There’s a part of your brain called the amygdala.
It’s the bit that makes you spin your arms at 1000rpm towards the beach when you see an inbound dorsal fin. And when it’s raining it’s the part that causes your finger to quiver as you reach for the ESP button in a Jaguar F-Type Coupe R.
Even in dry conditions a Coupe R’s rear 295-section tyres stand little hope in the face of 404kW and 680Nm. And in the wet, if so much as a moth flaps its wings on the throttle pedal, the traction control light will flicker.
So in some ways it makes sense to fit this car with some extra driveshafts. With that, the Coupe R AWD was born.
At 1730kg and $242,670, it’s 80kg heavier and $15,700 more expensive than its two-wheel drive brother. But it’s also faster, nailing 0-100km/h in 4.1 seconds – 0.1sec quicker. Meanwhile, its combined 11.3L/100km is 0.6L thirstier.
Visually the bonnet has a deeper central (and perhaps unfortunately-named) “power bulge” while the bonnet vents are unique to the all-claw kitty.
But the biggest differences are to be found driving. MOTOR was unleashed on a private road somewhere near Sydney we’re not allowed to tell you about. And the first thing we noticed, or were reminded, is just how fast the Coupe R is. By god; it’s brutally, scarily, oh-my-effing-lord rapid in a straight line.
Like the rear-driver, the noise is as anti-social as ever, a bordering-on-comedic flatulent V8 racket. Tug a steering-wheel paddle and there’s the same appreciably obedient, crisp-shifting, torque converter eight-speed auto.
The crack it makes as you change up gears is laugh-out-loud funny. The F-Type Coupe R AWD is, at the very least, entertaining no matter the speed.
Its default drivetrain setting is rear-drive, meaning up to 50 per cent power can be sent forward. So in all conditions otherwise, it may as well be rear-drive. It feels it, too. Driving fast and smooth, the Coupe R AWD is much like its rear-drive sibling: frighteningly rapid in a straight line and deft through corners, if in a burly way.
Not quite as talented or surgical as perhaps a Cayman, the Coupe R AWD corners like a surprisingly limber Greco-Roman wrestler.
Of course, pick up the throttle like a muppet and suddenly you’re aware the under-bonnet behemoth is dealing with twice the rubber. But the grip isn’t so much that the theatrical oversteer of the rear-driver is totally lost; a sideways wriggle is but a throttle jab away.
But in terms of how lairy the possible powerslides, the jury is still out. Trees lined the edges of our test track, so we’ll save the bigger skids for a proper track.
That said, there’s no doubting all-wheel drive has endowed the borderline-overpowered Coupe R with the tractive grip it’s pretty desperate for. In this territory, $16K isn’t much, but there’s still some philosophical reckoning to be had whether or not you need the extra driveshafts.
In the dry, the rear-drive Coupe R is friendly and fun to slide. And sure, in the wet, a 404kW rear-drive car could fall anywhere on the spectrum of fun to frightening. Where that sweet spot falls for you, there’s a part of your brain sure to remind you.
Engine: 5000cc V8, DOHC, 32v, supercharged
Power: 404kW @ 6500rpm
Torque: 680Nm @ 3500rpm
0-100km/h: 4.1 sec (claimed)
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