In the world of sports cars, convertibles are for show, coupes are for go, and the 2015 Jaguar F-type R coupe (I give it three out of four stars) goes like a scalded cat.
The stunning two-seater claims a 4-second 0-60 mph time and a top speed of 186. It competes with hyper-coupes like the Audi R8 V10 Plus, BMW M6, Chevrolet Corvette ZO6, Nissan GT-R, Mercedes SL63 AMG and Porsche 911 turbo.
The F-type coupe is new for 2015. It’s the hardtop version of the F-type convertible that debuted last year. The F-type coupe is gorgeous, even better-looking than the ragtop.
It’s a truism among car designers that coupes are often better-looking than convertibles. That’s never been truer than of the Jaguar F-type.
A coupe’s closed top allows designers to complete the shape. Open-topped convertibles can appear unfinished. The closed body of a coupe also tends to be stiffer than convertibles. That lends itself to sportier handling.
Convertibles compensate for that by offering other delights, but the F-type coupe’s looks just might be lovely enough to outweigh the pleasure of driving with the wind in your hair.
Prices for the F-type coupe start at $65,000 for a base model with a 340-horsepower supercharged 3.0L V-6. All F-types have an eight-speed automatic transmission. Power increases to 380 horsepower in the $77,000 S model and $99,000 in the blistering R, which has a 550-hp supercharged 5.0L V-8.
I tested a nicely equipped F-type R coupe with 20-inch black aluminum wheels, a glass roof, front and rear parking sensors and blind-spot alert. It stickered at $104,950.
Hold the sticker shock. With the exception of the 650-horsepower Corvette ZO6’s low $78,000 base price, the F-type R coupe is a bit of a bargain among super coupes. It costs thousands, in some cases tens of thousands, of dollars less than comparably equipped versions of the R8, M6, SL, GT-R and 911 turbo.
The F-type R’s acceleration devours traffic and miles. An adjustable exhaust note lets the driver choose an unobtrusive or exciting engine note. The transmission responds quickly to manual paddle shifts and is smooth when left to its own devices.
Low and wide — about 1.5 inches lower at the roof and 1.1 inches wider than the GT-R — the R coupe hunkers down and grips fast curves like a vise. The steering is quick and direct, with good on-center feel in highway driving. The suspension is a bit harsh over bumpy surfaces.
The F-type R coupe’s EPA fuel-economy rating of 16 mpg in the city, 23 highway and 18 combined is in the middle of its competitive set, better than the R8 V10 plus, M6 and ZO6, but trailing the GT-R, SL63 and 911 turbo.
The interior is accommodating, though a bit short of storage bins. The test car featured a two-tone black and brown interior with deep, scooped-out sport seats. The luggage compartment provides plenty of room for a weekend’s bags.
Most of the controls are simple and easy to use, but the car lacked any voice-recognition for phone, music or navigation, despite having Bluetooth for phone calls and music.
You can only initiate phone calls with your handset or the touchscreen. No car this expensive and technically sophisticated should impose that level of distraction on its driver.
Jag just announced a new app called justDrive to provide voice recognition in cars with its optional InControl connectivity package. It should be available to download onto smartphones soon.
I’m looking forward to testing justDrive. Offering a vehicle as fine as the F-type without voice recognition is a serious oversight.
InControl is available on all 2015 Land Rovers and the 2015 F-type. The rest of Jag’s lineup will offer it for the 2016 model year.
Driving the F-type coupe is a joy, but its lack of competitive controls stings. That could change if justDrive and InControl live up to Jaguar’s promises.
BEHIND THE WHEEL
2015 Jaguar F-type R coupe
Rear-wheel-drive, two-passenger sports coupe
Price as tested: $104,950 (excluding destination charge)
Rating: Three out of four stars
Reasons to buy: Looks; power; handling.
Shortcomings: No voice recognition for phone or navigation; stiff ride.
Competitive EPA fuel-economy ratings
(Automatic transmission models)
Jaguar F-type R coupe: 16 mpg city/23 highway/18 combined. Premium gasoline.
Audi R8 V10 Plus: 13/22/16. Premium gasoline.
BMW M6: 14/20/16. Premium gasoline.
Chevrolet Corvette ZO6: 13/23/16. Premium gasoline.
Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG: 16/25/19. Premium gasoline.
Nissan GT-R: 16/23/19. Premium gasoline.
Porsche 911 turbo: 17/24/20. Premium gasoline.
Comparative base prices
(excluding destination charges)
(Automatic transmission models)
Jaguar F-type R coupe: $99,000
Audi R8 V10 Plus: $182,000
BMW M6: $119,000
Chevrolet Corvette ZO6: $78,000
Nissan GT-R: $101,770
Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG: $148,500
Porsche 911 turbo: $151,100
Specifications as tested
Engine: Supercharged 5.0L 32-valve V-8
Power: 550 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm; 502 pound-feet of torque @ 2,500-5,500 rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
EPA fuel-economy rating: 16 mpg city/23 highway/18 combined. Regular gasoline
Wheelbase: 103.2 inches
Length: 176.0 inches
Width: 75.7 inches
Height: 52.0 inches
Curb weight: 3,671 lbs.
Where assembled: Castle Bromwich, U.K.
Key features on vehicle tested
Standard equipment: Antilock brakes; stability control; brake assist; front and side air bags; seat belt pretensioners; engine immobilizer; electronic active differential; heated seats and wheel; power windows, mirrors, locks; Bluetooth phone and music compatible; 14-way power seats; memory for driver settings; touchscreen,; navigation; 770-watt Meridian sound system; keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control.
Options: Panoramic glass sun roof; blind-spot alert; camel-colored seat belts; 20-inch black alloy wheels; Italian Racing Red paint; gloss black exterior trim; adaptive front lighting, front and rear parking sensors.