You imagine the pops and bangs are a function of a wide-open exhaust, but with the precise nature of direct injection, that can't really be the case. In reality, an ECU program allows unburnt fuel to ignite in the exhaust, which generates the sounds. As such, it's repeatable, which alters your perception slightly but didn't prevent us from enjoying it.
With 550hp at your disposal, the R Coupe is a weapon on the road or track. In fact, we had the opportunity to drive it on the Motorland circuit in Spain, which was a uniquely challenging experience. The 3.3-mile track has a 1.05-mile back straight that allowed the Jag to reach ridiculous speeds, but its new carbon-ceramic brakes made light work of the hairpin at the other end.
With almost every turn located over a blind brow, we relied on these composite rotors and their multi-piston calipers to keep us out of the gravel traps. Fortunately, the Motorland circuit has lots of run-off, and Jaguar provided expert instructors to guide us around each lap, because attempting to assess a 550hp, $99000 sports car in seven laps at a challenging and unfamiliar circuit required every ounce of your concentration.
Although the CCM brakes were phenomenally powerful, we found the slightly smaller diameter (15" front rotors rather than 15.7") steel brakes to be highly effective on the road. They were easier to modulate than the V6S anchors and never hinted at overheating, despite the ludicrously twisty roads.
With so much power, we found that very little throttle input was required. The car fired out of turns with only a few degrees of accelerator movement. Rarely did you get to bury the pedal into the carpet because you needed to be back on the brakes for the next turn. In these conditions, the R Coupe proved itself as an incredibly capable and entertaining sports car, while on the freeways it still managed to be a relaxing grand tourer.
Above 70mph, the active rear spoiler would raise to improve aero downforce by 260 lb. Unlike the Convertible's full-length wing, only the lower section of the tailgate lifts, reminding us somewhat of the Chrysler Crossfire (dare we say it!). It disappears when you drop below 50mph, but it's a dramatic reminder to the driver and other road users that you mean business.
If we could go back and repeat the comparison test we conducted in EC 2/14 between the 2014 F-Type V8S Convertible and the Corvette Stingray Z51, we think the result will now be very different. Rather than the Vette taking a narrow win, we expect the Jag will romp home this time...
The F-Type Coupe goes on sale about now in three guises. There will be the $65000, 340hp, 5.1sec, 161mph V6 model. There's also the $77000, 380hp, 4.8sec, 171mph V6S. And finally there's the $99000, 550hp, 4sec, 186mph R. We expect the range will also be filled with a V8S in the future and don't be surprised if we see a 2.0T four-cylinder model before the end of the F-Type's life cycle.
All models can be equipped with a panoramic glass roof that gives the cabin a different ambience and its full-length black glass alters the exterior styling.
Jaguar predicts a 60/40% split in sales in favour of the Coupe over the Convertible, with 40% of its sales going to the R model. It also hopes to maintain its 80% conquest rate among F-Type buyers, who are helping to make Jaguar the fastest growing luxury brand in the US, with a sales increase of 41% last year.
With some remarkable machinery coming from the British manufacturer, such as the new XE competitor to BMW 3 Series around the corner, as well as the C-X17 SUV on the way, we can only expect Jaguar's success to continue.
2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
5000cc V8 32v, Roots-type twin-vortex supercharger, two air-to-liquid intercoolers, SGDI spray-guided direct injection, DIVCT variable cam timing, Active Sports Exhaust
ZF eight-speed Quickshift automatic transmission, electronic Active differential
optional six-piston Vivid Yellow monoblock calipers, 15.7" Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) rotors f, four-piston, 15" r
Adaptive Dynamics damping, stiffer coil springs
Wheels & Tires
optional 20x9" f, 20x10.5" r forged Storm wheels, 255/35 ZR20 f, 295/30 ZR20 r Pirelli P Zero tires
aluminum structure, black trim, anodized aluminum window frames, composite trunk, adaptive rear spoiler, "J Blade" LED running lights, LED tail lights, optional carbon fiber front splitter, side vents, mirror caps, hood vents, engine cover
550hp at 6500rpm
502 lb-ft at 3500rpm