Jaguar’s stunning F-Type coupe is available with rear-wheel drive, a manual gearbox and 335bhp. We take it for a test
What do we have here?
Jaguar broke the mould in 2013 when it launched the F-Type Roadster to drooling acclaim. A year later arrived the F-Type Coupe with a long and smooth rear profile, the rear screen falls away like the value of the British pound post-Brexit.
The F-Type has more than just a nod to the original and much loved E-Type, while the muscular rear haunches, seen from behind, have an element of XK to them. At the front, the large Jaguar grille and swept back headlights set the scene while the shark fins on the front bumper are a telling sign that this cat bites.
The compact backend has long and defined taillights while the two exhausts pipes stare at you like a pair of surprised emoji eyes.
The fixed top version is available in four variants from just two engines. A 3.0-litre supercharged V6 is tuned with either 335bhp and 332lb ft of torque or 375bhp and 339lb ft of torque. That’s enough grunt to get the entry-level coupes from 0-60mph in 5.5 and 5.3 seconds, with each maxing out at 161 and 171mph, respectively.
Go for the eight-speed automatic box and 0-60 times are cut by 0.4 and 0.5 seconds, respectively. The more powerful version is available with all-wheel drive.
Flexing its V8 muscles is the 5.0-litre which is available with either 542bhp and 502lb ft of torque or the herculean SVR with 567bhp and 516lb ft of torque, meaning few other road users will match the lightning 0-60mph times of 4.2 and 3.7 seconds, while each car pushes on to 186 and 200mph, respectively.
Both engine versions come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard while the lesser powered version is available with either rear or all-wheel drive. The SVR is only available with the power being sent to all four wheels.
We’re testing the 3.0-litre S (375bhp) with a six-speed manual gearbox, which costs £60,775. Our test car came inflated like an airship with over £8000 of extra kit, some of which you’d expect to be fitted as standard including two-zone climate control, heated seats, reversing camera, keyless entry and front parking sensors.
How does it drive?
Driving cars like the F-Type is meant to be about emotion. The love you get from the looks, the thrill of knitting together a series of challenging bends and the joy of the journey.
Press the small starter button and set the 3.0-litre supercharged V6 into action. Blip the throttle and let your ears prick up at the sound from the twin pipes protruding from under the rear bumper.
Once out on the road, it’s that exhaust sound that instantly transports you back to the 1960s, when Britain swung, colours were bright and the Jaguar E-Type caused a nation to glow with pride. It's a joyful tune is reminiscent of the 50-year old classic.
The senses are stirred further with a glance down the F-Types bonnet and the view out of the rear screen. Suddenly you start to feel very special indeed.
In this world of health and safety legislation, there should be a warning for the exhaust, though. Over 4,000rpm the baffles open and the sound of those excited horses booms like a drum and base rave from under the rear bumper. You’ll need to consider whether those near you have a healthier enough heart to take the shock wave. RIP – passed away from Jaguar exhaust roar.
Its 0-60mph time of 5.5 seconds sounds faster than it feels on the road. There’s no doubting the F-Type is quick but it’s so well set-up that it’s not squirmy and doesn’t feel rushed. The acceleration is predictable. The longer you rev, the quicker is goes, simple.
There’s certainly some fun to be had, as that ski slope back end will slip and slide as much as you want it to. Rest assured, though, that there’s enough grip and driver aids to keep things tidy if you want a relaxing drive or want to get a move on.
It hunkers down through the wiggly stuff, dispatching the sharpest of bends with the manoeuvrability of a Eurofighter jet in a dog fight. In that case, it must be so firm that your café latte gets erupted across the beautiful interior! No. The F-Type corners flat, handles brilliantly but has a supple and comfortable ride.
In all honesty, it has to. Jaguar is hardly going to alienate its more mature customer base by making this thing denture-loosening firm. Jag’s found a brilliant balance between entertaining handling and long distance cruising comfort.
The leather-clad small steering wheel translates what the road is willing to tell you, with good feel, accurate turn-in and a fast action. It’s not too heavy either, aiding that grand touring offering.
Sitting with your legs out in front of you in a toboggan-like driving position, the gear lever is positioned within perfect reach of your hand. Your arm rests on the centre console while you keep your fingers wrapped around the stubby gear knob, flicking between gears at a moment’s notice utilising its direct and short throw. On the downside, the clutch is a little heavier than you might expect but you quickly get used to it.
The view behind isn’t great, evocative of the golden times but not conducive to keeping an eye out for law enforcement who might be after a juicy catch. Those swooping rear pillars block most of the view until the police taunting rear spoiler pops into view, although, seeing an inverted Jaguar cat on the raised spoiler in the rear view is rather satisfying.
What's it like inside?
An eyebrow of intrigue had already been raised as you opened the door using the pop out handle bar, before lowering yourself into the snug cockpit.
Slide into the figure-hugging seats with your legs stretched out ahead and you could be lining up ready to give Stirling Moss a run for his money in the Mille Miglia.
Adjust the height and backrest of the comfortable and supportive leather seat by using the electric controls, you’ll need to manually lift the metal bar under your knees to slide it. A retro nod or an unacceptable omission on a £60k car?
Usefully the steering wheel adjusts electrically for reach and tilt. Most, therefore, should be able to find a suitable and comfortable position for your journey as there’s also plenty of head and shoulder room, while the wheel and pedals are nicely aligned.
You’ll find enough spots for your phone, copy of the Financial Times and cigar guillotine. There are small door bins, a central cubby under the armrest and a glovebox that’ll accommodate a bottle of Bolly and your emergency supply of Beluga Caviar.
In the rear, as this is a two-seater, there’s just a tray around shoulder height that’s large enough to store your copy of the latest Town and Country mag.
There’s more drama and ceremony as the glass rear hatch opens electronically. It’s rectangular and tapers at the end, looking like the door of an alien spaceship shutting. It’ll close automatically too.
As a grand tourer, or even as a sports coupe, the ability to take with you, as a minimum, a weekend’s worth of fresh attire should be a given. However, the boot is hugely comprised with the presence of a spare wheel, smack bang in the middle of the boot floor.
Any car with the aspirational view of being sporty when twinned with a Jaguar badge and V6 engine isn’t going to be the cheapest to own and run.
Official fuel economy figures on a combined cycle for this 3.0-litre V6 is 28.9mpg, which actually isn’t too bad.
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Emissions are less impressive, though, and likely to cost company car drivers dearly. Figures of 234g/km of CO2 means that one-year road tax will cost a whopping £500 while the F-Type falls into the 37% company car BIK tax banding.
You’ll be paying almost the highest insurance premiums with group 47E.
The F-Type gets a three-year unlimited mileage warranty.
There are service packs available including a three-year or 48,000-mile cover for £995, while a five-year or 80,000-mile package costs £1,495.
Escape modern mundane motoring with the Jaguar F-Type Coupe complete with its 60’s exhaust soundtrack, dynamic swooping lines and wonderful mix of handling brilliance and grand touring comfort.
The standard equipment list would appeal to Ebineeza Scrooge, though, and visibility out the back isn’t great.
For a truly quintessential English sports car experience, the F-Type has few to rival it.