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2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe Test Drive

The 2015 Jaguar F-Type marks a triumphant return for Jaguar to the sports car sector and refuses to blend in with the crowd. The vehicle is loud and brash, and the snap, crack and popping burbles coming from the exhaust — especially in F-Type R trim — is something we can’t get enough of. The car has all the makings of an instant classic.

For performance drivers, the 2015 Jaguar F-Type offers a lot in every test of performance. Acceleration, top speed, braking and handling are all top shelf and offer one factor that is immeasurable – fun! The F-Type has a real soul, a car you can connect with and don’t want to get out of.

With a $65,000 entry price for the 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe, buyers are getting a solid deal for a performance vehicle at a price less than one might expect. Even at the top trim level, the 550hp F-Type R at $99,000 is an amazing deal for the performance, luxury and technology it offers, and it will certainly attract buyers from other brands.

Pros:  Sound of the supercharged V8 R and V6 S, beautiful from every angle, attractive base price and top trim price

Cons: Fuel economy is not great, limited and awkward cargo space

2015 Jaguar F-Type

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You get a lot more for your performance and luxury dollar with Jaguar products of today versus years past. Jaguar had a distinct lull of exciting products in the 90s, lingering into the next decade, but has rebounded with exciting new product due in large part to the 2015 Jaguar F-Type. Debuting first as a roadster, the Jaguar F-Type was immediately regarded as the brand’s return to the sports car arena after a long absence. And the F-Type has steadily improved with new engine options, body styles and even the grip of all-wheel drive for 2016. We spent a week with a 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe, the peak performance trim currently offered by the British nameplate.

Exterior

In a reverse maneuver, Jaguar opted to storm into the sports car sector with a roadster version of the F-Type as its premier offering. While most companies debut the hardtop coupe version first, this launch of the roadster not only flaunted the beautiful lines of the Jag, but also paid homage to the sequence of the legendary Jaguar E-Type of the early 1960s, which started life as a roadster but arrived as a coupe six model years later.

After the Jaguar F-Type Roadster went on sale, the Coupe surfaced and its striking appearance resonated with both fans of the brand as well as the automotive press. The Coupe is also a two-seater but adds a larger cargo hold (11 cubic feet versus 7) with the addition of a sloped hatchback and the lack of mechanics associated with operating a convertible roof. The Coupe also has extensive use of aluminum; meanwhile inherent qualities of the Jaguar F-Type Coupe better the Roadster in terms of performance thanks to a lighter and more rigid body structure that is 80-percent stiffer. While the classic E-Type roadster might have been the more athletic older brother of the coupe back in the 60s, the modern 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe is the dominant of the two models, handily outperforming the Roadster. Drivers can immediately feel the difference.

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Our Jaguar F-Type R Coupe tester carried the inherent good looks of the Roadster, but with a far sleeker silhouette and a number of visual upgrades that enhance its presence. The test vehicle was fitted with a $1,200 panoramic glass roof which allowed an abundance of light inside of the cabin. The F-Type R also featured the $400 Black Pack 3 option, which adds piano black accents to the exterior of the vehicle. We tested the regular steel brakes, but an optional $12,000 Carbon Ceramic braking package (for all but the base model) adds large composite rotors with yellow calipers along with imposing 20-inch gloss black wheels. The base model features 18-inch wheels, the F-Type S 19s and the F-Type R sports a big set of 20-inch wheels.

While we believe that the ceramic brakes would enhance the appearance of the Jag, unless you are driving at the track and require extreme braking, the option might not be ideal for stop-and-go traffic, as the more expensive brakes offer less low-speed performance and higher maintenance costs. Regardless, the standard steel brake setup is very capable and is able to scrub off speed quickly in this 3,638-pound car.

Two of our favorite features are standard equipment on all F-Type trims: the active rear spoiler that seamlessly integrates into the rear deck-lid on the Coupe (and Roadster), and the slick hidden exterior door handles that fold in flush but extend out when the vehicle is unlocked.

Interior

Across all models, Jaguar has stepped up its game with interior space for both driver and passenger. What we appreciate about all Jaguar interiors is that each one offers an added distinction and flare versus its German competitors. The 2015 Jaguar F-Type continues this trend. Our tester featured the upgraded leather package costing $2,200, and came with well-crafted red stitching on the seats, door cards, center console and dash. The blazing red duo inserts grace the 14-way adjustable power, heated high-back seats, which provided more than enough bolster support to dive confidently into any corner.

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The gauge cluster is built around the large analog tachometer and speedometer, which are both easy to read. Sandwiched in between is a digital display capable of relaying all of the engine’s vitals, settings and levels, and is controlled with easy to use buttons located on the steering wheel. The 2015 Jaguar F-Type R’s steering wheel itself is a flat-bottom design that’s compact in diameter and near perfect in grip with its leather-wrapped surface.

On top of the center stack are motorized vents that rise from the dash. Below the active vents is Jaguar’s intuitive infotainment system flanked by a variety of quick button controls for navigation, phone, park distance sensors and more. The system is easy to use and quickly set up to our Android and Apple Bluetooth devices. With the array of onscreen settings and adjustments, we were thrilled to see the old school three dial dual climate control system. LCD displays within the dials provided a modern touch.

Surrounding the decidedly BMW-esque shift lever, we found an array of controls including Dynamic Drive and Winter Mode buttons. Pull down the button towards the checkered flag and the 2015 Jaguar F-Type R springs to life, altering throttle, transmission and steering responsiveness. Below that we found some of the buttons that control the fun, including the traction control deactivation buttons, the spoiler deployment button and, our personal favorite, the exhaust valve control that uncorks this snarling supercharged V8.

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We found the materials to be both functional and upscale. One of the popular interior criticisms has been the faux-carbon accents, which we argue looks great, especially with the ‘R’ logo pressed on it. Another nice touch we found were the rubberized controls, which included the start button and the paddle shifters mounted behind the steering wheel.

Performance

As we mentioned, all of our favorite controls reside around the shift lever. We motored around the entire week with the unbridled settings of open exhaust valves, the traction control turned off and Dynamic Drive mode enabled to maximize the experience of the already well maximized experience. Under the aluminum clamshell hood is the peak of Jaguar performance: a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 making an impressive 500 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque. The result of all that obscene power at one’s disposal is a memorable driving experience on any road. This is a vehicle that will tear through the 60 mph barrier from a stop in only 3.9-seconds on its way to a terminal speed of 186 mph. The 2015  Jaguar F-Type R is extremely fast when you need it to be, but composed and comfortable when called upon.

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The paddle shifters are easy to grasp and snap off quick shifts using the outstanding ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. Purists will argue for a manual transmission, but this box is great to live with and allows drivers to focus on spirited driving with the instant click of a paddle instead of cumbersome shifts that require pushing the clutch in and letting the clutch out. The Jaguar F-Type-R blips on downshifts and is snappy on each upshift, with the angry V8 snarling, popping and gurgling all the time with the exhaust opened up. The sounds emanating from this Jag were simply magical and surrounding motorists could not give it enough praise at stoplights while pedestrians scrambled to record the F-Type’s soundtrack on their smartphones.

Aside from giving the local traffic lots of entertainment, this is a great driver’s car. The F-Type R is well-balanced, has great braking capabilities and, due in large part of the stiffer chassis and Adaptive Dynamics suspension, provides a supercar-like experience. Around the twists and turns, the 2015 Jaguar F-Type R is easy to control and predictable; however, it will step out of line and electronic assists should only be turned off by seasoned drivers. The Torque Vectoring system will modulate the brakes for crisp, precise handling in conjunction with an Electronic Active Differential.

With all of this capability, we wondered how the F-Type R would fare in fuel economy. Not that buyers of a car like this are terribly concerned with fuel consumption, but they surely don’t want the numbers to border on ridiculous. In the city, the V8 F-Type R attains 16 MPG, while reaching a decent 23 MPG on the highway. For those looking to trim both fuel and purchase costs, there is the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 found in the base model producing 340 horsepower and boasting 19 MPG city with 28 MPG highway.

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For drivers needing a bit more thrust, the F-Type S has a tuned version of the same forced-induction V6 rated at 380 horsepower with 339 lb-ft of torque (19 MPG city / 27 MPG highway). The F-Type S might be the way to go for those wanting the Jaguar sports car experience on a budget. With a lower MSRP, nearly identical mileage to the base model, but noticeably better mileage than the supercharged V8, mne might argue that the V6 sounds just as fantastic (or even better) than the snarling supercharged V8, while also saving the driver money at the pump.

Beyond the performance numbers versus competitors like the Dodge Viper, Chevrolet Corvette or even the Porsche 911, the 2015 Jaguar F-Type possesses real soul that truly connects with driving enthusiasts. It’s quite possibly the best car Jaguar has ever built and with its classic lines, drop-dead gorgeous hind quarters and the haunting sounds emanating from its exhaust, the F-Type R enhanced our experience and made it one of the year’s most memorable drives.

Safety

All F-Type trims come with a host of safety options to keep occupants safe. Standard are front and side airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners and emergency brake assist with ABS. Additionally, all F-Types have Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Advanced Traction Control. Our F-Type R was also fitted the optional Vision Pack 3, a $2,100 option that adds adaptive and intelligent front lighting, front sensors, a rear view camera and a blind-spot monitor.

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Price

The base 2015 Jaguar F-Type starts at $65,000 (MSRP). It comes equipped with the 340 horsepower engine and is a stylish and exhilarating machine to own. Step up to the 380 horsepower V6 in the F-Type S and buyers are set back $77,000 (MSRP). However, for some extra money, buyers can go to the top-of-the-line Jaguar F-Type R, which starts at $99,000 (MSRP). Our near fully loaded car came in with an as-tested price of $106,175 (MSRP).

Overall

We had one memorable week with the 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe. The Jaguar is one of the best looking vehicles available today from virtually any angle and while the supercharged V8 will alter your motoring expectations, we feel the base supercharged V6 is a great option for open top motoring versus some competitors out there. We’re excited to have a real Jaguar back and eager to see how the F-Type evolves over the years knowing full well that all expectations from the car so far have surely been met.

 

 

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