Jaguar's F-TYPE Coupe gets a sleeker look and swaps its supercharged V6 for an even more potent V8. Jonathan Crouch reports.
Ten Second Review
Jaguar describes this improved F-TYPE Coupe as the most capable and involving car it's ever built. It's sleeker, faster and classier, cementing 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.
What, commentators like us wondered at the Jaguar F-TYPE Convertible's original introduction in 2013, would a more focused fixed-top version be like, a stiffer, sportier, even more dynamic thing? This Coupe model, first launched early in 2014, gave us our answer. It was rigid, rakish and revved like a race car. Well now, Jaguar claims to have made it faster, better looking and even more desirable. Still want that Porsche 718 Cayman S? Try one of these first.
Jaguar has now pensioned off its 3.0-litre supercharged V6, but instead, offers F-TYPE buyers who don't want the entry-level 2.0-litre four cylinder 300PS unit a new 450PS version of its classic supercharged V8. This fiery powerplant develops a prodigious 580Nm of torque from just 2,500rpm. If that's not enough, the F-TYPE R continues at the top of the range with a 575PS version of the same V8. In terms of drive formats, the four cylinder model comes only with rear wheel drive; the 450PS V8 can be ordered with either rear wheel drive or AWD; and the F-TYPE R comes only with AWD. Got all that? I'll be asking questions later.
Personally, I usually like my automotive sound effects to come from the engine rather than, as here, the tailpipes at the back but even I have to admit that this car hums an addictive tune. Whichever variant you choose, performance is striking. Even the feeblest 300PS model makes 60mph from rest in just 5.7s, while the 450PS V8 models make 60mph in just 4.4s on the way to 177mph. Finally, the F-TYPE R covers off that sprint in just 3.5s en route to 186mph. Across the range, you get an all-aluminium chassis, double wishbone front suspension and a multi-link-suspended rear.
All F-TYPES feature auto gearboxes (the manual previously available in the four cylinder car has been discontinued). Changes to the Quickshift auto transmissions in both the F-TYPE R and the 450PS V8 models promise a more engaging driving experience. The F-TYPE R specifically offers even faster, crisper gear changes when the driver commands shifts manually via the steering wheel-mounted paddles or the SportShift gear selector. Both upshifts and downshifts are more immediate and give an even more connected and responsive feel.
Design and Build
The visual changes made to this improved model are significant, centring mostly on a front end now embellished by super-slim pixel LED headlights that blend into the 'liquid metal' surfacing' of the restyled clamshell bonnet. There's also a new front bumper and a subtly enlarged grille that aim to deliver more visual impact and presence. And the slender rear lights have been revised too, featuring an LED chicane signature inspired by the Jaguar I-PACE. We still think that visually, the F-TYPE Coupe bodyshape works really well, with its short wheelbase, power-packed set of rear haunches and elegant roof line. It manages to make the Porsche Cayman seem rather hall-of-mirrors in its proportioning and while it's not as instantly beautiful as an Aston Martin Vantage, it looks as if it would thoroughly work the Vantage over in a bar fight.
The interior hasn't changed much, continuing to combine traditional Jaguar craftsmanship with rich, contemporary materials such as Windsor Leather and satin-finish Noble Chrome. Beautiful details include monogram stitch patterns in the seats and door trims, Jaguar Leaper motifs in the headrests, and subtle 'Jaguar Est.1935' markings on the centre console finisher, glovebox release button surround, and seatbelt guides. The boot remains relatively big, giving the F-TYPE Coupe genuine GT potential. You'll get 315-litres in up to the parcel shelf and 407-litres to the window line. A 72-litre fuel tank gives a realistic cruising range of over 340 miles.
Market and Model
This Coupe F-TYPE bodystyle will save you around £5,500 in comparison to its Convertible counterpart, which means that prices start at around £54,000 for the base 4 cylinder 300PS version with base trim - or around £47,000 if you want the same engine with ritzier 'R-Dynamic' trim. An 'R-Dynamic'-spec 450PS 'P450' V8 model costs around £60,000 - or around £65,000 with AWD. The 'P575' top R Coupe costs over £97,000.
All F-TYPE models get full-LED headlights, plus a sophisticated 'Touch Pro' infotainment system which includes online services such as real-time traffic and live weather reports. Even the entry-level variant gets sports suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels and sports seats with leather and suede-cloth. And buyers can also expect features like USB, auxiliary and iPod connections, a rear parking aid, climate control, six-way electrically adjustable sports seats, Bluetooth, a DAB radio and Jaguar's clever Pedestrian Contact System. The F-TYPE R gets an R body kit, 20-inch wheels with red brake calipers and a special 'R' interior finish.
Cost of Ownership
Although there are some better performers in its class when it comes to economy and emissions, the F-TYPE Coupe is there or thereabouts. Let's get to the WLTP-rated figures. At the base of the range, the automatic 2.0-litre 300PS RWD F-TYPE records up to 29.8mpg on the combined cycle and emits up to 216g/km of carbon dioxide. You'll need deep pockets to run the V8 models. With the 450PS V8, the figures fall to 26.6mpg and 241g/km for the rear-driven model and 25.9mpg and 248g/km for the AWD version. The F-TYPE R Coupe manages 26.4mpg and 243g/km.
Overall, we think that all of that's irrelevant. If you average more than 20mpg in this car, then you're not using it properly and it deserves a better home. You know where I am. Depreciation on the F-TYPE hasn't been at all bad. Taking the P300 2.0-litre variant as an example, you can expect to get 45% of your original purchase price back after the usual industry-standard three year / 30,000 mile ownership period.
As before, the F-TYPE Coupe takes all that was great about the Convertible version and builds on it with a stiffer chassis and a more affordable asking price. The result is a very special car indeed, especially in this improved form. Even if you can only stretch to a four cylinder version. After all, compared to a rival Porsche 718 Cayman S, Jaguar has brought us a machine that's 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 looks as if it's got its chief competitor's measure in enough areas that count to really give the German brand something to worry about.
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
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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.