In 1961, the breathtakingly beautiful Jaguar XK-E knocked the automotive world on its ear and today it is often considered to be one of the 100 most beautiful cars in the world. While few modern cars can ever approach the XK-E’s sublime and sensuous beauty, I couldn’t help but think of it when I laid eyes on the 2015 F-Type coupe.
The coupe’s long nose and flowing roofline bear more than a passing resemblance to the profile of the XK-E, also known as the E-Type. The muscular haunches and sharp character lines that punctuate the fenders all speak of power and speed. The car drew comments wherever I drove it.
The coupe is the second F-Type model. The convertible was new last year. Jaguar has announced that production of the XK will cease this summer, leaving the smaller and less-expensive (relatively speaking) F-Type as the only Jaguar sports car.
Compared to the XK, the all-aluminum F-Type feels lighter and more agile. It is an exceptionally competent machine that blends road holding with a ride that is firm but not harsh. It feels taut and secure yet it is pliant enough to be comfortable for a long drive. It is composed and confident in corners.
The coupe comes in base, S and R models. The base car with a 340-horsepower supercharged V-6 starts at $65,000. Jump up to the S, with 380 supercharged horsepower, for a starting price of $77,000. The high-performance R gets 550 horsepower from its supercharged V-8 and it starts at $99,000. All use an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
I drove an S model from Jaguar’s press fleet and found that the V-6 makes for more than enough power. The engine has direct fuel injection, an Eaton supercharger, dual overhead cams and variable cam-shaft timing. Jaguar says the V-6 can hit 60 miles per hour in 4.8 seconds, and it has a top track speed of 171 mph. While the V-6 does not have the explosive acceleration of the V-8, it pins you back in the seat with a satisfying surge. The acceleration is enhanced by the active exhaust that can be opened up with a button on the console. It roars under full throttle and crackles during deceleration, and that’s fun.
The test car’s light gray cabin was pleasant, almost calming. The extended leather package put soft hides on the seats, dash and headliner. The climate package added dual-zone climate control, heated seats and a heated steering wheel. Wind and road noise are nicely muted.
Vents in the top of the instrument panel rise when the car is started and retract when it is turned off. For what reason, who knows, but it’s a subtle way of welcoming the driver. The center console has three round multifunction knobs that control temperature, operate the fan and turn on the heated seats. Audio and navigation are controlled by a touch screen. The steering wheel has buttons for audio, cruise and hands-free telephone.
The deep but somewhat narrow trunk has 11 cubic feet of space so packing light is the order of the day for weekend trips. An additional hidden storage space is under the trunk floor. There is no spare tire.
Price: The base price of S coupe was $77,000. Options include heated seats and steering wheel, satellite radio, panoramic glass roof, Morzine cloth headliner, Cirrus carpet, adaptive headlights, blind spot monitor, dual-zone climate control, 14-way power seats, performance brakes, flat-bottom steering wheel, active exhaust and adjustable suspension. The sticker price was $92,125.
Warranty: Four years or 50,000 miles.