2014 Jaguar F-Type vs Suzuki GSX-R1000. Click image to enlarge
Review by Jacob Black, photos by Jeff Wilson
There’s a funny thing about speed. It is addictive. It is thrilling, it is visceral, and it evokes a primal, fervent passion. And like all cultural movements speed has its sub-genres – sub-genres who rage with unfettered, brutal intensity.
One of those great battles is the one between two and four wheels.
Yes, of course there are car people that love bikes, and bike people that love cars – but those people might as well be Pocahontas and John Smith. They’re trapped between two furious tribes raging against each other in an argument with no real answer; until now.
For one glorious week we were blessed with the sharpest knives in the fight. The best-of-the-best from both directions. If this was ancient Greece, these would be Achilles and Hector. The strongest there are, the pointiest, the sharpest.
In the two-wheel corner, the Suzuki GSX-R1000. The seminal sports bike, this weapon boasts a power-to-weight ratio that makes heads spin with an engine that sounds like a banshee and telepathic handling.
Taking up the cause for the four-wheel brigade is the 2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 convertible, with a fiery, orchestral, aural orgasm of an engine, a chassis that lives up to the feline moniker and looks that make grown men cry rivers of evangelical joy.
2014 Jaguar F-Type, driver’s seat. Click image to enlarge
To say that we adore these two different road weapons would be like saying Romeo thought Juliet was “quite nice”, that sunsets “look okay” or that sex is “something to do”.
In this arena, we’ll put our combatants through five rounds – and the winner takes all.
The Jaguar F-Type Convertible is a masterpiece. Its design and shape will likely go down as one of the great, classic automotive designs. The front grille, the sculpted flanks, the full wheel arches and the wide stance don’t attract your eye – they take control of them and drag them into compliance. You can’t help but stop and stare. If you see it before you hear it the F-Type is beguiling in its beauty.
But if you hear it before you see it, the F-Type is pure, carnal fear. The supercharged 5.0L V8 is the single-best sounding engine of the modern era. It is loud and violent and oppressive. On downshifts, unspent fuel pours through the engine block and into the lava-hot exhaust, where it ignites with a cacophony of explosions, burbles and thunderous cracks that drive fear into the hearts of unsuspecting pedestrians. I’m not even joking – one poor bloke dropped his briefcase.
2014 Suzuki GSX-R1000 wheel, gauges. Handsome rogue not included. Click image to enlarge
The Suzuki GSX-R1000 has an engine that sounds almost benign by comparison at idle. But the Suzuki has a feather in its cap; a stratospheric redline; almost double that of the Jaguar. A wound-up Gixxer is an instantaneous illustration of the Doppler effect, it’s not a roar so much as a scream that penetrates your very soul.
Visually, the GSX-R1000 is athletic and insectoid. The Suzuki sportsbike is seminal. For those in the know, the GSX-R1000 is a symbol of everything that sportsbike culture is best at. It looks tough, because it is. The problem is you have to be in the know. For too many people the GSX-R looks the same as so many other fully faired sport bikes. In other words, it lacks the visual presence of the Jaguar.
Of course, on the bike you wear a leather jacket and a black-visored helmet, which is more imposing than the open-roofed Jag, which only shows your bald spot and your stupid grin. Regardless, it’s the Jaguar that wins this battle.