Having a car that is a celebrated automotive icon in your heritage isn’t always a good thing. Just ask Jaguar. For decades, the brand has barely been able to mention the word coupe without inevitable comparisons to its legendary E-Type.
Although some car makers would buckle under the pressure to recreate a modern version of their most famous car, Jaguar has taken its time and gone its own way. The F-Type Convertible was launched last year, and has proven much more than a tribute act. Now, the Coupe version adds strength to the line-up.
We’ve already tested the entry-level Coupe, where it finished a whisker behind the Porsche Cayman S. However, the flagship £85,000 V8 R is a serious supercar challenger.
Here it will need to prove its ability against one of the best in the business – the Aston Martin V8 Vantage. To make life tougher, Aston has created a special welcome gift in the form of the N430 limited edition. With 430bhp on tap, plus 20kg less weight and a raft of extras, the exclusive Aston is priced at £91,080 – just £6,080 more than its rival.
Has Jaguar created a car that can eclipse models in the supercar sector, or will the Aston Martin’s heritage and power prove that it takes more than a famous ancestor to be a performance car legend?
Click on the links above to read each review, then read on for our verdict.
Despite their differences in power delivery, the Jaguar and Aston are powered by what is essentially the same AJ-V8 engine. The Vantage’s hand-built 4.7-litre features a dry-sump oil system that allows it to be mounted lower in the car to reduce the centre of gravity. The F-Type’s newer 5.0-litre version features a twin vortex supercharger that boosts power and gives a more immediate throttle response.
Both these models feature well engineered braking systems. The Jag also comes with the option of carbon-ceramic discs for £7,400. However, during our tests, the carbon-ceramic set-up offered little difference in performance. This isn’t needed unless you plan on some serious track time.
Manual or auto? It’s a choice that’s divided performance car fans for decades. Those who prefer the control offered by the former will love the Aston’s old-school transmission. But if you’re happy to let technology do the heavy lifting, the Jaguar’s eight-speed auto is one of the best.
The Jaguar F-Type Coupe has plenty of standard kit, but you can still add lots of extras to personalise the car to your tastes. Standard metallic paint is £700, although our test model’s Firesand Orange paint is a £1,250 extra, while the 20-inch Storm wheels come with the £7,400 carbon ceramic brake package. The V8 R gets a 20-inch six-spoke alloys as standard, while optional wheels range from £500-£1,500. You can also add panoramic glass for £1,250.
Inside, there are seven leather options, or you can specify ‘Suedecloth’ trim (£1,500). The red interior pack (£2,155) adds red trim to the doors, seats, dash and centre console. The N430 is a limited edition, but it’s available in coupe and roadster bodystyles. There are five colour schemes to choose from, each with different detailing. As well as black with silver trim, you can go for green and yellow, blue and red, silver and white or white and red.
Aston also offers carbon fibre add-ons inside and out, plus four brake caliper colours, and contrast stitching in the same colours. You can also opt for Alcantara on the seats and steering wheel, and there’s even a tailor-made N430 luggage set.
Just when we thought the F-Type couldn’t get any better, the flagship Coupe version comes along to prove us wrong. Where previous fast Jags have always flattered to deceive, the F-Type has the handling and performance to match its gorgeous design. The drivetrain is flawless, while the chassis combines typical Jaguar comfort and refinement with scalpel-sharp responses. A fantastic effort from a true British institution.
It seems harsh to describe a car which is so timelessly handsome as the Vantage as being in its twilight years, but that’s exactly what it is. However, while it finishes second here, it has lost none of its charm. Aston is now actively marketing the Vantage as an ‘analogue-era’ supercar, and for many, the challenge of having to work hard to extract its performance will be the main reason for choosing it.
|Jaguar F-Type V8 R||Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430|
|On the road price/total as tested||£85,000/£104,360||£91,080/£96,245|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)||£38,199/44.9%||N/A|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£5,870/£11,740||£6,383/£12,766|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£3,198/£5,330||£3,919/£6,532|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||50/£989/M/£500||50/£1,609/M/£500|
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service||£331 per year (3yrs)||£651/£680/£651|
|Peak power/revs||543/6,500 bhp/rpm||430/7,300 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||680/3,500 Nm/rpm||490/5,000 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||8-spd auto/rwd||6-spd man/rwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||70 litres/repair kit||80 litres/repair kit|
|Boot capacity||315 litres||300 litres|
|Turning circle||10.9 metres||11.4 metres|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (unlimited)/3yrs||3yrs (unlimited)/3yrs|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||16,000 miles (1yr)/97||10,000 miles/22|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||2nd/7th*||N/A|
|0-60/30-70mph||3.9/3.0 secs||4.9/3.9 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||2.3/3.0 secs||2.9/4.4 secs|
|50-70mph 5th/6th/7th/8th||3.2/5.4/6.9 secs/N/A||5.5/7.4 secs/N/A/N/A|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||186mph/1,500rpm||190mph/2,500rpm|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||23.9/5.3/368 miles||19.5/4.3/343 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||273/259g/km/35%||335/321g/km/35%|
|Airbags/Isofix/rear parking camera||Four/yes/£255||Four/yes/£995|
|Automatic box/stability/cruise ctrl||Yes/yes/yes||£5,000/yes/yes|
|Climate ctrl/leather/heated seats||Yes/yes/£350||Yes/yes/£495|
|Met paint/xenon lights/keyless go||£700/yes/£450||Yes/yes/no|