Jaguar's F-Type R Coupe sounds like rolling thunder and goes like the wind
Hardcore hard-top The Jaguar F-Type Coupe R is a muscle-bound car that is also very driveable. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

The car you see on this page has one serious shortcoming: As hard as you try, it is impossible to drive slowly in it.

At about 1,500rpm, it is already breaching 80kmh. All it takes is a hint of pedal pressure for it to go from there to licence-revoking velocity.

The beast is Jaguar's F-Type R Coupe - the superlative variant of the hard-top F, and the fastest production Jag you can lay your hands on today.

Near insane propulsion comes on the back of a supercharged 5-litre V8 that churns out 550bhp and 680Nm of torque.

With a kerb weight of 1,650kg, the cat has a power-to-weight ratio of 333bhp per tonne. That is more than what the revered Porsche 911 Turbo gets.

It is, of course, not very difficult to pump up an engine's output. The Bugattis and Koenigseggs of this world are examples that come to mind.

It is, however, very difficult to make a muscle-bound car that is driveable. But that is exactly what Jaguar has done with the F-Type R Coupe.

Like its convertible twin, the car oozes ease. It is rigid, light and sits very close to the tarmac on wide tracks. Contact with tarmac is made with fat tyres wrapped around 20-inch wheels.

With those fundamentals, the car is already well placed for stability and traction.

Jaguar could easily have picked a gearbox with closer ratios to sharpen acceleration. But its eight-speed transmission from ZF has a good balance between performance and comfort.

The car's steering is light but not feathery, with a usable blend of sensitivity and effortlessness.

Whatever else Jaguar has done with the coupe makes it a real pleasure to be in despite its intimidating credentials.

Its propensity for flight is unearthly. You do not recall how you go from pressing the start button to hitting the century mark. It is as if you go through a reality-altering time warp each time.

You enter the Central Expressway at Braddell and, before you know it, you are exiting the Kranji Expressway at Sungei Tengah.

The car's decidedly firm suspension is the only tell-tale sign of its velocity. On a well-paved road, you do not even have the benefit of that.

Being a hard-top, and thus better insulated than the convertible, it further masks the sensation of speed.

Jaguar says the F-Type R Coupe is the most torsionally rigid production car it has ever made. And it shows, with that small but noticeable additional degree of confidence and poise evident whenever you make a hard turn or when one side of the car goes over an uneven patch.

At the wheel, it feels like a car made for hot laps in Sepang, yet is cushy enough for the journey to and from that circuit near Kuala Lumpur.

You can easily squeeze in a round of golf while you are there. The coupe's boot, with a tyre repair kit instead of a spare, offers 407 litres of stowage.

Of course, you do not have to go upcountry to enjoy this exceptional ride (even though it is highly recommended). Like the convertible, it has all the trappings of a luxury tourer and the attitude of a badass racer.

You do not have to drive it hard to enjoy its booming exhaust note, with its hair-raising accompaniment of crackle and pop as you lift off or shift down. Even firing up the engine is an occasion, as all eight cylinders awaken with a full-throated roar that sends birds from their perch.

The car is mightily quick in its default mode, but picking a more dynamic setting dials up the fun as well as the volume.

I exaggerate, of course, when I say it is impossible to drive slowly in this Jag. But really, why would anyone want to?

CAR INFORMATION

Jaguar F-TYPE Coupe R 5.0 V8 (A)

Price

:POA

Engine Type

:

V8 Supercharged

Engine Cap

:

5,000 cc

Horsepower

:

543 bhp / 6,500 rpm

Torque

:

680 Nm / 3,500 rpm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A) Quickshift

Acceleration

:

4.2 sec (0-100 km/h)

Top Speed

:

300 km/h