2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe (5.0L V8 Supercharged 8-speed Automatic)
Driven On 7/6/2014
The Jaguar F-Type R Coupe oozes raw sports car appeal. From the sharp yet sensual styling, to the raucous over-the-top exhaust noises, it grabs the attention of casual observers and car fanatics alike. To its credit, the F-Type also delivers pulse-racing performance to match its bravado. An emotional purchase, for sure.
PerformanceAn overabundance of power from the 550-hp supercharged V8 crammed into a fairly compact sports coupe makes for entertaining antics behind the wheel. It's not as fast or as nimble as some other sports cars, but it is undeniably fun.
In Dynamic mode, the F-Type R Coupe sprints to 60 mph in a scant 3.8 seconds. Under hard acceleration, the engine roars with ferocity and shifts are brutally abrupt. Even without launch control, it will leave the line cleanly.
Stopping from 60 mph required only 106 feet, tracking straight with minimal nosedive. In full panic stops, the ABS system creates a lot of noise and vibration, but distances and pedal feel were very consistent after several runs.
Steering effort may be too heavy for some in Dynamic mode, but it can be reduced in the custom settings. Feedback is somewhat lacking, but the precision and quickness make the coupe feel as if it's an extension of the driver.
The F-Type R's biggest handling liability is its explosive power, but properly modulated it can carve through turns with uncanny precision. If you do feed in extra power, it reacts with a poised and predictable (and fun!) powerslide.
In normal driving with the 8-speed transmission in full automatic mode the F-Type places few demands on the driver, making it as easy as most luxury coupes. The low nose does have a tendency to scrape on most driveways, though.
ComfortAs the performance-focused model in the F-Type lineup, some concessions had to be made. The harsh ride, stiff seats and loud engine and exhaust narrow its appeal to only truly sport-oriented drivers. If you're looking for more comfort, the lower-level V6 models will be more appropriate.
The standard 14-way adjustable R model performance seats are well shaped and supportive for a variety of body types. The stiff padding and lack of ventilation do compromise long-distance comfort, though.
The R's suspension is stiffer than other F-Types, and it gets stiffer still when set to Dynamic mode. Some may find it objectionable, but performance-oriented drivers will likely find it a suitable tradeoff for the sharp handling.
Even in its quietest setting, the exhaust and engine noise can be boisterous. For sports-car fans, it's perfect. On the highway in top gear, engine noise drops to a low purr. Tire noise is ever-present, but wind noise is silenced.
InteriorAs the top-of-the-line F-Type, the R model's full-leather interior and aggressive design give the cabin an upscale demeanor. Details like thick toggle switches and airvents that rise from the dash further enhance the special look and feel. Space is at a premium, though.
Basic controls are well placed and easy to operate. All but the plasticky steering wheel buttons have a hefty and purposeful feel. The infotainment touchscreen is a bit out-of-date compared to rivals, but it functions well enough.
The bottoms of the doors are high enough to avoid scraping on curbs, but their length and thickness require some contortions in tight parking spaces. Still, it's not that much more difficult than most other sport coupes.
Passengers taller than six feet may find the F-Type confining. Average-size adults will call it snug, but in a good, tailored-to-fit kind of way. Without question some other rivals are much more accomodating.
Thick roof pillars reduce forward visibility, forcing the driver to bob to and fro to look through tight turns. Rear visibility is hampered by the small rear window. A rearview camera with rear cross-traffic is an available option.
The narrow and shallow 11-cu-ft trunk means you'll have to pack light. Most standard golf bags will not fit, but several carry-on bags can. Interior storage is also somewhat restrictive, but cupholders are larger than average.
ValueThe F-Type lineup has a price advantage over most competing sport coupes, at least regarding the lower-level V6 models. Prices for the V8 versions kick up to the six-figure mark. The performance involved here, and the curb appeal of the F-Type, make these prices easier to stomach, though.
Build Quality (vs. $)
This leather lined cabin looks and feels great, as do the numerous control knobs and switches. Some interior elements lack the solidity of German competitors, but on the whole the F-Type is as pleasingly substantial as any other Jaguar.
The R Coupe is the most generously equipped of F-Types, with performance and premium features that are optional on supporting models and competitors. The $2,100 Vision Pack is the only way to add a much needed rearview camera.
The as-tested-price of $103,425 may seem exorbitant, but compared to performance-competitive rivals like a Porsche 911 Carrera S or an Audi R8, it's a relative bargain.
EPA estimates of 18 mpg Combined (16 City/23 Highway) split the difference between the 911 and the R8. We achieved 23.7 mpg on our highway-heavy evaluation loop, but in our usual spirited driving the average dropped to below 15 mpg.
Jaguar's 4-year/50,000-mile basic and powertrain warranties are typical for upscale sports cars in this category.
The first scheduled maintenance is free, but no prepaid plan is offered (an option on Porsches and Audis). Roadside assistance is included for 4 years/50,000 miles.
Fun To DriveNovice sports-car drivers and seasoned racers alike will find the F-Type R Coupe wildly entertaining. Stability control is adequately protective and can be adjusted for driving-skill level. Unlike many sports cars, it puts the driver -- not a computer -- in control.
The F-Type is one of the most engaging sports cars available. It may not be the fastest around a race track, but it's certainly fun. You can dial back the explosive engine/exhaust notes with a button, making for a less obnoxious arrival.
From a styling standpoint, the F-Type Coupe is one of the sexiest cars out there. The sound and fury only add to this appeal. It's a head-turner in any setting, so get used to the attention.
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