Jaguar F-Type Coupe review
The Jaguar F-Type Coupe's breathtaking looks and performance make it a real 911 alternative
The Jaguar F-Type Coupe follows on from its brilliant F-Type convertible. With drop-dead gorgeous looks, a posh cabin and powerful engines it’s a worthy successor to the fabulous E-Type Coupe of the Sixties.
Both F-Type S and R models feature adaptive dampers for improved handling, plus an active exhaust that produces a spectacular engine note. Whichever model you choose, the Jaguar guarantees an exhilarating driving experience that rivals the Porsche 911 and Cayman, as well as the Aston Martin V8 Vantage. The F-Type Coupe range starts from £51,235 which is about £7,000 less than the convertible and means it’s similar money as a Porsche Cayman S with a PDK gearbox.
Our choice: F-Type S
Jaguar originally conceived the F-Type solely as a convertible, but it’s the Coupe which is the better looking of the two. The sleek and stylish design is a match for supercars that cost twice the price and the Jaguar makes a Porsche Cayman or 911 seem rather bland in comparison.
All models are head turning – but the R model looks especially bold with larger alloy wheels and quad tail pipes rather than the twin centrally mounted exhausts of the V6 and the V6S. Inside the F-Type, the cabin doesn’t quite match the flamboyance of the exterior but it’s still a nice place to spend time nonetheless.
The F-Type's cabin is good quality and the dashboard is angled towards the driver. All versions get leather trim as standard, but Jaguar has taken a leaf out of Porsche's book by putting many of the most desirable features on the options list. Comfort items such as heated seats will cost you extra.
The addition of a fixed roof means the F-Type Coupe’s aluminium body is significantly stiffer than the convertibles. In fact, Jaguar claims it has the most torsionally rigid body of any production car it has ever built.
The result is plain to see on the road in the form of improved handling and ride quality over the already brilliant F-Type convertible. Combine this with the quick and precise steering, strong grip, perfect 50:50 weight distribution and rear-wheel drive and you have a truly great driver’s car. Back to back it might not be quite as sharp as the mid-engined Porsche Cayman, but there isn’t much in it.
All F-Types allow the driver to select Dynamic Mode, which gives a sharper throttle response, increases steering weight and changes the smooth eight-speed automatic transmission's shift pattern. The S and R models add adaptive dampers as standard for improved handling and comfort, though that’s not to say the entry V6 is wanting in either department.
The V6 S and V8 R also get active exhausts as standard which really emphasise the cracking sounds of their engines. We think the V6 S is the pick of the line-up for keen drivers: it's almost as fast as the V8 R on the road, yet it handles just a little better thanks to its lighter, more compact engine.
The F-Type is a brand-new car for Jaguar, so there's limited ownership experience to draw on. Reliability, however, should be strong all the same. Jaguar has amassed huge experience building aluminium chassis, and both the V6 and V8 engines take elements from the company's other models.
Also two-stage stability control is standard across the range, ensuring even inexperienced drivers won't be caught out by the powerful F-Type in adverse conditions.
The V6 S adds a mechanical limited-slip differential (LSD) for even better grip, and the V8 R goes one better with an advanced electronically controlled diff. Stopping power isn't a problem for the F-Type either as the V8 R boasts the largest brake discs ever fitted to a production Jaguar. As with luxury items, though, some of the advanced active safety kit on the F-Type is optional: this includes the blind-spot warning system and reversing camera.
Sports cars are never that practical, but the F-Type Coupe isn’t actually too bad. In fact it’s boot has 407 litres of space, which is more than a Volkswagen Golf. It’s shallow nature and contoured shape hinder practicality somewhat, but Jaguar claims you can still fit two sets of golf clubs in there – something you can’t do with a Porsche 911 or Cayman.
Inside, the glove box is a decent size and there’s two cup holders. The door bins are next to useless though. Really, the biggest problem with the F-Type's practicality is rear-ward visibility - the huge C-pillars make it very tricky to see when looking over your shoulder at filter junctions or joining the motorway.
Fuel economy is unlikely to be a big concern for those lucky enough to afford a Jaguar F-Type. Nonetheless, a stop-start system is standard on every model, keeping CO2 emissions down to a relatively reasonable 209g/km - a figure that's very impressive for such a high-performance sports car.
Jaguar cars traditionally suffer from heavy depreciation, but experts predict the F-Type will buck this trend, with residual values of over 50 percent after three years. Jaguar has also been performing very well in recent customer satisfaction surveys: it finished third in our 2013 Driver Power survey. Servicing costs are a worry, though - unlike some rival brands, Jaguar doesn't offer good-value pre-paid servicing.