2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe: I'd Have the Convertible
December 15, 2014
On its face, the 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe should be a car I covet. It makes a crazy noise, has a beefy V8, lacks practicality and has more power than control.
But it could be louder. It could lack even more practicality. It could have even less control. And it does all of these things in the form of the convertible Jaguar F-Type V8 S and this is the one I'd own.
Let's start this off with a bang: The Convertible looks better. Usually, the convertible version of a car looks awkward at best *cough* 997 and prior 911* and downright wrong most of the time *cough* 997 and prior 911*. But the F Type Convertible is gorgeous. From every angle. Top up or down.
I'm also simply a fan of convertibles over coupes. Whatever stiffness you give up is made up for by the joy of drop-top motoring. The sights, sounds, smells and small bugs that wind up in your hair make every day an adventure. Rainy day? Love that pitter-patter of water on a cloth roof.
"But track days require a roof!" Don't care. Sure, Travis enjoyed his day at the track with the Jag, but he enjoys paying people to let him run around the dirt. Track days are fine, but I'm not going to let two weekends per year keep me from 50 weeks of happiness. PCH with no roof > Driving in circles banging my helmet off a piece of tin.
And speaking of driving experience, the F-Type is just more FUN with no roof. Is it faster? No. To 60, the F-Type R Coupe hit 60 in 3.4 seconds while the drop top took a leisurely 3.6. The coupe ran an 11.8 @ 121.3 mph while the 'vert only managed 11.9 @ 118.9. A 55-horsepower deficit and a 50-pound surplus will do that.
Things get really fun in the handling department, though. That the Coupe pulled a 71.0 mph slalom and 0.98 G skidpad vs. the Convertible's 70.7 mph / 0.92 g isn't the shocking bit, it's the way the cars respond that's different.
The R-Coupe is pointy and grippy and directionally stable. It's easy to get ahead of the car and know exactly what it's going to do in a situation. The convertible has this funny way of loading itself up and then springing into directional changes. Driving it fast is a bit like driving a rally car. You turn in, wait for the front tires to figure out what they're going to do and then get ready to catch the slide. It's a blast.
During testing, our driver said the Convertible was "...tail-happy handful and proved difficult to predict." And offered "initial understeer, then surprise oversteer." On the comments for the Coupe he uses words like "balance," "precise," and "confidence."
You know who uses words like balance and precise? Scientists. You know who uses phrases like "surprise oversteer"? People you want to shoot pool and get into bar fights with.
Our F-Type R Coupe is a phenomenal car from every angle, but I'd happily give up a little bit of that polish for a bucketload more fun, fresh air, sunshine. And an additional $7,000 in my pocket wouldn't hurt, either.
Mike Magrath, Features Editor