We drive the 543bhp Jaguar F-Type R-Coupe in and out of town for a full week.
I make another happy discovery on the otherwise mundane morning commute to office. And that’s that the F doesn’t require silly speeds or much road space to exhibit its wild side. Small gaps in traffic are enough to get the exhausts to bark and the tail to do a little jig. In fact, with so much power, it’s easy to unsettle the rear tyres even in the relatively sedate rain/snow setting for the traction control, gearbox and engine. Thrilling? Yes. Scary? Not once you are used to it, because the overwhelming feeling is that this car and its electronics have been set up to allow a certain degree of playfulness. Dull moments, then, are restricted to traffic signal halts and, ahem, petrol pumps. But more on that later. The office parking lot is abuzz with activity today. There’s a ceremony in progress, so I gingerly (and quietly) manoeuvre the Jag into the designated parking slot. While I do so, I notice there’s a small crowd gathering around the F. That’s expected. What isn’t is that the crowd comprises priests who have paused their proceedings just to have a closer look at the car! I’m sure they’ll be praying for this one!
Colleagues join in and together we just ogle at the car. The smart headlamps with the J-shaped LED running lights, squared-out Jaguar grille and sharkfin inlets work well up front, but they aren’t half as interesting as the bits aft of the front wheels. I don’t want to sound uncultured, but man, what a backside! The way the roof flows into the powerful haunches and that stubby cliff-faced tail is simply stuff of design genius. Even the slender LED tail-lamps that wrap themselves around that wide posterior are a sight to behold. Aesthetic value aside, the coupé’s roof has made its all-aluminium body stiffer than the famed British upper lip. It’s when I open the doors that we all seem to agree that perhaps Jaguar’s designers exhausted their creativity by the time they got to the interiors. The dashboard looks sporty, for sure, but the layout and design isn’t what you’d call particularly unique. It’s also in the light of day that I can tell the cabin quality is good, but not exceptional. The plastics over the deep dish dials, for instance, are hard and the steering adjust knob seems plucked from a budget Ford. Even the graphics on the touchscreen for the infotainment system look a bit last-gen. I’m nitpicking, yes, but then you do expect the very best when your car costs close to Rs 2 crore. On the positive side, there’s plenty to like too. The knurled climate control knobs with in-built LED displays, for one, look spectacular.
I also like how handy the passenger grab handle sprouting out of the centre console is. Other classy touches include the contrast stitching on the seats, dashboard and door pads, and I really like the fighter jet-like toggle to operate the drive modes. Why the latter, like the gearshift paddles and starter button, is finished in a gaudy shade of copper, I don’t quite understand.
A few distracted hours of work later, it’s time to head back out. The Jag’s been ferrying excited passengers for joy rides since the morning, so I’m mentally prepared to see the fuel level significantly lower than what I left it at. What I’m not prepared for is a near-empty fuel tank. A quick look at the fuel records reveals that on average the Jag has guzzled a litre of petrol every 3.3 kilometres. 3.3kpl! That means fuel bills for a day of enthusiastic driving can equal the EMI on a small car, especially if you fill the recommended 97 octane. I gently inform Haymarket’s money police that there’s going to be a lot of activity on my credit card this coming weekend.