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The Top Gear car review:Jaguar F-Type Coupe
For:V8 soundtrack, more practical than convertible, enhanced handling
Against:R is very expensive, ride more sudden than you might expect of a Jag
5.0 Supercharged V8 R 2dr Auto
Jag’s tyre-chewing two-seater gains a proper stick-shift. Ollie Marriage exercises his left boot
The rear-drive F-Type is a paragon of oversteer. Is the four-wheel drive version more manageable?
A fine-handling, cosseting, pretty Jag. Fast, too. But not as complete as the V6S.
It’s the entry-level, base V6 Coupe with ‘only’ 335bhp. Can you live with that?
UPDATE: more thoughts on the F-Type R - Jag’s quickest car around the ‘Ring - and V6 S. They’re good…
Gorgeous Jag gets a hard top and even more powerrrrr. Paul Horrell mans up to take on the 542bhp two-door
What we say:
The Coupe proves that Jaguar can build a top line sports car
What is it?
The hard top version of the Roadster that arrived back in 2013. If you were wondering why Jaguar bucked the usual trend and launched the convertible first, well, you can blame America. It’s the biggest F-Type market and they demanded the drop top first. So got it.
But back to the coupe. Developed in tandem with the drop-top Jag, it uses the same pair of supercharged V6 engines with either 335bhp or 375bhp for the lesser two models (priced at £51,775 and £60,775 respectively), while above them – quite a long way above them – sits the £86,825 Coupe R. This uses the same basic 5.0-litre supercharged V8 powerplant as the V8 R convertible, but with the wick turned up another 54bhp to 542bhp. For 2016, Jaguar brought in manual gearboxes and AWD as well. It says it’s a particularly rear-led system, so shouldn’t lose too much of the regular car’s attitude - but give more opportunity to use all its power. Spot these cars by their reprofiled bonnet bulges.
The inevitable comparison here is against the convertible and it’s a good place to start. Not least because it’s the mid-range V6 S cabrio that’s the best to drive. The V8 R is certainly faster, but with so much power can be a bit wayward and has traction… issues. So you’d expect the R Coupe to be even more wild, but it’s not.
The solid roof means there’s more strength in the chassis and the suspension has been lightly modified, too. The end result is a car that’s more harmonious, better balanced and allows you to use more of its power, more of the time. It’s a bundle of fun to drive, maybe not quite as together as a Porsche 911, but arguably more entertaining – not least because of the epic soundtrack that continually erupts from the four exhausts. The addition of AWD should make it even less intimidating; manual on the V6s adds to the driver engagement nicely.
On the inside
The cabin layout, as you might have guessed, is much the same as the convertible’s, but somehow the hard top feels more special inside. In part this is due to the shape of the roofline and the fact more light gets in, something that’s enhanced should you specify the optional glass roof. We’d suggest you do – it lifts the interior ambience a treat (and all the structural reinforcement is actually built in around it, so it shouldn’t unduly affect the dynamics).
Perhaps even more importantly, the shapely back end now includes a hatchback and a far more accommodating boot. You can actually get things in it, like shopping bags and suitcases. You can still only take one passenger with you, mind.
Well, the V6 coupe undercuts the convertible by around £7,000 and to our eyes is the better looking of the pair. That will pretty much seal it for most. Residuals are proving to be solid, helped no end by the looks: let’s hope Jaguar doesn’t get too greedy with volumes. Oh, and watch the fuel economy – the supercharger has a thirst and the trip computer ain’t the most accurate.