I'm a Jaaaag guy because I was raised as a Jaaaag guy.
Once upon a time, the Munich postal service bought six Jags intended for England because the steering was on the opposite side, and this allowed the workers to conveniently jump out on the side of the car they were going to be working on. After a bit of use, the Munich postal service decided that there was a better solution to this problem, and put them up for sale, so my dad bought them.
...he bought six Jags anyway because it was a good deal. Shortly after he found himself standing in the pouring rain on the side of the autobahn in a new Hardy Aimes suit next to a wrecked Jag wondering what he planned to do with the remaining five.
He wasn't quite sure what he was going to do with them, and he sure as hell knew that parking in London where he lived was going to be a massive pain, but he bought six Jags anyway because it was a good deal. Shortly after he found himself standing in the pouring rain on the side of the autobahn in a new Hardy Aimes suit next to a wrecked Jag wondering what he planned to do with the remaining five.
This sort of lunacy is in my blood, and I might be a bit biased here, so it should come as no surprise that I thought the F-Type R Coupe was damn near perfect.
To get a feel for the car I flew to LA where I spent all day driving around some of California's amazing mountain roads and even taking a few laps of Big Willow at Willow Springs.
The last time I was at Willow, I was driving the sublime Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black series, so the Jaaag had a very high bar to meet on track. It didn't. There's no way that a $99k sports car could stand up to the best supercar Mercedes could come up with on track, but that doesn't really matter, because that's not what this car is aiming to do. What it did do on track was perform well enough for an owner and enthusiast to have a very, very good day off with his toy.
It was predictable, it was fast, and it was engaging, but Willow exposed the fact that the F-Type R is still tuned to have good manners on the street and the fact that it might be just a bit heavy for serious track duty at 3,950 lbs. The fact that the roof made the chassis an amazing 80% stiffer than the convertible does, however, help quite a bit.
Where this Jag really shines is out in the real world. On those twisting roads I couldn't imagine a better car. No supercar in the world would have been more fun than piloting this 550 hp Jaguar coupe, in all its beauty up and down those mountains. Through the tunnels the roaring supercharged V8 made sounds that simply cant be beat; roaring like something that isn't a cat because I'm really tired of that lazy simile under acceleration and gurgling and popping like a horrifying beast straining against its chains the rest of the time.
All that power and torque, however, just allows the car's finest attribute to shine; the handling is predictable, the steering is smooth, direct, and communicative, and the chassis responds nicely, meaning that the F-Type R simply glides through challenging roads. The driver is active, but never annoyed or suddenly forced to counter-steer for his life.
Many much more exotic cars would have still been fun, but there would have been an undercurrent of worry the whole time; supercars can get hairy very suddenly. The Jag was somehow both exhilarating and relaxing. After driving it for hours I was just happy, and isn't that what you really want?
Stuck in LA traffic was where it hit me though: This is way better than any supercar for real-life use. Being stuck in traffic in the Jag wasn't any more awful than it would be in a more pedestrian car, and good luck finding a true exotic that will treat you that way. Nietzsche warned me that “sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed,” but I'm going to do it anyway:
Your dream daily driver is probably something insane like an Ariel Atom, but this is what it should be. This is almost definitely the car you really want. Trust me on this one.