By Jonathan Crouch
Back in 2014, Jaguar described this F-TYPE Coupe as the most capable and involving car it had ever built. A fixed-top version of the F-TYPE Convertible, this model cemented the Coventry brand's reputation as an ever more credible rival to Porsche, reviving memories of some of the company's legendary classic coupes. It handles. It goes. And it delivers.
2dr coupe (2.0 petrol / 3.0 V6 supercharged petrol / 5.0 V8 petrol)
The F-TYPE Coupe, launched early in 2014, was arguably the most significant car the Jaguar marque had made since the Sixties. Back then, buyers expected legendary things from this Coventry company. Cars like the C-Type and the XK120, 140 and 150 models were fresh in the memory, paving the way for the E-Type sportscar that arguably represented this maker's greatest hour. Sadly, that car proved to represent a pinnacle of performance it would take Jaguar another fifty years to replicate. But replicate it they finally did when open-topped versions of this F-TYPE were launched in 2013. Here, at last, were signs that Jaguar could again make a proper sports car, even if the finished product still retained elements of the laid-back Grand Touring GT philosophy more familiar from the brand's modern era performance cars.
What, commentators like us wondered at the F-TYPE's original introduction, would a more focused fixed-top version be like, a stiffer, sportier, even more dynamic thing? This Coupe model was our answer. It's rigid, rakish and revs like a race car, whether you prefer V6 or V8 power. Depending on model, you can choose manual or Quickshift automatic transmission and either rear or All-Wheel Drive. This is, in short, a very complete, very special machine indeed. A 2.0-litre 300PS four cylinder model was introduced for the 2017 model year. The F-TYPE Coupe sold in its original form until Autumn 2019, when it was heavily facelifted. It's the pre-facelift 2014-2019-era models we're going to look at here.
What You Get
'Engaging, precise, intuitive and alive - the definitive sports coupe'. That's the way that Jaguar describes this car and for once, the marketing rhetoric isn't too far from the mark, underlining the Coventry company's determination to go its own way and offer something different. As with the Convertible model, the shape's an interesting one, defined once more by what are described as 'heartlines'.
You get a dramatic, cabin-rearward, sweeping roof profile. Providing an unbroken silhouette, it aims to highlight the visual drama of the tapered cabin nestled between the powerful rear haunches. There's also a lovely aluminium-finished side window graphic that's there to accentuate the compactness of the car and the roof profile. If you've opted for an AWD version, distinguishing touches include a deeper bonnet power bulge and more distinctive vents. Details like these add the finishing touches to what is a unique piece of penmanship, one that Jaguar's Director of Design Ian Callum says he's inspired by every time he sees it.
As in the Convertible version, the two front occupants are separated by a prominent grab handle, which sweeps down from the top of the centre console and on automatic models wraps around behind a joystick-shaped SportShift gear selector: in contrast to other Jaguar models, there's no rotary gearshift controller here. Good. It's all symptomatic of the design team's determination to create something very different. An intimate place where luxury is not allowed to supersede purpose.
Out back, the F-TYPE Coupe gives you substantially more luggage space than you'd get in its convertible counterpart - up to 407-litres, as opposed to 196-litres. That's a bit less than the combined front-and-rear cargo area offered by a rival Porsche Cayman, probably because of the fact that due to the location of the rear axle, the boot here has to remain quite shallow. That said, it's considerably bigger than that provided by a Porsche 911 - and easily large enough for two sets of golf clubs.
What You Pay
F-TYPE Coupe prices start at around £19,500 for a 3.0-litre 335PS '14-plate standard model, rising to around £37,750 for a '19-plate car. For the 375PS 3.0 V6 S, you're looking at prices starting at around £24,750 rising to around £39,250 for an '18-plate car. Add around £1,750 more for AWD. For the four cylinder 2.0-litre model introduced in 2016, prices start at around £27,000 for a '16-plate car, rising to around £39,000 for a 19-plate model. For the 5.0 V8 R version, prices start at around £26,250 for a '13-plate car, rising to around £49,000 for an '18-plate model. Add £1,000 more for AWD; you'll need it.
What to Look For
Most F-TYPE Coupe owners in our survey seemed very satisfied, but we did come across a few issues. There have been reports that the rear differential can leak oil due to faulty seals. If this is repaired, make sure the coupling hasn't been over-tightened as this can ruin the diff completely, first signalled by worrying noises from the rear of the car.
Some owners have also found the valves in the active exhaust system can stick open. This can require a new back box, normally fitted under warranty. Original F-Types were susceptible to small stones getting between the window seal and the glass. The rising centre air vent and pop-out door handles have also caused issues for a few owners, and a few owners have reported a few squeaks and rattles. Otherwise, it's just the usual things - scratched alloys etc. And obviously insist on a fully stamped-up service history.
(approx based on a 2015 Jaguar F-TYPE Coupe 3.0 V6) A headlamp bulb is about £4. An oil filter is around £30. A front brake disc is in the £98-£185 bracket. The cost for front brake pads varies quite a lot - anything from around £38 - but obviously more for top Brembo pads. A wiper blade is around £8. An air filter is around £60.
On the Road
Like any true sports car, this one looks poised and ready, even when it's standing still. 'Drive me', it seems to say as you approach and the door handle springs out to greet you. 'Start me' it seems to shout once you're enveloped in the figure-hugging sports seats and angled towards the little copper-coloured starter button. 'Rev me', it seems to insist as you fire the engine and a spectacular set of aural fireworks begin.
Even in the 340PS V6 model thanks to 450NM of torque, sixty from rest is just 5.1s away en route to 161mph, figures you can improve to 4.8s and 171mph by opting for the V6S version. A 2.0-litre 300PS four cylinder model was introduced for the 2017 model year. Whatever your choice of engine, there's a choice of either a slick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission or Jaguar's rapid-fire Quickshift auto gearbox with wheel-mounted paddle shifters and eight closely stacked sporting ratios, optimised to constantly keep the supercharged engines in the sweet spot of the power band.
If you're considering the V6 F-TYPE alternatives, there's certainly a strong case for upgrading to the V6S version. One of the key advantages of that model is that, providing you're happy with an auto gearbox, you can also get the option of All-Wheel-Drive. This torque-on-demand system works with a clever IDD 'Intelligent Driveline Dynamics' strategy to exploit the maximum performance potential of all that extra traction while still keeping this car's natural rear-wheel-drive character.
Where you'd think AWD would be really helpful would be in controlling the awesome potential of the 550PS 5.0-litre supercharged V8-powered F-TYPE R model. And so it proves. This flagship variant puts out a prodigious 680Nm of torque, which is one reason why there's no manual gearbox option at this level. As a result, 60mph is achievable in around four seconds en route to a top speed that you'd find would be limited to 186mph, were you able to achieve it on a deserted autobahn or your own private runway.
The F-TYPE Coupe took all that was great about the Convertible version and built on it. So you get a stiffer chassis, a more affordable asking price and more power in the top V8 R model. The result is a very special car indeed. Even if you can only stretch to a V6 version. After all, compared to a rival Porsche Cayman S, Jaguar brought us a machine that was arguably better looking, unarguably better equipped, more powerful and endowed with a greater sense of occasion, inside and out. While it won't match the Porsche's delicacy of response at the limit, the F-TYPE Coupe got its chief competitor's measure in enough areas that count to really give the German brand something to worry about.
We don't think it'll suit many who associate performance motoring from this brand with XJS or XK models. Buckle such people up behind the wheel and they're liable to be a little taken aback. No matter. Jaguar needed to find a younger, more demanding, hungrier audience for its sports cars. It needed to convince people that here and now in this market at this time in history, it could be great again. Mission accomplished.