Fantastic F-TYPE Coupe

ENZO Ferrari described the E-Type Jaguar as the most beautiful car in the world. Yet the E-Type that Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons first showed off at the Geneva Motor Show back in 1961 was a fixed head coupe while the open top roadster waited in the wings.

It took more than 50 years before Jaguar was to produce another two seater when the F-TYPE arrived last year – a sensuous convertible with awesome performance. Now comes the F-TYPE Coupe and it has even more venom.

The coupe is available in ultra high performance R specification with an astonishing top speed restricted to 186mph and supercar acceleration of 0 to 60 in four seconds dead. It is a firebrand in every way and described by Jaguar as the most dynamically capable, performance focused car it has ever made.

That’s a big claim but the F-TYPE R lives up to it by demonstrating amazing agility and balance. Fitted with torque vectoring control and an electronic active differential it manages the huge amount of power the 550ps supercharged five-litre V8 engine pumps through the rear wheels with complete composure.

Shod with carbon ceramic brakes – a £7,400 option on top of the £85,000 asking price – the new Jaguar showed its mettle when put through its paces on a race track in central Spain. The stopping power is immense reining in the car surely and swiftly from speeds in excess of 150mph while through the sharpest of bends and cruel cambers the handling was faultless as the systems kept the car in check.

The noise from the four exhausts – artificially enhanced to produce a soundtrack to delight any race car fanatic – is unmatched in this day and age and crackles and pops just like the legendary Le Mans winning Jaguars of the 1950s. It is an interpretation of all of Jaguar’s heritage in a car that is bang up to date.

Made entirely from aluminium the coupe is not only light in weight – the R tips the scales at 1.6 tonnes which is little more than a MINI – but it is also very rigid. With wide rear haunches its swooping lines are punctuated with aerodynamic tweaks that create a car that looks as fantastic as it performs.

A glass panoramic roof is an option which subtly alters the coupe’s poise as do stand out paint jobs which include a delicious rhodium silver and a rich dark blue. Perhaps it looks its best in bright salsa red with chrome detail in the side vents and around the windows highlighting the smooth lines.

A spoiler pops up from the tailgate at motorway speeds adding the equivalent of 18 stones in weight to the downforce while the design of the rear window is a straight flashback to the E-Type. Inside, as with the F-TYPE convertible the cockpit is intimate yet high tech and functional.

Golden finishes on the starter button and drive mode selector separate them from the other controls while an eight-inch colour touchscreen for the sat nav, onboard computer and communications systems sits below a bank of retractable vents which emerge from the top of the dash when the climate control activated.

Although the coupe has a much more  practical boot than the convertible – 315 litres to the parcel shelf which translates into enough space for three flight cases – it is still purely a two seater and side vision to the rear is limited. A parking camera is a must and the power operated tailgate is another useful option. R logos are embossed in the leather seatbacks and all the trim is finely stitched – a classy finish for a classy car.

The coupe will be arriving in the next few weeks with the R model becoming the flagship of a range that also includes two three-litre supercharged V6 versions priced from £51,235 for a 340ps model or £60,245 for a 380ps F-TYPE S Coupe.

While not quite as devastatingly quick as the F-TYPE R they are still out of the top drawer of Jaguar performance cars.

Both V6s hover around five seconds 0 to 60 and all F-TYPEs have eight speed quickshift  auto gearboxes with a stop/start system. Fuel economy is largely irrelevant for this type of car but Jaguar is claiming 32.1mpg for the V6, 31.0 for the S and 25.5 for the R with emissions of 205, 213 and 259 respectively.

On our drive in the F-TYPE R we saw an average close on 23 to the gallon while a cruising 70mph run in the F-Type S resulted in 34.5mpg showing considerable grand tourer potential with a range in excess of 500 miles from the 15.8 gallon tank.

They are gorgeous, uncompromising sports cars, some £7,000 cheaper than the roadster for the V6s while the F-TYPE R is £5,000 more than the V8 convertible but in a league of its own in the Jaguar stable for sheer performance.

It’s British sports car motoring at its best. Sturgess Jaguar, 445 Narborough Rd, Leicester LE3 2RE, Tel. 0116 366 0118