2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe: A Weekend in My Dream Car
August 22, 2014
I've lusted after the 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe since day one. The convertible looked great, but when the coupe was introduced at last year's L.A. Auto Show, it took my breath away. The F-Type came out in 2014, but if I'm honest, my love for this E-Type-inspired design is deep-seated in my childhood. My father, who owned a few E-Types throughout the years, would always point them out me and say, "See that, son? That's a Jaguar E-Type, one of the most beautiful cars ever made. Look at the feline character lines, the way it flows." Someone in the Jaguar design studios must've met my father too, because in person even more than in photos, the F-Type is a vivid, modern representation of the artful form that defined the iconic E-Type.
Although I've never driven an E-Type, I did finally getting some time in our long-term F-Type last weekend. I knew ahead of time that driving a car I held in such high regard could be dangerous though. My fragile, childhood dreams were hanging in the balance. What if it didn't live up to my expectations? What if my dream car turned out to be rubbish? Surprise, it's great.
For starters, I love the way this thing sounds. The exhaust is hilariously entertaining in any gear and at any throttle position. With the windows up, there's a small hint of supercharger whine inside the cabin, but not enough to drown out the fantastic exhaust and especially not when you've got the active exhaust engaged. At low RPM it's deep and guttural; at wide-open-throttle it's crisp, it growls and resonates off nearby buildings; and on deceleration it crackles and pops, like gunfire. Of all possible cars to drive through an active warzone, I recommend the F-Type the least. And so you don't have to imagine it:
After my initial childlike fascination with the exhaust subsided, I decided to show the F-Type some curves. I put several hundred miles on the odometer in 3 days, most of which were in the canyons and all of which were fantastic. There's a neutral cornering balance (at least until you turn off traction control and bury your right foot in the loud pedal) with no perceptible body roll. The F-Type is flat through corners, with laser-precise steering, which makes it exceedingly easy to drive fast.
Whether I was dashing through the switchback mountain roads, stopped at a traffic light or fueling up, the Jag garnered more attention than almost any car I've ever driven. When I drove our Corvette to Monterey a few months ago, I thought it elicited a Social Ownership Experience, but it doesn't hold a candle to the F-Type Coupe. Blame the gargling exhaust or the Firesand Metallic paint, but this thing turns heads everywhere. Thumbs up from cyclists, requests for pictures in parking lots, enthusiastic waves from other Jag owners, and even the occasional "Awesome car man!" were directed it's way around every corner.
The F-Type (especially in coupe form) is one of the best looking cars ever made, and the stunning design is reinforced by a magnificent driving experience. Undoubtedly, the next 11 months of testing will cause some of the bloom to fall off the rose and Edmunds staff will find something to complain about (ride stiffness or seat comfort, blah blah blah) but for me, for now, the dream remains unblemished.
Travis Langness, Associate Editor @ 6,145 miles