What’s Hot: Dripping in style, brilliant suspension, sharp steering, punchy drivetrain.
What’s Not: Quite heavy for a coupe, some options should be standard.
X-FACTOR: It's like a silken sledgehammer - killer looks with killer performance.
Vehicle Style: Sports Coupe
Price: $119,430 (F-TYPE V6), $151,830 (F-TYPE V6 S), $219,130 (F-TYPE R)
Engine/trans: 5.0-litre Supercharged V8 404kW/680Nm | 8spd auto
Fuel Economy claimed: 11.1l/100km | tested: 12.2 l/100km
The convertible was nice, yes, but the slinky lines and curvy hips of the concept coupe promised much. We can tell you now that it has delivered.
Jaguar Australia has released the F-TYPE Coupe to the motoring public. And, as our road test at launch from Sydney into the Hunter Valley of NSW showed, this car is far from just 'another low-slung two-door'.
Jaguar talks about the “emotionality” of the car, drawing on words like "feeling" and "experience".
With those drop-dead gorgeous looks, a supercharged V8, rear-wheel-drive and Gatling-gun exhaust, it’s pretty hard not to get taken with it.
But we’re professionals so, ahem, so here’s an objective look.
- Sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, multi-function steering wheel controls
- 16-way Powered seats, with adjustable bolstering
- Eight-inch touchscreen interface, Bluetooth audio and telephony, on-board music HDD storage, 380W Meridian sound system (770W available)
The cabin quality is, as you'd expect, identical to the F-TYPE convertible. Thus, if you're looking for major differences between the convertible and the coupe, you won't find them.
Of course there are some model-specific trim changes and options will add various buttons and finishes, but essentially the two body-styles share the same cabin.
The most outstanding advantage the coupe has over its droptop sibling is in practicality. While the small space behind the seats is identical, the coupe's hatch opening at the rear liberates 315 litres of space to play with.
It's an oddly shaped area, especially when you opt for the space saver spare wheel (which does chew up quite a bit of available area) however it can be removed and the well underneath is where all the room is gained. Then there’s 407 litres available.
The Coupe R gets the beautifully chunky flat-bottomed wheel with shift paddles, but the rubberised cheap-looking gold finish tarting up the paddles looks a bit naff, .
Apart from that, and a few random plastic finishes (the rising air vents look different to their surroundings), the cabin is a very nice place to spend time.
Standard seats are the performance seats with all-electric adjustment, which offer fabulous body-hugging adjustable bolstering and four-way lumbar support.
Not only can they be adjusted to wrap around in hard cornering but they look amazing with contrast stitching.
Then, when you finish attacking the bends, you can back off the bolstering and relax. It’s versatile and it works well.
As with all low-slung coupes, the deep nature of the cabin means judging the corners of the car is difficult; the width however only presents an issue if you need to park in a tight space. The optional parking sensors (optional?... tick that box) make all the difference.
The pop-up spoiler also impedes the rear view out of the narrow hatch glass, but because it rises at 113kmh, technically it shouldn’t present a problem. No-one ever goes over that speed, right?
The infotainment is the familiar JLR unit which, although it looks nice, can be a little clunky and slow to respond.
The standard Meridian sound system is clear and classy, though you can spend a whole lot more and get the 770W system as well.
ON THE ROAD
- 5.0 litre petrol supercharged V8
- 404kW @ 6500rpm | 680Nm @ 2500-5500rpm
- Eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifts
- Rear-wheel-drive with electronic active differential and torque vectoring
- 0-100km/h - 4.2seconds, top speed 300kmh
- Double wishbone front and rear with adaptive damping
- Hydraulic power-assisted rack and pinion steering
- Fuel consumption (listed): 11.1 l/100km
Jaguar didn't make available any of the V6 models for test on the launch programme, so instead we were stuck with the 404kW F-TYPE Coupe R. Must soldier on...
Press the pulsing start-button and the supercharged 5.0-litre V8 bursts into life, but with none of the rev-flare and aural drama of other brands.
Instead, it's a docile take-off with a simple pull of the gear lever (the same as the Range Rover Sport) to engage Drive, a press on the handbrake button and away you go.
Puttering around the suburbs is nowhere near as intimidating as what it could be with a 404kW monster waiting to be unleashed.
In 'Normal' driving mode, the ZF eight-speed auto quickly rises through the gears, while throttle response is backed off a fraction, the two combining to give gentle acceleration on part throttle.
In this mode, the suspension is at its most supple, smothering smaller jittery imperfections with an ease not usually associated with 20-inch wheels, but still maintaining body control.
A criticism we had of the convertible was that it was a bit too loose given its 364kW/625Nm powerplant. Problem solved with the coupe; its stiffer body allows a tighter suspension tune and the improved balance and roadholding is very hard to fault.
Press the toggle backwards into Dynamic Mode and things get even sharper again.
The suspension firms up further without destroying the ride (and your back in the process) and the body control is even more precise.
The adaptive damper and spring tuning really is remarkable. Considering that this is the stiffest setup (specific to the R), the F-TYPE never crashes, jolts or shudders. It simply absorbs the hit and moves on.
It's particularly reassuring when 'on the nail ' and you find the road surface changing several times in the one corner (like so many secondary roads).
The chassis balance is so sublime that the F-TYPE simply swallows the imperfections and the corner with it. You can fire it out the other side and line it up for the next.
There's a hint of tram-tracking due to its enormous rubber, but the grip is immense.
The F-TYPE's fabulous handling is helped by torque vectoring which not only brakes the inside rear wheel to turn the nose in sharper, but it also brakes the inside front wheel where necessary.
The system is seamless, working with steering angle, yaw sensors and suspension readings to add that incremental 'tuck into' line.
With the angriest engine note currently in production, the Coupe R's supercharged 5.0-litre donk sounds like Jaguar combined an old-school Mustang with a cement-mixer full of cocked pistols.
It's extremely linear in its power and torque delivery, with a sledgehammer punch even from 2000rpm.
It's enough to propel the F-TYPE from 0-100kmh in just 4.2 seconds. If it wasn't for all 680Nm trying to destroy the tarmac, it'd probably be quicker again. Overtaking is almost a matter of point, shoot and hang on.
The ZF 'box is near faultless in operation with very quick upshifts and a much-improved downshift response time.
It's even clever enough to remember the downshift you've requested, giving you the ratio exactly the moment it is able to match the revs and speed.
The steering is ultra accurate (although with a light feel); combined with the brilliant suspension, active electric differential and the 404kW motor, and the F-TYPE is a bona-fide drift machine.
It can be held on the throttle, both wheels smoking with minimal steering adjustment; you do it all with your right foot.
There are carbon-ceramic discs available as a (eye-watering) $17,360 option - hey, at least they come with spectacular yellow callipers - but for our money the standard brakes will do the trick.
Certainly, there was no fear of fading on the long downhill runs on our test route. A track though? We'll report back when that happens.
Yeah, it’s sexy as hell, but as a driver's car, the F-TYPE is downright wonderful. It does exactly what you ask of it and leaves you smiling the whole time.
Did we mention the cackling, popping hilarious exhaust? Tunnel runs await.
ANCAP rating: The F-TYPE hasn't yet been tested by ANCAP or EuroNCAP organisations, thus a rating isn't available.
Safety features: There are six airbags (two front, two side and two curtain) plus traction and stability control, electronic brake assist and brakeforce distribution, plus torque vectoring.
There’s simply no excuse for not having a reversing camera as standard, though. Charging $1725 for it (and front parking sensors) is not going to win Jaguar any favours.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The F-TYPE Coupe R is, without a doubt, the finest vehicle Jaguar has ever produced. Its looks are matched by its performance, and not just in a straight line either.
Its handling and steering are so precise that they are the complete equal of its staggering power. It also happens to sound unbelievable.
With more storage and sexier lines than its convertible sibling, the F-TYPE Coupe R embodies Jaguar's brand values in one of the best packages to have come out of England.
Porsche had better watch out - the big cat has sharpened its claws.
PRICING (excludes on-road costs)
- F-TYPE Coupe - $119,430
- F-TYPE Coupe S - $151,830
- F-TYPE Coupe R - $219,130