- Great looks especially from the rear three-quarters
- True muscle car levels of power
- Sharper handling than the convertible
- Cabin not as plush or stylish as it should be
- Residual values not as good as some rivals
- Should sports cars have automatic gearboxes?
Jaguar’s F-Type Coupe is the poster boy of the Jaguar range and backs its pumped up good looks with serious performance.
It is much more practical than the convertible because there’s decent boot space. Increased body rigidity, thanks to having a metal roof, means Jaguar has been able to tune the suspension for more responsive handling than the convertible.
The car is much closer in character to the legendary E-Type than previous Jaguars like the XJ-S.
On The Road
When I first drove the Jaguar F-Type Coupe on road and race track in Spain I couldn’t believe the company was going to make this car available to the general public.
It wasn’t just very fast, the back end could be leery, and that was with the traction and stability systems switched ‘on.’
No-one as far as I am aware had complained that the 488bhp V8 S F-type convertible was lacking in power but here was a 5-litre V8 R Coupe turned up to give an extra 54bhp, or 542bhp in total.
The 3-litre V6 with 337bhp is quick, the V6S with 376bhp rapid but the V8 R is bonkers.
If you can persuade the eight-speed automatic transmission to put the huge power through the rear wheels without cremating the tyres the F-Type will sling shot to 60mph in four seconds dead.
This is accompanied by a bellowing from the four exhausts. Top speed is electronically limited to 186mph.
If you are going to turn off the stability systems on the V8 R you need to know what you are doing and be on a race track because you will need space.
Even with the traction and stability systems active there is so much supercharged power available so easily the back end can step out in a heartbeat and before the systems have woken up.
No wonder Jaguar has introduced four-wheel drive models to tame the car’s behaviour. We look forward to trying them.
My impression is that the V6 feels that bit more nimble in the twisty stuff because it hasn’t that the big engine up front.
Considering how much Jaguar bangs on about lightweight aluminium construction the F-Type is heavier than it should be and only 20kgs lighter than the convertible.
Sometimes you are a driving God; sometimes Jaguar’s tech is doing it for you.
To help stop the front end ‘washing’ out if you enter a corner too quickly a torque vectoring system brakes the inside rear wheel and feeds more power to the outside wheel to ‘aim’ the car more precisely into the bend.
I love sports cars but a lot of the time the V8 R is just too loud. The engine starts with a ‘look at me’ flare of revs that gets irritating and the exhausts seem only to be quiet if you aren’t touching the accelerator.
A pal told me to turn down the sports exhausts (£1,630 extra) and I explained they were in their quiet setting! Beware, the police will hear you coming in plenty of time to set up a speed trap.
Just breathe on the throttle and they fire up and braking hard into a corner they fizz and bang like a Spitfire Merlin engine.
Unfortunately the supercharged V8 is more loud than mechanically melodious.
The suspension fidgets over poor surfaces but the tall eighth gear means the engine is hardly working when motorway cruising.
You can hear wind and road noise on motorways.
In The Car
Drop into one of the front ‘bucket’ seats and there’s an imposing view over the main instrument dials and down that long bonnet.
Start the engine and the flare of revs is accompanied by the gimmicky air vents rising electrically out of the top of the dashboard. Does a sports car really need motorised air vents?
There’s stacks of leg room on the passenger side and big grab handles for them to hang on to.
The touch screen infotainment system is slow and fiddly and old fashioned. Some of the trim isn’t up to the quality that Porsche uses.
The gear selector lever is more cosmetics counter than for a pukka sports car.
The 12-speaker surround sound audio system was a £1,250 option.
A configurable dynamics system lets the driver alter settings for the engine, suspension and steering to suit mood, road or track.
The touch screen can shows cornering g-forces, lap times and the driver’s input on the throttle, steering and brakes.
The convertible’s character is more grand tourer while the coupe is more hard core sports car and ready to attack every bend.
Considering the F-Type occupies about the same amount of road space as a BMW 3-Series there is not a lot of space inside.
The cabin fits you like a glove providing you are under 6ft tall. I’m not a fan of glass roofs but one would make the interior of the F-Type feel less claustrophobic.
Oddment space for phones, sweets, notepad, torch etc is poor.
Jaguar says there’s 407 litres of space under the tailgate (315 litres if you pull the cover back to hide your bags) which is lots more than in the convertible and crucially enough for a set of golf bags allegedly.
There’s more space under the boot floor, too.
So much of the car is out of sight that parking sensors are a huge relief.
When you see Coupe prices start at £51,250 it comes as a shock that the V8 R will relieve you of £86,800 before you choose any options.
Jaguars traditionally fall out of bed price wise, as an East End car dealer once said to me, so will the Coupe avoid heavy depreciation?
Jaguar is performing much better in reliability surveys and reckons the F-Type will be better with residual values of more than 50 percent after three years.
My bet is that resale values won’t be as strong as for Porsche’s 911 and for company car users the Jaguar’s higher CO2 emissions mean it will cost more to tax and run.
The V8 R’s 255g/km carbon dioxide emissions mean £860 first year’s road tax followed by £485 per year.
Jaguar offers a servicing package over three year servicing pack for £332 per year or five years for £299 per year.
Carbon ceramic brakes add £8,900 to the car’s cost.
Fuel thirst? Officially 25.4mpg is possible. Use the power and it will be under 15mpg.
And if tyre shredding power slides are your thing you are going to get through a lot of expensive rubber very quickly…
Jaguar is rated slightly above average for reliability.
The F-Type Coupe is still very new but there are reports of rattles from the supercharger when the engine is started from cold.
There are also reports about brake discs warping and problems from the electronic parking brake ‘locking’ on.
Electronic traction and stability systems are designed to help the driver avoid an accident. In event of a collision the F-Type Coupe has four airbags to protect occupants.
To protect pedestrians the bonnet springs up automatically to move the pedestrian’s head away from hard points on the engine.
A blind-spot warning system is available as an option, as is a system that warns of traffic approaching from either side when reversing.
Brakes are a vital part of a car’s safety systems and the F-Type is available with extra high performance carbon ceramic brakes which even in track use seemed almost fade free.
They also reduce the weight not carried by the car’s suspension by 21kg which improves handling fractionally.
The F-Type Coupe has not been rated by the independent Euro NCAP organization for its safety in a crash.
A tracking system warns of any unauthorized movement of the car.