Suffice it to say, heft is a little bit of a limiting factor for the F-Type R. Not a terminal obstacle by any means, partly because there are so many ways to enjoy how this car engages with a testing road; but a present one, certainly, that conspires with other factors to prevent the Jaguar from conjuring the last word on outright poise and agility.
Use it for everyday driving or grand touring and you’ll find the F-Type R’s behaviour hard to fault. Despite those 20in rims, it rides pretty quietly and, with the adaptive dampers set to Normal mode, with suppleness and isolation, too. Long distances are thus very agreeably dispatched, and the softer side of the car’s chassis tune makes it easy to luxuriate in the combustive richness that powertrain affords.
Dial the car into Dynamic mode and you’ll feel the suspension stiffen immediately and the steering weight up – and a degree of the fluent poise and easy precision that both had previously possessed begin to disintegrate slightly. The car retains a level of body control and directional incisiveness that might distinguish a modern sports saloon or GT very well indeed but, compared with a current 911 or Lotus Evora, there’s a hint of softness about the Jaguar’s handling responses, a slight mutedness about its control feedback, and a sense that the suspension is struggling slightly to keep the car’s mass under close control when the road surface underneath it begins to degrade.
Jaguar’s four-wheel drive system, meanwhile – however rear biased its torque distribution might be by default – remains one that, in combination with the electronic torque vectoring, always seems half a step off the pace in its attempts to put the car’s drive where it might be best deployed. Both might even be tuned to seem like they’re struggling to contain the savagery of that V8 motor at times, which they can do in pretty rough and rudimentary terms.
We didn’t have the opportunity to test the car’s track handling, but all-paw performance Jaguars have thus far failed to reproduce the dynamic configurability or throttle adjustability of some of their German counterparts. Although the F-Type seemed to have good stability and well-balanced grip levels at road speeds, nothing it did at those road speeds suggested it would move Jaguar’s 4WD game on at the limit.