In my 20-plus years of being an automotive journalist and driving test review vehicles every week, sometimes these vehicles will disappear from your mind as soon as they leave your driveway for another journalist to sample. This is not the case with this week’s test vehicle the 2015 Jaguar F-Type R coupe has touched both my heart and memory. It is one of the finest sports cars I have ever driven.
Originally debuting as a convertible only, the Coupe takes an already beautiful design to new heights. There are many folks who believe this is best looking vehicle at any price on the road today. I would not disagree. It is absolutely stunning in design from every angle. Jaguar chief designer Ian Callum has crafted something very special here, taking a little bit of the DNA of Jaguars last sports car the E-Type of the 1960’s and early 70’s and combining that with a thoroughly modern design. It is an intoxicating combination.
I could not stop looking at the car. Every time I got out to go in a store to run an errand, I was looking back at this piece of automotive art. People would nod at me as made my way through busy Orlando traffic. After a blistering run on a closed track facility, I then drove to the supermarket. Exiting the F-Type, I bowed to the vehicle as I headed toward the grocery store to buy my items. Nearby on lookers must of thought I was crazy. And crazy I was for the amazing machine that looks like a super model.
It is great that the Jaguar has returned to the two-seater sports car market. I love the XK grand touring machine and its XJS predessor. However the F-Type takes the brand back to its sports car roots. Many younger readers don’t realize the Jaguar has built lots of sports cars in addition to the legendary XKE. Looking back at the company’s history, remember the racing D type and the XKSS from the 50’s and limited production super car the XJ200 from the late 1980’s.
The F-Type is an excellent alternative to Porsche’s iconic 911. The vehicle brings style, luxury, and a huge helping of performance to the sports car marketplace. My top of line R Coupe receives the luscious 5.0 liter supercharged V-8 first seen in the limited production XKR-S with 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque on tap. The F-Type blasts effortlessly from a standstill to 60 MPH in 4 seconds flat. The power for all Jaguar F-Types is handled by an outstanding 8-speed automatic transmission. Shifting with paddle shifters is super quick and breeze to operate. Fuel economy is not bad rated, 16 MPG city and 23 MPG highway.
Taming some of that horsepower are electronic aids such as an active rear differential and variable-effort steering that enhance the sports car experience. For the 2016 model year, all wheel drive will become standard of the R Coupe. This is great news for those who want a year driver in a 4-season climate but also for performance lovers because it will make this cat even quicker, putting the 550 HP to ground on all four wheels. Fans of the smokey burnout and steering with the throttle on the track, run out and get your RWD F-Type R before they disappear.
Lets talk about the exhaust. Push a button on the center console you’ll turn on the active exhaust system or you put the vehicle into Dynamic Mode it will also active the system. You’ll not only hear that wonderful V-8 on acceleration, but the cat will pop and burble when decelerating. It’s enough to make a grown man cry with joy
Inside the F Type you will find a very driver-orientated cockpit. A wide console even offers a left hand grip for the passenger. The Coupe roof is high enough to accommodate tall drivers. Peering over the beautiful long hood, the driver is treated to a large, visually sharper TFT display between the two gauges, with orange paddle shifters, a start button, and metal almost aircraft like design Dynamic Mode selector. The infotainment touch screen’s simple interface conveys what you want to know, simply and easily.
The beautifully executed interior boasts stitched leather throughout, including the headliner in coupes. The sports seats are outstanding as its standard Meriden Sound System with 12 speakers and 770 watts of power. Unlike some other world class systems you don’t have crank the volume of your favorite music to fully appreciate the range and dynamics of the system plus giving both the driver and passenger their own surround sound fields.
The price of entry into the F Type Coupe has quite a range. F-Type Coupe models start at about $65,000 for the base model, jumping to around $77,000 for the F-Type S, and then to just under $100,000 for the F-Type R . For 2016 the availability of all wheel drive and the addition of manual gear box on certain models will not only increase its appeal.
The 2015 Jaguar F Type R Coupe is indeed Thundering Lightning that reward you ever time you drive it or just pull up a chair and stare at its sheer beauty.