On some level, I don’t really need to write a review of the Jaguar F-Type R Coupe. I mean, just look at it. Everywhere I drove, this car turned heads. People in both trendy Manhattan neighborhoods and back country villages in Connecticut loved this car. If you want to drive a car like this, check out jeep dealership near port arthur.
Many thought it was something Italian, like a Ferrari or a Maserati, and more than one person said something to the effect of “I’ve never seen a Jaguar like that before.”
That’s the thing about the F-Type Coupe; the form is so spectacular, the function doesn’t really matter. This is a car Jaguar could — and probably does — sell on looks alone.
But this car’s story doesn’t end there. My particular tester was an R model. As such, it comes with a 550-horsepower supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine, all-wheel drive (AWD) and an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The total cost: A little over $119,000.
Muscle, with class
The F-Type name is a reference to Jaguar’s iconic 1962 E-Type sports car, considered by some the most beautiful car ever built. And its moniker is more than a nod to the past; the F-Type is the British brand’s first true sports car since the E-Type.
Like the E-Type before it, I’d agruge the F-Type is just about the best-looking car on sale today. It manages to be muscular, but not in the way an anabolically enhanced athlete is muscular. Somehow the F-Type is both punchy and subtle, masculine and feminine.
Its design doesn’t shout to the world about how great it is at first glance, but invites repeated viewings. Each look reveals a new detail that you might have missed before. If you catch it at the right angle, you might notice how stubby the rear deck is or the subtle upward curve of the exhaust pipes.
The car is rich with little things that catch your eye the longer you spend time with it.
Its proportions are spot-on as well. It takes the classic sports car formula of long-hood, short-deck and modernizes it. The wheels are pushed way out towards the four corners and the character line rises dramatically at the rear.
You could spend hours looking at the F-Type and never get tired of it.
“The trick with any great design is actually very, very simple and very very spontaneous,” said Julian Thomson, Jaguar’s Advanced Design Director, in an interview with Mashable. “[The designer] should impart their energy and that spontaneity in how it is.”
“It’s a very natural, artistic process to do something like an F-Type.”
Those good looks come at a cost, and that’s interior space and visibility, or rather, the lack thereof.
The sloping rear deck looks amazing, but it creates massive blind spots and leaves you with a tiny rear window that makes driving the F-Type in city traffic very tricky. To partially solve this, drivers can rely on the mirror-mounted blind spot monitoring system, which works well on the highway. It falls flat, however, when sharing the road with crazed Manhattan cyclists and tourists, as they’re too small and quick for the system to pick up.
Sitting very low in the car, looking out over a tall cowl (the place where the hood and windshield meet), forward visibility is better than in the rear… but only negligibly so. This is a big problem in the city, but not a huge deal out on the country roads where the F-Type is in its element.
Exercise in restraint
Unless you’re a sociopath, driving this car on public roads is an exercise in restraint. That’s because the unmatched roar of the exhaust and addictive immediacy of the supercharged V8’s acceleration is too tempting not to indulge every few seconds.
The bellowing crackle of the F-Type’s exhaust is no accident either. Jaguar engineered the car to let additional fuel in the cylinders when the driver lifts off the throttle, creating what it calls a “controlled misfire.” The effect is pops and crackles that sound like gunshots every single time you take your foot off the gas.
I wasn’t there, but suspect this car sounds like the Battle of Britain.
It’s ridiculous and too much for a daily commute. Thankfully, you can switch the exhaust from extremely loud to slightly less loud with the push of a button.
The V8 provides excellent power and the all-wheel drive (AWD) does a great job of keeping drivers out of ditches, but it all feels like too much. You can’t floor it without doing something highly illegal, so you never feel like you’ve driven the car to its full potential.
Here’s an example of what I mean; you look to pass someone on the highway, click down two gears on the (excellent) 8-speed automatic gearbox and give it a little gas to pass someone like a normal human. Only after 15 seconds or so, you realize you’ve gone from doing the speed limit to a number that would get you a life sentence in less car-friendly and tolerant states like Virginia.
When you stand on the throttle with intention, it launches the car towards the horizon with a weird mix of calm and violence. Calm, in that the AWD system quickly sends power to the front wheels to pull you forward effortlessly. Violent, in that the V8 makes absurd angry noises and speed comes seemingly without friction or air resistance.
To bring the F-Type back to legal speeds, my tester came equipped with optional $12,000 carbon-ceramic brakes designed to not only reduce weight but also reduce brake fade during repeated full-pressure braking scenarios. On public roads, saner drivers will likely never dig deep into the brakes.
From what I experienced, however, they felt very strong and very reliable. While certainly neat to look at, and brag about to your buddies, the carbon ceramics are designed for race-track driving. And if you don’t aim to do much of that, they probably overkill, so save your money.
Power isn’t everything
Though I love the uproarious V8 and its grippy AWD, they both add tremendous weight to the car. And if you expect a light and nimble sports car, you might be disappointed. Instead of cutting through backroads like a sharp knife, the F-Type pummels the road into submission.
Jaguar quotes the weight at 3,814 pounds, which — for an aluminum-intensive sports car — is very heavy.
The electric power steering is direct and well-weighted, but it lacks feel, though that can be said about virtually every modern sports car. It’s not points against Jaguar, but rather a reality of the modern era, as automakers switch from hydraulic to electric power assistance.
While the V8 is a great laugh, I tend to think the V6 models would be more fun. You get less power, but it’s more usable on the public road. With a V6, the car would be substantially lighter over the front axle as well, contributing to better handling.
Even still, this car still manages to make backroads fun, even if it feels like the insane power and all-wheel drive are doing all the work for you. It doesn’t take much skill to get a lot out of this car, which is a good or bad thing depending on your perspective.
Sports cars in general
This is the sort of car you love in spite of itself, or at least I did. It’s too much power and too little interior space, too little visibility to comfortably live with everyday. That said, it plays a critical role in the ever-changing automotive world.
Right now, much of the development work in the automotive industry is focused on taking the driver out of the equation. Advanced safety systems are designed to prevent crashes the driver would otherwise not be able to avoid, and autonomous systems look to ‘liberate’ drivers from the stresses and dangers of driving.
This Jag has a lot of those modern safety features, but it aims to be a “driver’s car,” or one that puts the driver at the center of the equation. It is, undoubtedly, a sports car.
“Hopefully [the F-Type] is not a ‘the end’ of that sort of excitement you get from a product,” said Julian Thomson. “We’ve got to think about the digital age and whether people will want things or experiences that almost reject the digital age.”
Driving this car on a crisp summer morning, crackling V8 echoing off the trees lining windy Connecticut roads, I suspect Thomson is right. While we can’t know for sure what the fate of the sports car will be, at least for now, we have the F-Type. And, like the E-Type before it, it’s something to be cherished.
Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Gorgeous styling • More power than anyone needs • Ungodly noise is, in fact, divine
Bad visibility • Cramped interior • You can’t look at it while you’re driving
The Bottom Line
Jaguar’s gorgeous F-Type R Coupe is far from perfect, but it’s so overflowing with character, you overlook its drawbacks.