At its best in beast mode
At least one of our judges referenced Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde when commenting on his experience with the F-Type R Coupe. He was alluding to the Jaguar’s duality—its ability to change from benign to beastly with the flick of the driving-mode switch. Most luxury cars now feature multiple driving settings, but among the models that contended for the Car of the Year title, the F-Type R Coupe exhibited the most dramatic transformation between normal and sport. When the sport mode—or Dynamic mode, as Jaguar calls it—is activated, the lighting on the instrument cluster, door handles, and center console glows an ominous red, as if to warn drivers that they are accessing the full capabilities of the highest-performing F-Type variant.
The Dynamic setting tightens the F-Type R Coupe’s suspension, sharpens the throttle response, and increases the steering weighting, enabling the car to sprint faster on open straightaways (the zero-to-60-mph time is 4 seconds) and power through corners while emitting a menacing growl from its outboard-mounted quad exhaust pipes. The supercharged 5-liter V-8 churns out 550 hp (217 hp more than the standard F-Type) and 502 ft lbs of torque. Jaguar’s new torque-vectoring system nearly eliminates understeer on corner entrances and exits by automatically applying braking to the inside rear wheel and sending additional power to the outside rear wheel.
Standard equipment for the leather-lined interior includes a heated flat-bottomed steering wheel, a Meridian 770-watt audio system, and performance seats, which provided our judges with extra lateral support when they drove the Jaguar in Mr. Hyde mode.
CONFIGURATION: Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupe
ENGINE: 5-liter supercharged V-8
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
POWER: 550 hp at 6,500 rpm
TORQUE: 502 ft lbs at 3,500 rpm
CURB WEIGHT: 3,638 pounds
ZERO-TO-60 MPH: 4 seconds
TOP SPEED: 186 mph
BASE PRICE: $99,000