Jaguar’s F-Type Coupe completes the mission (column)
Rarely does an automobile cause the actual stop-in-your-tracks, jaw-dropping and drooling I noticed when working around in a silver Jaguar F-Type R Coupe.
This relatively new two-seater offering from the re-energized British carmaker has done that since it debuted as a convertible; the sleek coupe version of the car definitely reduces some grown men (and women) to tears.
And rightly so: With 550 supercharged horsepower, looks that are as brightly intense as the Aston Martins and Maseratis everyone seems to confuse it with, plus a brazenly loud exhaust and engine sound that’s worth Italian heritage, this is one mean cat.
And it is certainly not just an aesthetic exercise, though it is a very good one at that. The all-aluminum body, considerably strengthened by that solid roof, allows the top-of-the-line engine in the R model to propel the Jag to neo-supercar levels of craziness. It takes off quickly, you bet, with a guttural gurgle that turns raspy then crackle-pop explosive, alerting local cops and sending shivers down spines.
Rear-wheel drive, short of stature and fiendishly balanced, the F-Type coupe exudes all of the handling charisma of its fellow $100K-ish competitors. That said, it’s not as rock-solid as a 911, thankfully — but it’s still intense, linear, screamingly fast and confident in corners. My tester, just for the hell of it, threw on a set of ceramic brakes (a $10K option, if you can believe that), useful for shaving maybe 100 mph worth of speed off at a more sustained pace.
The challenge with this sort of intensity — you can downgrade to two different V6 models for a little more restrained experience — is a sense of real-world usability. Happily the F-Type coupe is not the most impossible or uncomfortable machine to use, though it’s certainly no softie.
Crack open the door with those fancy pop-out handles and you’ll find unbelievably deep, heavily bolstered race seats (hugely so at the shoulders, especially) that really do make you an integral part of the car.
You’ll probably have to take a modified entry route, something like getting into a Lotus (I had to park my rear end at a 90-degree angle and then swivel and slide into position); once in, you are indeed surrounded by ample luxury and race-worthy though austere tech.
Prominent highlight stitching and fine leather is everywhere, plus a flat-bottomed race wheel. Details are breathtaking, from the carbon fiber trim to the pop-up bank of air vents to the dual-purpose AC control knobs with built-in temperature displays. The funny little arch/handhold which separates the passenger from the bank of center stack controls is indeed a charming touch, complete with cool red mood lighting at night.
Those controls include a couple of copper-colored buttons (one toggles the high-performance mode, and the start-stop button is so colored); touchscreen navigation is relatively current and the 770-watt Meridian stereo also comes standard with this model.
Head space is surprisingly ample when the seats drop down low to the floor panels; I found you’ll need that as the glass is very short on all sides, including the new tunnel sensation felt while looking through the rear window. Under that pop-up window, you’ll find equally surprisingly ample cargo space.
But it’s still the F-Type coupe’s exterior looks that knock ’em dead, especially from the rear view. That solid line of glass and a beautifully rendered arch of roofline really completes the F-Type convertible’s intended directions, making the flat-topped cat-eye brake lamps, gigantic exhaust tips and aggressive rear aero splitters all work together.
From the front, the look is modern supercar, though they’ve been faithful to the E-Type heritage, with brash head lamps, lots of breathing points for that giant engine and a curb-hugging stance.
As a nice additional bonus, the F-Type coupe got me about 23 combined mpg, indicating to me I spent way too little time in the triple digits. So it goes when you have a snarlingly awesome tool like this at your disposal.
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