by: Jag Dhatt
When the new Jaguar F-Type made its debut in 2013, it turned a lot of heads. Originally offered as a convertible only, Jaguar then unveiled the Coupe in the spring of 2014. I first saw the new feline up-close during the 2014 Vancouver Auto Show, and let me tell you, it was the highlight of the show. Just a few weeks ago, I was handed the keys to a brand new Polaris White F-Type S Coupe. It was going to be a great week.
Okay, for starters, let’s just get this out of the way – the F-Type Coupe is just plain sexy from any and every angle. Inspired by the iconic E-Type, this new cat boldly carries the Jaguar bloodline with class and elegance. The gently sloping, delicate roofline is distinctive from the roadster and, according to most who see the car, looks far more seductive and appealing. Chief designer Ian Callum said he wanted to keep a retro-inspired design, a smart move in my opinion. In essence, the roofline mixed with the rear hatch design is what sets this car apart from anything else. The rear wheel arches have a swollen look, a design element shared with the open-top version. Also at the rear is the carefully hidden, retractable “spoiler”, which deploys at speeds higher than 100 km/h. The rear also features LED taillights, while at the front of the car, Jaguar’s J-blade LED running lights are kept. The front of the F-Type cat has a wide mouth to allow in fresh cool air for the supercharged engine.
Unlock the doors and the retractable door handles open, a theme common in many parts of the car. Inside the new coupe is familiar, yet slightly distinctive; for those with an eagle eye, you’ll notice clear similarities to the Range Rover Sport. Unlike some of the other Jaguar models, there is now an actual shifter, which I prefer, rather than the rotating knob. At the center of the dash sits an 8” full colour touch screen that houses all climate, audio, telephone, navigation, and vehicle settings. Yes, there are also buttons for quick settings, but the infotainment system can control everything, which it does quite well. Since there is only a fixed roof on the F-Type Coupe, choose the glass roof upgrade and let the natural light shine in, to showcase the beauty of the interior. Seats provide great support and I would feel comfortable driving this cat for hours at a time, which is exactly what I did.
There is just something about the sound of the F-Type S motor when it comes alive, like the intimidating roar of a waking lion. Pressing the start button also raises the retractable center vents; even though this feature isn’t overly practical, it’s pretty darn cool. The S upgrade package features an active exhaust, which provides an amazing growl, caused by the opening of the bypass valves, similar to that of a straight-pipe setup. So many times, I would downshift, using the paddle shifters, just to hear the pops and burbles from this European exhaust system.
Power for the F-Type comes from a variety of engine setups. The base supercharged 3.0L V6 provides an impressive 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, sending the car from 0-60 mph in just 5.1 seconds. Next up, and my choice, is the V6 S, which features the same engine, but it’s been tuned to 380 hp and 339 lb-ft of torque, giving a 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds. If you want to replace your tires every year, then the obvious choice is the F-Type R; this supercharged V8 produces a whopping 550 hp and gets this beast to 60 mph in just 4.0 seconds. Yes, the numbers are great, but how does the car drive?
While driving, the first things that grabbed my attention were the responsiveness of the engine and the steering. Every time I put the pedal down, the car would lunge forward and the exhaust sound became music to my ears. Jaguar also has its Dynamic Driving mode and when activated, it changes the gear ratios to give an even more impressive driving sensation. Dynamic mode also causes the instrument panels to glow bright red, letting you know that the beast is ready for action. The F-Types keep the hydraulic steering when others have moved to electric steering, and let me tell you, I’m glad they did. There is great feedback from the steering system, making the driver feel completely connected with the car and road. If you don’t mind electric steering, then head towards the new Cayman GTS, where Porsche has pretty much perfected it. The 8-speed ZF transmission is an absolute gem, shifting seamlessly and without any hiccups. It delivers control, accuracy and the punch of a dual-clutch transmission with the smoothness of a traditional shifter.
I found the F-Type to be quite easy to drive in the city, but amazing to drive on the open roads, especially the Sea-to-Sky highway. Cornering was amazing, with the 19” tire and wheel package keeping me firmly planted at all times. I was lucky that during my time with the car, weather was just about perfect; it didn’t, however, allow me to test the traction and limited slip differential systems. The F-Type’s Sport suspension and Adaptive Dynamics gave a pretty smooth ride, considering how low the car is. For a car that gets up to speed pretty fast, it’s important that it stops just as fast and Jaguar’s High Performance Braking System did not disappoint.
Without any hesitation, I can honestly say that this is one of the best and most enjoyable coupes I’ve driven. What made this driving experience even better was the looks and comments that the car received whenever and wherever I stopped. There was not a single day where someone did not stop to admire or take pictures of the car. Some people even compared the styling to the Aston Martin Vantage – now that’s quite a compliment. Kudos to Tata and their stewardship for making this Jaguar thrive in today’s market. For a sticker price of $84,900 for the F-Type S, one would be hard pressed to find anything else that comes close.