JAGUAR F-TYPE COUPE
–by Seagram Pearce
Anyone who lives in Cape Town knows what it is like driving through town. The grid layout is a never-ending start-stop procession. There is the slow irritation of traffic thrown in the same bag of needing to be somewhere urgently. What if, for a minute, this was the same place, yet, instead of seething contempt, you relished in mechanical gargles, roars, and throaty blipping sounds. Combine this with luxury and an exceptionally on-point fitted design of a red leather interior. Suddenly we’re talking about a completely different experience for our day.
We all want to feel special in some way. For some of us, it is when your song comes on the radio and you find yourself head-banging like a rockstar. Yet, this time, I’m referring more to getting inside a car and instantly feeling like it is a special place to be. Your invitation to the Secret Gentleman’s Club – every day. Let me introduce you to one of the finest creations to come from the Jaguar laboratory of magical-stuff engineering: the Jaguar F-Type Coupe R.
Visually, the Jaguar F-Type Coupe R is both beautiful and brutal. It has a design that demands attention from all eyes – be it the petrol attendant who whistles when you pull in, the guy riding his bicycle down Sea Point Promenade, that woman out for her morning jog or the businessman next to you at the traffic lights who thought he had the vehicle of choice until 10 seconds ago. The design features, such as the elongated nose, draw much from the Jaguar E-Type which was so iconic for its time, it rightly earned the trophy as most beautiful car in the world. So Jaguar know a thing or two about design and I’m pleased that they haven’t lost the art over the years, especially in today’s cookie-cutter fashion.
Granted, I never actually got around to lifting the very elongated hood. However, what has been crammed into the engine bay is large, loud, brutal V8 power, and it is ever so thirsty. Jaguar’s 5.0L V8 engine doesn’t leave you feeling lacking when you put your foot down. In fact, if you’re not careful, a hard floor stomp will turn you into a human cannonball…a most willing repeat customer for the canon shoot event, I might add. It unleashes 550 BHP, or for us locals a stomach wrenching 410 kW and 680 Nm Torque. To petrol-heads, those kinds of figures are like telling your kid he can grab as much candy his little arms can hold… and then some.
The Jaguar F-Type comes with various modes for your driving style. Situated in your centre console like the flip switch to the nuclear launch, is your driving mode button. Starting her up defaults to standard driving mode which is a nice balance between throttle response, suspension softness and general riding comfort. The V8’s unmistakable engine sound has been crafted into something else all together. I can guarantee you the first 500 times you hit the pulse-throbbing (yes, it actually does have a pulse glow rhythm), glowing ‘start’ button you’ll take a moment to appreciate the mechanical opera you’ve gotten a front row ticket to. It’s intoxicating! Jaguar has designed, crafted and mastered one of the most beautiful sounding vehicles in the world. If there is one thing I cannot convey with enough expletives, it’s how this car sounds. At this point, its worth mentioning that when you think nothing could get better, it does. Flipping your driving mode switch down into Dynamic Sports Mode unlocks all sorts of illegal-feeling driving fantasies. Your dial clusters turn red, and your suspension stiffens. What you thought was the most beautiful exhaust tone now becomes two octaves lower by opening butterfly valves in the exhaust. You’ve invited the devil to dinner, and he brought friends.
Granted, all I did with the Jaguar F-Type at first was convert petroleum into one long permanent grin on my face. The rear wheel drive feels precise and you feel solidly connected to the tar below you. You can feel the precise design in cornering, and pushing the limits in safe track environments is all kinds of fun. Yet, we know the British for their refinement, class and distinction. So what about the open road? Engaging normal (or comfort) mode lets the automatic 8-speed gearbox take over. The open road ahead becomes a remarkably comfortable journey. Honestly, I was not expecting this tar and rubber-devouring animal to become my silky coach. This proves that the F-Type works as an all-round vehicle, not just an expensive track toy.
It was difficult parting ways with this vehicle. At the end of the week I had wrapped up two filming days and two shoot days. I spent every other moment relishing the time I had bonding with Jaguar’s finest offering. While money can’t buy you happiness, it can buy you the Jaguar F-Type Coupe R, which is pretty much the same thing.