Last year we got invited to drive one of the most talked about cars of the last decade, the Jaguar F-Type. I had the pleasure of experiencing that car on a closed road with a professional driver next to me. Following that I was treated to a couple of laps with him at the wheel – suffice to say I’ve experienced the F-Type pushed to limits many won’t. When the F-Type Coupe was confirmed I (and I’m sure many others) had a strong inkling that it would be better than the already fantastic convertible. By better I mean more precise, refined, balanced, a more enjoyable car to drive. To put it simply, It absolutely blew my mind.
In the last two years Jaguar has seen 41% growth making it the fastest growing premium brand in the world. In 2008 when Tata Motors secured the company for 1.7 billon pounds the motoring industry was in shock. What no one expected was Jaguar Land Rover to explode out of the Global Financial Crisis with market leading products and a yearly revenue increasing exponentially to 9 billon pounds (Q1 2015). Since 2008 Tata has invested a fortune into the research and development of both the Jaguar and Land Rover brands and it’s been a worthwhile investment to say the least.
Replicating the F-Type, the F-Type Coupe comes in three variants a 250Kw 3.0L Supercharged V6, a 280Kw 3.0L Supercharged V6 and a 404kw 5.0L V8 – an increase on the flagship convertible’s 364Kw 5.0L V8. Pricing has also changed, in your favour (if you’re not buying the V8). The Coupe has dropped significantly from the $138k and $171k for the foundation and S Type convertible to $119k and $151k respectively for the Coupe. The V8 however has had to justify the increase in horsepower with an increase in price from $201k in the convertible to $219k in the Type R Coupe.
Following a short breakfast at Catalina in Rose Bay to kick off our Jaguar F-Type Coupe Drive Day we climbed into the cars and set off for the Old Pacific Highway. Inside the Coupe not a lot has changed from the F-Type and to be honest not a lot needed changing at all. The cabin is surprisingly spacious and the panoramic roof adds to the illusion of space even more. What I did love and utilise, was the large central storage compartment behind and in-between the two seats.
Trickling down into the Harbour tunnel the attention is quickly transferred from the cabin to the noise going on outside. Like the F-Type, the F-Type Coupe features the same active exhaust on both the Type S and Type R, the foundation model goes without. The exhaust note is vicious, the V8 is laughable, as in it’s a joke how good it is – you’d never get over it, ever. You’d also never use the Harbour Bridge ever again because dropping the Coupe through the gears and cruising through the tunnel in 2nd warrants a smile I can’t recall matching.
So lets get down to it. After a slow crawl through the suburbs and a driver on their first drive day ever I hopped into the driver’s seat eager to see what the Coupe was made of. After a quick apology to my passenger about what was about to happen, I pulled off the shoulder and put my foot down. Perhaps driving the F-Type on a track rendered me a little more confident than usual but there was no doubt I’d prepared myself for a noticeably more capable and technical car in the Coupe. With one corner under my belt I was laughing again. Tucking the Coupe into sweeping corner after corner it didn’t take long to recognise how good the thing was. The rigid chassis has made the F-Type a dream, it’s so focused and engages the driver like nothing I’ve driven I’ve driven. The power delivery is instant, the steering is precise and the braking is something special, especially with the Carbon Ceramic option.
Engaging the Coupe’s Dynamic Mode enhances the chassis control through firmer damping rates, increased steering weighting, faster gear changes and sharper throttle response. In the Type R the Adaptive Dynamics software gets a further tune to actively control vertical body movement, roll and pitch rates. Not for one moment was I concerned about the speed at which the car was cornering, it was constantly poised and in control. When I climbed out of the drivers seat I think I was the most satisfied I’ve ever been after driving a car.
I’m astonished by how good this car is and I haven’t event address how good it looks yet. The all aluminium structure has the nicest rear end of any car on the road, that’s undeniable. This is a sports coupe that has it all, seriously good looks and performance to boot. Would I buy one? In a heartbeat. Which one you ask? Aside from the lewd crack of the V8 I couldn’t pick the Type S and the Type R apart for driving pleasure. If I had the money of course I’d buy the V8, but I’d be just as happy owning the Supercharged V6, it honestly harnesses enough performance for any man and sounds just as epic.
Finally I’d just like to say how much enjoyment I’ve taken from telling people about how good it is. Jaguar is back, and it’s a force to be reckoned with!
You can check out the full specs for all three models on Jaguar’s website.