Jaguar has always epitomized the proper gentleman’s car for me – especially its sports cars. The imagery of an Englishman with his driving cap donned, twisting down some wet country road after tea time flashes through my mind when I consider where a Jaguar should feel most at home. Sadly, Jaguar lost its way for a few years, producing less-than-stellar vehicles with even less-stellar reliability records.

However that tide is certainly turning, thanks to Jaguar’s new parent company Tata Motors. Jaguar, along with is sister company Land Rover, has seen vast improvements. Leading that charge for Jag is this: the F-Type.

Introduced in 2013 as a convertible and 2014 as a coupe, the F-Type has swung perceptions of the brand and enlivened and grown (or should I say replenished) its fan base. Jaguar does make other fantastic cars, but none of them boast the outright appeal and allure as the F-Type.

And within the F-Type category, none appeal more than the 550-horsepower F-Type R. With the keys in hand for a week, I set out to discover exactly what the F-Type – and its revived brand – have to say for themselves.

Continue reading for the full review

  • 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe - Driven
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Transmission:
    eight-speed auto
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    550 @ 6000
  • MPG(Cty):
    16
  • MPG(Hwy):
    23
  • Torque @ RPM:
    502 @ 2500
  • Energy:
    Supercharged
  • Displacement:
    5.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    186 mph
  • Layout:
    Front Engine, 4WD
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

TopSpeed Garage


Exterior

2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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There are plenty of beautiful vehicles these days, but few of them compete on the F-Type’s level. Its curves flow ever so gracefully over and around the more angular accents while the long, sloping hood with its twin vents and center bulge curve downward between LED-encrusted headlights to meet the menacing grille.

Its curves flow ever so gracefully over and around the more angular accents

Details like the capitalized font along the satin chrome bezel around those HID headlights are what make the F-Type complete. Those minute finishing touches bring together the shape and silhouette of the coupe for an extraordinary package.

Despite having a year under its belt, the coupe still turns heads, looking like it just jumped off the designer’s sketchpad. And though the F-Type looks more like a design concept than a production coupe, Jaguar managed to make the car ready for work. The large windows give excellent views outward, even rearward. The fat Pirelli P Zero summer tires grip the pavement, translating that to the independent suspension through 20-inch tires all the way around. Sized in 255/35ZR20 and 295/30ZR20, the tires grip like velcro.

Trumpeting its departure are the four, chrome-tipped exhaust pipes that are turned upward from the rear black valance. There’s no mistaking the F-Type R’s auditory presence, but more on that later.

Interior

2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe - Driven Interior
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2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe - Driven Interior
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2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe - Driven Interior
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Push the small button on the side of the door and watch the door handle swing outward. The Jaguar-inscribed piece of aluminum gives access to the F-Type’s cockpit-like cabin. The twin bucket seats greet you with thick bolstering. The leather-wrapped steering wheel falls nicely at hand, thanks to a power-adjustable steering column. The Audi R8-like grab handle along the center stack shows off the detailed French stitching that runs throughout the cabin, and the carbon fiber-like trim adds another level of sportiness to the already sporty interior.

The Start/Stop button’s red back-lighting pulses like a heartbeat

Once seated, you’re greeted with familiar Jaguar Land Rover finishings. From the HVAC controls with their center digital displays to the 8-inch infotainment screen, the interior is immediately recognizable.

As the car sits waiting to be cranked, the Start/Stop button’s red back-lighting pulses like a heartbeat. Press the button and the V-8 comes alive. So does the interior. The top HVAC vents rise from the dash while the twin analog gauges sweep their long needles from side to side. The pouncing Jaguar emblem appears on the infotainment screen and dissolves into the home screen as the V-8’s thunderous exhaust echoes the fall into a low idle. Pageantry is alive and well here.

Powertrain

2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe - Driven Drivetrain
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That pageantry spills over into the engine bay, where a 5.0-liter V-8 topped with a supercharger spins with purpose. The all-aluminum, dual-overhead-cam mill breaths through 32 valves, and direct injection delivers fuel precisely – all contributing to a massive 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque.

The sound emanating from those pipes cannot be overemphasized

That spent gases are sent through dual exhaust pipes to those quad tips. The sound emanating from those pipes cannot be overemphasized. Literally. Depress the Dynamic Exhaust button on the center console and throttle inputs are met with loud rings of violence that echo off the surrounding landscape. Lift off the gas and the sound turns to machine gun fire of pops and burbles. The experience is fantastic and one I won’t soon forget. Rolling the windows down for a better listen only works at low speeds, however Jaguar engineers have tuned the car in such a way that the exhaust noises permeate the cabin at respectability high levels. This gives you and your passenger the perfect soundtrack for blasting down a winding road.

This big cat isn’t all bark, however. Get it right without smoking the tires and you’ll find yourself at 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. Even hard acceleration is impeccably smooth and linear. The ZF eight-speed automatic transmission delivers shifts a dual-clutch tranny would be proud of. Shifts come quickly and with a relative firmness without being overly harsh. Downshifts are identical. Pull the steering wheel-mounted paddle, and the close-ratio box sends the revs climbing, the noise crescendoing toward fortissimos, and the ground speed falling.

Driving Impressions

2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe - Driven Interior
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Piloting the F-Type transports the average schmuck like myself into a James Bond state of mind, cultivating confidence both in driving skill and self-image. How can you not feel like a billion dollars behind this flat-bottomed steering wheel? I’d argue that it’s impossible.

Somewhat more objectively, the F-Type R behaves like a proper gentleman’s coupe. It’s well-mannered when you want it to be, yet handles like a raucous, tail-happy muscle car when you’re in the mood. The car’s mood centers around the little rocker switch that flanks the electronic gear shifter. Push the switch up for snow and rain, or pull it towards you for Dynamic Mode.

Like its feline namesake, the car seems to hunker down, ready to strike

This is where the car livens up. Like its feline namesake, the car seems to hunker down, ready to strike. The throttle response is instantaneous, as are the ZF’s shifts and steering inputs from the quick-ratio rack. The stability control affords more room for shenanigans without cutting completely off. That’s especially appreciated, as the RWD car is more than willing to dance sideways at the twitch of a toe. Turn the ESP off completely and such playful fun is even more accessible.

Thankfully all this excitement doesn’t cost the Jag its luxury. Interior ergonomics are spot-on, and controls are right where they should be – lending even more control and confidence to the driver. Slide the toggle switch to the center position to activate Normal mode, and the car settles down, eager only to eat miles and time down a dark highway. The Jag makes an excellent GT car.

Pricing

2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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Getting into an F-Type requires a cool $65,000. That, however, only nets the 3.0-liter V-6 coupe. Granted, the six also wears a supercharger and makes 340 horsepower, but it still lacks compared to the F-Type R. Buying into that club requires an even $99,000.

My R version tester came packing some additional goodies. The InControl Apps at $400; the Vision Pack 3 that includes adaptive and Intelligent headlights, front and rear parking sensors and a blind spot monitor system for $2,100; and the Black Pack 3 for another $400. With the $925 destination charge, the final price comes to $102,825.

Competition

Corvette Stingray

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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Mark McNabb spent a week testing the 2015 Corvette Stingray and its all-new eight-speed automatic transmisison.

While the Jaguar may wave its Union Jack with pride, the Corvette is all red, white, and blue. Though the C7 takes on some European design cues, its heritage is as American as baseball and apple pie. Still, the Stingray is highly competitive with the F-Type. The Vette’s 6.2-liter V-8 makes 460 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. Though down on power, the Vette holds its own in the race to 60 mph, needing only slightly more time, at 3.9 seconds.

The Corvette, especially when equipped with the Z51 Performance Package, will out handle the F-Type on the track. The problem then is bragging rights. Excuse yourself from the schoolyard argument and the F-Type offers up just as much fun with more luxury. Then again, for $20,000 less than the base F-Type R, you can park a 650-horsepower Corvette Z06 in your driveway. Checkmate?

Read our full review here

Porsche 911

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo High Resolution Exterior
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Hailing from the land of Oktoberfest and fast roads is the Porsche 911. Needless to say the 911 is a historic figure in the motoring world. Its rear engine, rear drive design dates back to Mr. Ferdinand’s original design of the Volkswagen Beetle in the early 1930s. The only problem with the modern 911 is its price to performance disparity. Choose the standard, $99,000 Carrera S and you’re down 150 horsepower. Opt for the 520-horse 911 Turbo, and the bill jumps to $151,000.

Whichever side your preference and wallet land on, The 911 offers fantastic performance, along with two extra seats for the kids. The run to 60 mph only takes 3.2 seconds in the Turbo while the 911 Carrera S takes 4.1 seconds when equipped with the PDK transmission.

Read our full review here

Conclusion

2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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The Jaguar F-Type R Coupe lives up to the hype. It’s an honest and proper luxury coupe disguised as a sports car with a ferocious V-8, meaty tires, and an exhaust note that makes grown men melt with lust. While the Stingray gives it a hard run, the F-Type fires back with a uniquely British feel and next-level class, but then again, there’s that price difference. But that price difference acts as the great divide – separating the men from the boys in terms of the elegance of their toys. And that’s where the Jag excels, delivering the über upscale feel along with the performance credentials that are essential in this league.

Well done, Jaguar.

  • Leave it
    • * More pricy than the competition
    • * Gauge cluster is hard to see through the wheel
    • * Useless sun visors
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