You may be familiar with Jerry Seinfeld’s internet show Comedians in Cars getting Coffee.
If not, you should be, as it’s extremely entertaining and showcases some incredible machinery. However, if Jerry ever finds himself in a tight spot and needs one guest to fulfil both car and comedian roles he could do worse than choosing Jaguar’s new F-Type R convertible.
A new addition to the MY16 F-Type range, it replaces the previous V8 S and basically turns all the numbers up. Outputs from the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 lift from 375kW/625Nm to the full-fat 404kW/680Nm of the R Coupe while the price increases from $201,475 to $245,280 for the rear-driver and $260,980 for the new all-wheel drive variant.
Our test car sends power rearwards only, and the resultant driving experience is funnier than the lovechild of Jim Carrey and Tina Fey. The F-Type R is a born entertainer, the V8’s supercharged savagery making mincemeat of the 295mm-wide rear rubber at every opportunity. It’s not a car for those unfamiliar with oversteer, but far from being nervous or edgy, it has one of the friendliest chassis of any car on-sale today.
The steering is now electromechcanially-assisted but is a highlight for its weighting and rate of response; it provides strong turn-in but in second-gear corners it only takes half-throttle for the rear to break free. Despite its name, the ‘TracDSC’ mode is perfectly calibrated for the road, providing enough slip to feel involved but keeping a safety net in place.
With space to play and the electronics off the F-Type R reveals its lairy side, however it’s so easy to control that slides elicit smiles rather than raised heart rates. Care is need in the wet, though, as the quantity of power available means fourth-gear wheelspin isn’t unknown and the close ratios of the eight-speed auto mean shifting up a gear doesn’t always fix the problem!
When those poor tortured rear tyres do finally hook up, acceleration is ferocious and the never-ending torrent of torque is accompanied by a raucous V8 soundtrack that you just can’t believe passes drive-by noise tests anywhere in the world.
It’s not all fun and games, however. The open-top structure is noticeably less rigid than the Coupe, the ride is pretty sharp around town and, as with all F-Type Convertibles, it’s hopelessly impractical.
But who cares? The F-Type R is the perfect example of a MOTOR car. Non car-nuts just wouldn’t get it: why would you pay a quarter-mil for a car that deafens you, has no luggage space and devours a set of rear tyres every 2000km? Because it’s fan-bloody-tastic.
Engine 5000cc V8, DOHC, 32v, supercharger
Power 404kW @ 6500rpm
Torque 680Nm @ 3500rpm
0-100km/h 4.2sec (claimed)
Price $245,280 (RWD)