This is the Jaguar F-type R: a hot cat with a tin (or glass) roof. It’s the stiffest production Jaguar ever, and with the 542bhp supercharged V8 from the XFR-S up front, one of the fastest (and sexiest) too.
Just how fast is the Jaguar F-type R?
The F-type R, which has 54bhp more than the F-type V8 S roadster, launches to 62mph in just 4.0sec. And that’s not just thanks to the extra power, either. Stickier tyres, a reworked differential, a quicker eight-speed paddleshift gearbox and a 20kg weight saving against the soft-top all add up to that storming turn of speed.
The top speed is electronically limited, but 186mph is enough for most people, surely? The pop-up rear spoiler, which reduces high speed lift by 120kg, gives your speeding antics away at just 70mph, though. Meanwhile, 501 lb ft ensures an in-gear lunge from 50-75mph in 2.4sec.
What are the other dynamic revisions for the F-type R?
That clever electronic rear diff can vary throttle delivery to each rear wheel between zero and 100% in just 200 milliseconds, depending on available grip. The F-type R also boasts brake torque vectoring, which slows inside wheels to help pivot the nose in sharply through turns. Heard of a similar system before? That might be because McLaren developed the first ‘BrakeSteer’ systems in F1 before applying it to its 12C supercar.
This ain’t no muscle car, says Jag – hence why you can’t buy an F-type R as a poser’s cabrio. It’s a hard-top only, complete with Ferrari 458 levels of torsional rigidity. That puts the F-type coupe in the same stiffness ballpark as a Ferrari 458 Italia.
Carbon-ceramic brakes from the limited-run XKR-S GT make an appearance here too – they’re on the options list for the F-type R, and all F-types above the base V6, in fact. The monstrous 398mm stoppers cut 21kg of weight, come with a new design of 20in alloy wheel, and even buy you heat-resistant tyre valve caps. Yes, the brakes get so hot that regular valve caps couldn’t stand the temperature.
Do I have to buy the fire-spitting F-type R to get a hard-top?
No – it’s available as a V6 and V6 S too, with 335bhp and 375bhp respectively. Those cars cost £51,235 and £60,235 – some £7000 less than the soft-top. The F-type R is £85,000 – almost £15,000 less than a slower XKR-S Or, you could spend another £53,000 and go barely any faster in an Aston Martin V12 Vantage S. See, even eighty-grand cars can be bargain.
CAR’s Greg Fountain describes his long-term F-type roadster’s pathetic boot as a ‘pizza box’. Well, the F-type coupe is a veritable delivery van by that token, with its 407-litre maximum capacity.
Of course, it’s still a snug two-seater inside, but the cabin can be tarted up with new leather and trim finishes, a flat-bottomed Alcantara steering wheel, glass roof, and posh audio system. We recommend you spec the sports exhaust, and to hell with the stereo.
The F-type coupe is on sale from spring 2014. Is it the prettiest production car money can buy? Click ‘Add your comment’ to weigh in on the latest salvo from a resurgent Jaguar.