Ladies and Gentlemen let me say this right up front. It’s difficult for me to write about the F-type without seeming like a fan boy. Ever since I reviewed the F-type S convertible in 2013, I’ve been smitten by the car.
However, I will attempt to do my very best at being objective for all of you reading this right now.
Let me start off by asking you what happiness mean to you. Is it when you’re painting? Crocheting? Gardening? Cooking a lovely dinner for your friends and family?
After having the 2015 Jaguar F-Type S coupe on test recently, I think that happiness to me is pulling the F-Type’s right flappy paddle to upshift between second and third gears around 4,000 rpms.
Further to this, if you’re a driving enthusiast, arguably little pleases you more than carving up canyon roads in your favourite car on an early weekend morning with no traffic in sight.
For me the Jaguar F-type coupe would be one of the few cars that I would love to be piloting when doing just that.
Why you ask? What makes a car the size of a Ford Focus but the price of an AMG Mercedes so special? It’s certainly not cheap for one.
At a price of $95,100 as tested, my F-Type V6 coupe wasn’t even optioned out to the max!
Sure it had a leather wrapped dash, Meridian Premium audio system, satellite navigation, amazing multi-way adjustable performance seats, a rearview camera, and parking sensors.
All the mod cons that people expect in a luxury coupe today.
However, one can go even nuttier with the options list with 20” Tornado black finish wheels for $2,750, carbon ceramic brakes for a whopping $14,000, or even a suede headliner for $550 if you feel that the black anthracite velour one is too low brow for you.
However, people who buy these cars tend to want them because of how it makes them feel. And with the F-type, the great thing is that you don’t even have to be moving fast to get that special feeling.
Even when you’re sitting in traffic, its voluptuous shape, complete with Scarlett Johansson-inspired “hips” (no joke!), draws attention from all around you.
You truly feel like a celebrity or a Victoria Secret model. Necks will snap around you, and women will hit their husbands for not paying attention to what they are doing.
I confess that I felt like I was bettering people’s lives everywhere I went. The little red Jaguar drew big smiles from all ages. Perhaps the most rewarding were the looks of awe, wonder and whimsy from the 5-year old boys who set eyes on the F-Type.
In an ever increasingly digital and virtual world, it’s great to be able to get a chance to interest kids in the physical world, and better yet convert them to be true car guys.
Looks aside, the Jaguar is awfully fun to drive too, and it’s not just because of a fantastic engine, or a quick shifting ZF 8-speed gearbox.
The whole experience is so very visceral thanks to the thousands of hours of fine-tuning that Jaguar engineers have spent.
In V6 S trim, the coupe gains 40 extra horses over its non-S sibling.
The 3.0L supercharged V6 engine churns out 380hp at 6,500 rpms and 339 lb-ft of torque at 3,500-5,000 rpms.
All of this power is fed through a “QuickShift” 8 speed automatic gearbox that shifts so rapidly, especially in dynamic mode, that you could be forgiven for mistaking it as a double clutch gearbox from the F-type’s German rivals.
In regular mode, the autobox shifts smoothly and uneventfully. But you get a totally different experience when you toggle the fighter jet-like Jaguar Drive mode switch and take manual control via the cockpit-inspired joystick gearshift lever, or the copper coloured steering wheel paddles.
Dynamic mode revises the steering wheel assist, changes the suspension firmness, hurries up the throttle pedal mapping, and alters the transmission shift points.
Most significant of all of these changes through, dynamic mode activates the active exhaust system’s angry mode.
Ascending or descending through the gears in dynamic mode is a total event. The F-Type’s exhaust pops, farts, and crackles like an old carbureted British roadster.
Sure in the back of your mind you know that these noises are somewhat artificially induced due to exhaust internal tuning plus the computer dumping a drop or two of extra fuel to cause the controlled backfiring during the overrun.
But who bloody cares when it sounds so damn good, especially through tunnels and even underpasses.
I promise you that you will find yourself waking up at wee hours of the morning, strangely tempted at the notion of finding a drive route involving just such a structure.
The F-type S positively wails through said tunnels thanks to the “music” that leaves its twin centre mounted tailpipes. The sonic franticness increases in crescendo and arpeggio as the rev counter’s needle swings towards redline.
This is one car that does encourage you to go faster because it’s so racy.
That being said, the fantastic thing is that all of this pantomime can legally happen well below the speed limit.
The exhaust sounds, which explode from its muffler system, can be activated at just 20 km/hr despite being so raw and delicious to the ear.
As I said, you don’t need to drive fast to feel special in the F-Type, and admittedly just like the F-Type convertible, the coupe has spoilt me into thinking that all cars that look mean should sound mean.
Needless to say, passing manoeuvres are effortless in this car thanks to its great power-to-weigh ratio.
Even if you decide to take the long way home though, the F-type’s superb adjustable suspension and 19” wheel combo won’t beat you up.
Don’t get me wrong it is a firm suspension setup and you sit low to the ground. But the ride is never uncomfortable and in “quiet” exhaust mode, there is no drone at highway speed.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the coupe and convertible is in cargo carrying capacity. Without the privilege of top-down motoring, the coupe’s trunk is significantly larger.
While I wouldn’t call it massive, I could easily term the space as highly usable. You can actually go on a week long vacation without having to buy extra underwear at your destination.
The coupe’s cargo hold can swallow ample amount of luggage for both you and your plus one. In contrast, the roadster’s cargo hold was only good for a couple of mid-sized duffle bags and a DSLR camera.
And now comes one of the few low points about the F-Type. While the car interior is dripping in understated luxury, it also seems a bit too conservative for those looking for a flashy interior to match the flashy exterior. Just look at Mercedes-Benz’s new AMG GT to see what I mean.
Secondly, the infotainment system is woefully out-of-date compared to the newer systems out there with more attractive graphics, an easier to understand user interface, and higher resolution screens.
Even the small LCD screen in between the two instrument cluster pods looks out-of-date and pixelated compared to something you might find in a $20,000 Subaru Impreza.
My sister, who is a user-interface designer at Samsung, asked me why there were hard buttons (which she liked) on either side of the infotainment system’s touchscreen, but yet the same soft buttons on the menu screen cluttering up the user interface. I honestly didn’t have a good answer for her.
Fortunately, the latest Jaguar Land Rover products, starting with the all-new Land Rover Discovery Sport, has revealed the company’s highly improved next generation infotainment system.
I sincerely hope that the new software is backed by adequate hardware to ensure a lag-free experience.
I’m sure you have heard the famous quote, “all good things must come to an end”.
But the fun doesn’t have to end if you buy yourself an F-Type coupe. I’m convinced that F is for “Fun” as it is for “F-Type”.
Like me, the key to your happiness may just be a press of the dynamic exhaust button away. Sure, you may wake up the neighbours but you can pretend to be a British villain whilst enjoying your F-Type coupe.
After all, it’s good to be bad isn’t it?
Price: base/as tested $84,900/$95,100
Destination charge: $1,450
Claimed fuel economy (L/100 km) City 10.8; Hwy 7.3 L
Standard features Performance bucket seats, paddle shifter, Reverse Park Camera, Sport Suspension with Adaptive Dynamics, Super Performance Brakes, Adaptive Xenon headlamps, Keyless start and entry, heated steering wheel, 14-way power seats, Switchable Active Sports Exhaust, Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity, Jaguar High Performance Braking System with black calipers, Limited-slip differential, Gloss Black and Chrome exterior trim, Jaguar Smart Key System, Configurable ambient interior lighting with five colour choices, Power folding, heated exterior mirrors with integrated LED turn signals and puddle lights, 8-speed “QuickShift” ZF transmission with Sport mode, power windows , seats and mirrors.
Options: Climate Package ($650), Premium Package ($2,500), Performance Package ($3,750), Vision Package ($2,500), Heated windshield ($350), 19-inch Propeller wheel (NC), XM Satellite Radio ($450).