy the engine bay

Motor, controller and power transmission wires occupy the engine bay

Jaguar admits that, when it created the Coupe, its biggest target was the Porsche 911. But, rather than replicate the car with the famous silhouette, the British marque has created a viable alternative, one that is altogether more expressive in sight and sound. It may not boast the performance pedigree of the 911 or even a Cayman, but it is an absolute blast to drive and a whole lot prettier.

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