Jaguar F-Type Coupe (2014 – ) review
Read the Jaguar F-Type Coupe (2014 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives
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No Jaguar is short on visual drama, but for us, the F-Type Coupe is the most dramatic-looking Jag of them all. From the angular nose to the flowing roofline and onto the muscular rear haunches, this is a car that oozes both glamour and aggression in one single hit. The range-topping R is the most aggressive of the bunch, being marked out by its aerodynamically enhanced bodywork, various gloss black inserts and its outboard-mounted quad tailpipes. There are loads of chances to personalise your car, too, with lots of design packs, alloy wheel options, and exterior finishes to ensure it looks just right.
Inside the passenger compartment, there’s very little difference between the Coupe and the F-Type Convertible. You get the same dashboard layout with the same controls, which means most are easy to get to grips with. The main exception is the touch-screen system, which has been improved with a larger display and clearer sat-nav graphics, but it's still not as easy to use as the systems in many rivals. Another niggle is the gear selector, which doesn’t engage Drive unless you pull the well-hidden trigger on the back first (you’ll often forget to). Go for a manual version, and you'll find things even more awkward; the lever is mounted too far back, and the inconvenient obstacles surrounding it (like the side of the seat, the lid of the central storage compartment and a protruding part of the trim on the centre console) means you’re constantly catching your elbows and wrists as you change gear. Cabin quality is also slightly disappointing; the materials are nice enough, but they’re adequate in a car costing this much, rather than being particularly impressive.
The F-Type Coupe isn’t designed to dazzle in this area, but it does a decent enough job. The two-seat passenger compartment is reasonably generous on both headroom and legroom, and two lofty adults will have no problem getting comfy. However, the cabin is narrower than in some rivals, and once you're nestled inside, it does feel like a snug fit. While the F-Type Convertible’s laughably small load bay struggles to take much more than a couple of shoe boxes, the Coupe’s has enough space to handle a brace of golf bags, or a set of weekend luggage. Sure, the boot isn’t class-leading for capacity, but at least you can live with it.
Ride and handling
The F-Type’s character depends very much which version you pick, primarily because each one has its own arrangement of suspension, differential and electronic driver aids. The entry-level V6 car has conventional steel springs, which means it's not as cossetting as other models. The V6 S version, meanwhile, has a mechanical limited-slip diff and adaptive dampers. Whatever driving mode you select, it feels very sharp and agile, making it immensely enjoyable to fling around. The V8 R gets an electronic diff and a clever torque-vectoring system (an option on other versions) and that makes it even more precise. Its astonishing grip and excellent body control allow it to turn with unbelievable speed and accuracy, and the steering helps on that score, too; it’s fast, feelsome and beautifully weighted. The ride on the S and R cars is firm at all times, but they deal with bumps and cracks in the surface with impressive composure. A word of warning, though - the S and R both really struggle to put their power down in the wet, and will spin the wheels in third gear. Fortunately, Jag offers the option of adding four-wheel drive, which only cuts in when needed, making the F-Type a lot more useable and easier to handle in tricky, greasy conditions.
The entry-level car has a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 with 335bhp, and while it’s adequately quick, it might not have the outright pace you expect from a car like this. The S meanwhile, gets a 375bhp version of the same engine, and this version is scintillatingly fast, pounding from 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds and delivering its power in an eager, linear manner. Even with this level of performance, the R, with its supercharged 5.0-litre V8, is an absolute nutcase by comparison. With 542bhp, the slightest pressure on the throttle pedal results in an eye-widening explosion of acceleration, and because the eight-speed automatic gearbox shifts around quickly to find exactly the right ratio, the engine’s full fury is pretty much always at your disposal. The soundtrack is just as dramatic, the glorious full-throttle howl being punctuated with a gunfire-like medley of coughs and cracks. It really does sound like nothing else on the road. The S model doesn’t sound quite as fearsome as the R, but it still sounds naughty enough to get your pulse racing.
The F-Type Coupe isn’t a cheap car – nothing like – but you wouldn’t expect it to be. Crucially, though, each version of the Jag is considerably cheaper than the equivalent version of its main rival, the Porsche 911, and bizarrely, the higher you go up the range, the more of a bargain it looks. Granted, the Jag won’t hold its value as well as the Porsche, but depreciation losses shouldn’t be too horrific. Fuel costs may well be, though. The two V6s can only just beat 30mpg according to official figures, while the V8’s figure stands at just 25.5mpg. And, if you drive the F-Type like it’s meant to be driven, you’ll get considerably less. You’ll also fork out a fair amount for insurance and tyres. The four-wheel drive versions command a hefty premium over the rear-drive models, but you have to pay a very similar premium upgrading from a 911 Carrera 2 to an AWD Carrera 4.
Traditionally, Jaguar’s reliability record has been patchy at best, and that’s reflected by the brand’s scores in many of the reliability surveys that are based primarily on the performance of older cars. However, the studies that concentrate on newer cars indicate that Jag’s reliability has been steadily improving in recent years, so we’re hoping that’s a sign of good things to come from the F-Type Coupe. One area of concern is the infotainment system, which despite an overhaul, still feels like it needs a little work.
As we’ve said, each version of the F-Type Coupe has different grip management systems, but all come with the all-important stability control to help get you out of the mire if your driving enthusiasm overtakes your ability. Each version also comes with four airbags to help protect you if the worst happens, and a range of other safety measures, such as blind-spot monitoring, are available as options. Don’t expect there to be a Euro NCAP crash test rating anytime soon, though, because the F-Type won’t sell in big enough numbers to warrant testing.
All versions of the F-Type Coupe come with a fair amount of luxury kit, and at this money, so they should. Sat-nav, parking sensors, part-leather upholstery, keyless entry, Bluetooth and a touch-screen infotainment system all come as standard. As well as the various mechanical bits, the S gets a better stereo, full leather and bigger alloys, while the R has even bigger wheels and sportier seats. This makes the Jaguar superb value compared to a 911 - because Porsche will demand extra for Bluetooth, parking sensors and so on.
The F-Type Coupe is simply fantastic to drive; fast, precise, involving, and it makes an incredible noise. This is a car that you’ll never be bored in. It’s also glamorous to look at and, compared with its main rivals at least, affordable to buy. You’ll pay a small fortune to run it, but once you get behind the wheel, you won’t care.