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2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe - First Drive

Jag reinvents gorgeous

Greg Emmerson
Apr 8, 2014 SHARE

Jaguar F-Type Coupe Details:

  • Looks to die for | Incredible performance | Flagship R model
  • 0-60mph in 4sec | 550hp 5.0L supercharged engine or 340hp or 380hp V6 supercharged engines
  • 8-speed auto | Torque vectoring by Braking | Carbon-ceramic brakes available for first time
  • All-aluminum structure | 80% stiffer than Convertible
  • Prices from $65000 | Coupe is $4000 less than equivalent Convertible models

2015 jaguar f type coupe top view 03 Photo 2/131   |   2015 Jaguar F Type Coupe Top View 03

Electronics: Adaptive Dynamics suspension | e-differential | Adaptive aerodynamics

+ Pros: It's gorgeous | Sounds incredible | Goes like stink | Unbeatable at the price

- Cons: Not as light as you'd expect | Trunk space still limited

Let's get something out of the way first: The F-Type Coupe drives as well as it looks. So if, like us, you're thinking "Screw the reviews, I have to get one," you won't be disappointed when behind the wheel.

So feel free to admire the Jaguar photos, check out the stats and go online to configure your new car. After all, with the F-Type V6 model starting at $65000, you won't find a sports car that looks this good for less money anywhere.

With that said, if you'd like to discover more about the new Jaguar, please read on...

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Outwardly, the Coupe is very similar to the F-Type Convertible, but a few details distinguish them. For starters, it's $4000 less than the equivalent Convertible model. It's also the stiffest Jaguar ever built, and the first to receive optional carbon-ceramic brakes. For the first time, the Coupe gets the 550hp R specification to create a flagship model, but don't assume there won't be a similar R Convertible in the near future if you prefer the sun on your scalp.

2014 Jaguar F-Type V8S vs. 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51

Fitting a solid roof not only looks spectacular but inevitably increased the aluminium bodyshell's torsional rigidity. In the process, Jaguar engineers made things more challenging by wanting to retain the pillarless styling. As a result, they ran an aluminum-alloy beam from the A- to D-pillars, reportedly making it 80% stiffer than the Convertible. Of course, it's not like the soft-top was wobbly. In fact, we were impressed by its overall finesse and composure, so the stiffer F-Type Coupe is simply a bonus.

Despite its aluminium construction, the Jaguar isn't especially lightweight at 3638 lb for the V8 model. It compares to 3538 lb for the 560hp Porsche 911 Turbo S, for example, which combines steel and aluminium in its construction. The Coupe's weight is very similar to the V8 S Convertible, which is either a benefit or disadvantage of designing the car as a soft-top from the beginning.

We were somewhat surprised to discover the F-Type Coupe still suffers from a lack of useful storage space. Rather than extending to the front seats, trunk space is truncated by the wide central bulkhead also found in the Convertible. Engineering a new structure for the Coupe was a big ask for the small British company, but it means you can't reach back to access your belongings.

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Let's not dwell on the shortcomings, though. The F-Type Coupe is a triumph of design and engineering, providing us with one of the greatest driving experiences we've ever had, in combination with some of the best roads in Europe.

If we're going to nit-pick, we found the ride quality in the V6S rather fussy. The center-exit exhaust also droned slightly under medium load. However, we haven't driven this version of the Convertible to know if it was a common trait.

Aside from that, the 380hp V6S was a pleasure to drive. As with the R Coupe, which exhibited neither the ride nor noise problems, the steering was perfectly weighted and the brakes well matched to the impressive performance.

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If you didn't know there was a V8 option, the V6S would be all the car you need. It has the same gorgeous Jaguar aesthetics, with no sign of penny pinching. Priced at $77k, it's probably the car we'd choose since it's a significant saving over the R model but gets you from A to B in equal style.

All models are equipped with the excellent ZF eight-speed auto trans that gets paddle shifters for spirited driving. This Jaguar responds instantly to driver inputs and always knows what gear you need. With talk of a manual transmission on the horizon, this is a great solution until that becomes available.

We did notice the bite point of both the brakes and accelerator were set particularly high in the V6S pedal travel. Most of the work was done in the first inch or so of travel, initially making it difficult to modulate them. The result was jerky progress before you were accustomed to the action, but it does make the car surprisingly responsive on first acquaintance.

The V6S also gets Adaptive Dynamics and the e-diff as standard equipment, giving it a very sporty nature. The diff helped reduce understeer and increase traction. It's also infinitely adjustable, giving you the confidence to turn-in at high speed and be rewarded with superb stability.

Moving up to the $99000 R Coupe, you also get Torque Vectoring by Braking as standard - a technology that will apply the inside brakes to reduce understeer. This was graphically demonstrated on a wet kart track where we were invited to corner too fast and witness the car pull itself around the turn. It's a remarkable feat that will undoubtedly save a lot of crumpled metal on the road.

Additionally, the R has revised suspension settings, re-tuned with faster acting dampers and 4% stiffer springs. While this might not seem much, when combined with the stiff body, it produced a remarkable compliant ride that exhibited almost no body roll. Its "Normal" mode was sufficient for most journeys, although activating "Dynamic" mode tightened it up when you hit hyper-speed. This gave additional control to the driver without ever becoming spine-jarring.

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In addition to the suspension, the Dynamic button can also affect steering weight, throttle response and gear shift speed. It also opens the exhaust valve, although we have to confess to driving with that button pressed at all times. The bark under acceleration and pops on the over-run were inspirational, especially in confined canyons, tunnels, narrow streets, etc.

Rather disconcertingly, on a particularly rhythmic section of Spanish country road, we did notice the exhaust "tune" was repetitive.

You imagine the pops and bangs are a function of a wide-open exhaust, but with the precise nature of direct injection, that can't really be the case. In reality, an ECU program allows unburnt fuel to ignite in the exhaust, which generates the sounds. As such, it's repeatable, which alters your perception slightly but didn't prevent us from enjoying the Jaguar exhaust note.

You imagine the pops and bangs are a function of a wide-open exhaust, but with the precise nature of direct injection, that can't really be the case. In reality, an ECU program allows unburnt fuel to ignite in the exhaust, which generates the sounds. As such, it's repeatable, which alters your perception slightly but didn't prevent us from enjoying it.

With 550hp at your disposal, the R Coupe is a weapon on the road or track. In fact, we had the opportunity to drive it on the Motorland circuit in Spain, which was a uniquely challenging experience. The 3.3-mile track has a 1.05-mile back straight that allowed the Jag to reach ridiculous speeds, but its new carbon-ceramic brakes made light work of the hairpin at the other end.

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With almost every turn located over a blind brow, we relied on these composite rotors and their multi-piston calipers to keep us out of the gravel traps. Fortunately, the Motorland circuit has lots of run-off, and Jaguar provided expert instructors to guide us around each lap, because attempting to assess a 550hp, $99000 sports car in seven laps at a challenging and unfamiliar circuit required every ounce of your concentration.

Although the CCM brakes were phenomenally powerful, we found the slightly smaller diameter (15" front rotors rather than 15.7") steel brakes to be highly effective on the road. They were easier to modulate than the V6S anchors and never hinted at overheating, despite the ludicrously twisty roads.

With so much power, we found that very little throttle input was required. The car fired out of turns with only a few degrees of accelerator movement. Rarely did you get to bury the pedal into the carpet because you needed to be back on the brakes for the next turn. In these conditions, the R Coupe proved itself as an incredibly capable and entertaining sports car, while on the freeways it still managed to be a relaxing grand tourer.

Above 70mph, the active rear spoiler would raise to improve aero downforce by 260 lb. Unlike the Convertible's full-length wing, only the lower section of the tailgate lifts, reminding us somewhat of the Chrysler Crossfire (dare we say it!). It disappears when you drop below 50mph, but it's a dramatic reminder to the driver and other road users that you mean business.

If we could go back and repeat the comparison test we conducted in EC 2/14 between the 2014 F-Type V8S Convertible and the Corvette Stingray Z51, we think the result will now be very different. Rather than the Vette taking a narrow win, we expect the Jag will romp home this time...

2015 jaguar f type coupe passenger side rear quarter view 22 Photo 17/131   |   2015 Jaguar F Type Coupe Passenger Side Rear Quarter View 22

The F-Type Coupe goes on sale about now in three guises. There will be the $65000, 340hp, 5.1sec, 161mph V6 model. There's also the $77000, 380hp, 4.8sec, 171mph V6S. And finally there's the $99000, 550hp, 4sec, 186mph R. We expect the range will also be filled with a V8S in the future and don't be surprised if we see a 2.0T four-cylinder model before the end of the F-Type's life cycle.

All models can be equipped with a panoramic glass roof that gives the cabin a different ambience and its full-length black glass alters the exterior styling.

Jaguar predicts a 60/40% split in sales in favour of the Coupe over the Convertible, with 40% of its sales going to the R model. It also hopes to maintain its 80% conquest rate among F-Type buyers, who are helping to make Jaguar the fastest growing luxury brand in the US, with a sales increase of 41% last year. With some remarkable machinery coming from the British manufacturer, such as the new XE competitor to BMW 3 Series around the corner, as well as the C-X17 SUV on the way, we can only expect Jaguar's success to continue.

2015 jaguar f type coupe front seats 33 Photo 18/131   |   2015 Jaguar F Type Coupe Front Seats 33

Tech Spec
2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe

Layout
front-engine, RWD

Engine
5000cc V8 32v, Roots-type twin-vortex supercharger, two air-to-liquid intercoolers, SGDI spray-guided direct injection, DIVCT variable cam timing, Active Sports Exhaust

2015 jaguar f type coupe exhaust tip 31 Photo 22/131   |   2015 Jaguar F Type Coupe Exhaust Tip 31

Drivetrain
ZF eight-speed Quickshift automatic transmission, electronic Active differential

Brakes
optional six-piston Vivid Yellow monoblock calipers, 15.7" Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) rotors f, four-piston, 15" r

Suspension
Adaptive Dynamics damping, stiffer coil springs

Wheels & Tires
optional 20x9" f, 20x10.5" r forged Storm wheels, 255/35 ZR20 f, 295/30 ZR20 r Pirelli P Zero tires

Exterior
aluminum structure, black trim, anodized aluminum window frames, composite trunk, adaptive rear spoiler, "J Blade" LED running lights, LED tail lights, optional carbon fiber front splitter, side vents, mirror caps, hood vents, engine cover

2015 jaguar f type coupe forged storm wheels 18 Photo 23/131   |   2015 Jaguar F Type Coupe Forged Storm Wheels 18

Performance

Max power
550hp at 6500rpm

Max torque
502 lb-ft at 3500rpm

0-60mph
4sec

2015 jaguar f type coupe taillight 28 Photo 24/131   |   2015 Jaguar F Type Coupe Taillight 28

Top Speed
186mph (limited)

Weight
3638 lb

Economy
TBC

MSRP
$99000

2015 jaguar f type coupe driver side rear quarter view 36 Photo 28/131   |   2015 Jaguar F Type Coupe Driver Side Rear Quarter View 36
2015 jaguar f type coupe center console 34 Photo 32/131   |   2015 Jaguar F Type Coupe Center Console 34
2015 jaguar f type coupe trunk lid 30 Photo 36/131   |   2015 Jaguar F Type Coupe Trunk Lid 30
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By Greg Emmerson
1075 Articles

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