Jaguar’s new F-type coupé is a story of practical comforts among manic performance

It had been raining for two days in Spain, in the western bit of Catalunya, a mountainous region accessed by delightfully twisty, deserted roads where I was to test Jaguar’s new F-type Coupé. The rain-soaked roads couldn’t dampen our enthusiasm and, if at all, only highlighted how involving the F-type Coupé is to drive.

I am in the R version – the most potent of the range with its 543bhp V8 engine. Driving up the narrow, uneven road, I toggle the drive mode to Dynamic, the most aggressive setting. This sharpens the throttle response, gearshift and handling, but best of all, it loosens the traction control to a point which allows you to mildly drift the car before the electronics reign you in. You quickly learn that it’s best to drive the F-type Coupé with carefully measured throttle and steering inputs.

The F-type has a long bonnet, a sloping roof line and bulging rear haunches which are now even more accentuated in coupé form. An added bonus is a 407-litre boot which offers more luggage space than some compact sedans.

The F-type Coupé’s cabin is similar to the convertible’s, but feels a bit more snug because of the fixed roof. Quality levels are top notch as reflected in the chunky steering, switchgear and finely stitched leather trim and only a few buttons look a bit below par.

The fully adjustable front seats (with inflatable side bolsters in the V8) are, by default, set quite low and short drivers have to max out the seat-height adjust to peer over the instrument binnacle which houses twin-hooded dials. Once you’ve found the perfect driving position, everything falls perfectly to hand – the stubby little gear lever is perfectly placed and the grab handle for the passenger also gives the driver a sense of separation.

The trim levels vary a bit depending on the spec of the car, and while the R Coupé has the sportiest interior, the V6 S Coupé has a more subdued theme.

The 2,995cc supercharged V6, like the V8 mentioned earlier, feels so much quicker than its performance figures suggest. Playing no small role is the brilliant ZF-sourced eight-speed gearbox. In Sport mode, the transmission feels more alert and makes sure you’re in the right gear at the right time. The ride is remarkably compliant for such a full-blown sportscar. However, it remains to be seen how this coupé handles our abysmal roads.

The coupé has engaging driving dynamics, which certainly feel more precise than the convertible’s