Jaguar is doing things a bit backwards in the sports car world. Manufacturers usually release new performance vehicles as coupes and then follow up with a drop-top version. Not Jaguar. When the 2014 F-Type appeared it came exclusively as a gorgeous roadster.
|Engine: 5.0-liter supercharged V8 with 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque.
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.
Fuel economy: 16 MPG city, 23 MPG highway. 16.5 MPG observed average.
Price: F-Type R Coupe starts at $99,925 after destination charges. $107,275 as tested.
The decision to begin the F-Type’s life as a convertible makes sense if you remember that it’s the spiritual successor in terms of performance and style to the legendary E-Type, one of the sexiest roadsters of all time. But the E-Type is also gloriously beautiful as a coupe. And guess what? So is the all-new 2015 F-Type.
Concept Car Styling
When the C-X16 concept car first appeared, many wanted it to be built. Well, here it is, style-wise at least. The coupe version of the F-Type may not be much more than a sloping back roof added to the roadster, but isn’t that enough? I personally think this is the better -ooking version of the two cars. It retains all the styling cues that make me mad about the roadster like the LED headlight accents, narrow-slit taillights, 20-inch wheels and an offset, quad tip exhaust. But somehow, it’s even more charming in this form.
Get the Flash Player to see this player.
Like the roadster, the coupe comes standard with a 3.0-liter supercharged six-cylinder engine developing 340 hp in base form or 380 hp in the S Coupe. Step up to the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 though and things are a bit different. Unlike the V8 S Roadster that only makes a paltry 495 hp, the F-Type R Coupe borrows the blown V8 engine found in the XK-RS to produce a whopping 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque.
Paired to a standard eight-speed automatic transmission, Jaguar claims the R Coupe can rocket from 0 to 60 MPH in four seconds, or is 0.2 seconds faster than the soft top V8 S. Find a grippy, open stretch of tarmac and those numbers seem easily attainable. Thanks to the big supercharged V8, the F-Type has so much torque that when it does gain traction, it launches for the horizon. Otherwise, it easily turns the rear tires into a cloud of smoke that might make Cheech and Chong blush. And in the wet, the R Coupe skates around madly on its fat tires like a hubcap-wielding Tonya Harding.
SEE ALSO: 2014 Jaguar F-Type Review – Video
Speaking of tires, the R Coupe uses the same 255 mm width tires up front and 295mm tires out back as the V8 S roadster. Unlike the roadster, an optional Carbon Ceramic Matrix braking system is available for the R Coupe as a $12,000 option that includes unique black and silver wheels although the model I drove didn’t come quite that well equipped.
As I found with the V8 S roadster, the F-Type handles very well. Steering feel and precision might not rival the best from Germany, but the chassis and tires let it hold on in corners impressively. Take an on-ramp with steroid-like aggression and the car will hold-on much longer than feedback through the steering wheel would suggest.
Oh That Sound
Of course handling, speed and looks are all secondary to the real standout feature of the F-Type R Coupe; the sound signature. Like every recent Jag sporting the supercharged 5.0, the R Coupe is loud and mean. The V8 eruption that occurs when dynamic mode is engaged isn’t an old school, bassy V8 sound like what you would hear from something like a Camaro or Challenger. Instead, the F-Type produces more of a manic scream than a low down growl. It’s not a high pitch screech like a Ferrari either, but more like a sharp bark. Jump off the gas at just the right moment and you’ll hear the exhaust popping with the same sort of purpose as an M-80 firecracker.
Piloting one of the world’s greatest noisemakers does come at a price: fuel consumption. Officially rated at 16 MPG in the city and 23 MPG on the highway, high fuel bills for the R Coupe shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. During my week with the car I averaged 16.5 MPG, but you can blame that on how often I explored the rev range.
More Space, Less Visibility
As a coupe, the F-Type still only offers two seats and that means even if space is more-or-less the same in front, cargo grows dramatically. The lift-gate trunk can now hold 11 cubic foot of gear compared to the mere seven in the convertible’s boot. Jaguar claims that’s enough for two sets of golf clubs, but I had to fiddle with my bag arrangement just to get a single set in. And then there are the massive C pillars and tiny back window. As stylish as these features make the exterior of the car look, they also produce absolutely horrible driver sight lines.
SEE ALSO: 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe Review
Anyone who has been in an F-Type roadster will find the interior of the coupe instantly familiar. Aside from the flat bottom steering wheel and optional glass roof, it’s business as usual. Highlights I’m still fond of are the center console switchgear, the leather used on the steering wheel and the bucket seats. The F-type’s navigation and audio displays on the other hand still seem out of date and downmarket for a six-figure sports coupe.
After destination charges but before Uncle Sam collects his pound of flesh, you need to spend at least $99,925 on one of these cars and yes, that means they will all set you back six figures. For example, the car I drove costs $107,275. While the base price is $7,000 more than the F-Type V8 S Roadster, it’s a worthwhile increase. Nothing else on the market comes with the power, style and sound of the F-Type for anywhere near this money. It’s one of those cars that garners as much attention parked as it does driving down the road. The F-Type, especially in R Coupe form, is destined to be a future classic.