How do you follow up the most beautiful new car of the 2014 model year? Slap a roof on it and bask in aesthetic accolades throughout the 2015 cycle as well. The actual process of designing a fixed-roof version of the Jaguar F-Type roadster was in reality significantly more complex than that simple formula might indicate, but the end result has been the same: the 2015 Jaguar F-Type coupe is an absolutely gorgeous follow-up to the convertible that has sparked a sports car renaissance at the British brand.
Poetry In Motion – And Tire Smoke
It’s really hard to overstate just how striking the 2015 Jaguar F-Type S coupe is in person. During our time together the vehicle attracted more attention than any other car I have driven in the past two years. Being behind the wheel of the F-Type S coupe was an open invitation to compliments, questions, and a variety of intricate hand gestures, regardless of whether the car was parked or moving along with the flow of traffic. I even had a young man ask my permission to just ‘take a walk around my car’ at a gas station. Jaguar has translated the F-Type roadster’s sculpted brashness into a sleek flowing elegance via the coupe’s teardrop roofline, and it has paid off to an impressive degree. This is a car that is impossible to ignore, so shrinking violets might be better off behind the wheel of a 911 or an SL-Class.
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Inside The Velvet Glove
The old cliché about sports cars goes something like ‘a steel fist wrapped in a velvet glove,’ but the 2015 Jaguar F-Type S coupe’s cockpit turns that analogy inside out, as there’s a total absence of anything inside the model other than plush luxury. The two-seat F-Type delivers a driver-oriented cabin that combines old-world premium cues such as high end leather seats with modern touches like the high-tech shifter design and array of performance-enhancing buttons to be found on the car’s center console. The infotainment gear inside the F-Type coupe isn’t quite as flashy as the rest of the vehicle, but it passes muster, and there’s a sizable trunk grafted on to the rear of the coupe that can be accessed via the vehicle’s large hatch opening.
Symphony of Destruction
It would be enough for the Jaguar F-Type S coupe to coast on its looks, but this pretty face hides a snarling mechanical personality that adds an extra layer of menace to an already breathtaking visage. The S model that I drove was outfitted with the mid-level drivetrain option offered by Jaguar’s two-door: a 380 horsepower, 3.0-litre supercharged V-6 that is also good for 339 lb-ft of torque. One can also find a 340 horsepower version of this motor under the hood of the base F-Type, and there’s a ridiculous 550 horsepower supercharged V-8 on call for those who elect to pay for the much more expensive R model.
I’m of the mind that the F-Type S is actually the best of the three available options, for a variety of reasons. For one, the 380 horses that lie under your right foot when driving this version of the coupe translate into appreciable gusto yet never threaten to overwhelm the well-planted mechanical grip of the vehicle’s enormous 19-inch wheels and tires. Next up is the sound. Oh, the sound. S models gain not just an active exhaust button that, when pushed, opens up a secondary set of baffles inside the Jaguar’s pipes, but it also features Dynamic Mode (not available with entry-level coupes), a setting that tightens steering and suspension response while also automatically blipping the throttle during downshifts. The resulting aural assault that occurs when you pull back on one of the car’s paddles and select a lower gear has the might and tonality to destroy neighbourhoods, peel paint from the front porch, and shatter pavement. It’s glorious, and it’s further accompanied by the amplified detonations of off-throttle fuel blowing out the back pipes in a delightful gurgle that could only be described as Godzilla gargling a subway train.
Value, Thy Name Is S
Honestly, that last paragraph alone should have been enough to sell you on the F-Type S as the ‘most likely to succeed’ member of the coupe clan. Consider this, however: the more robust of the two six-cylinder F-Types presented by Jaguar is tens of thousands of dollars cheaper than the eight-cylinder R. I recorded the F-Type S as hitting 100 km/h in a very quick 4.5 seconds, and while the V-8 version is undoubtedly quicker in a straight line it requires one to take more care in a performance driving situation so as not to upset the balance of the car with the over-zealous application of the throttle.
Harmony is such an important, and rare consideration in a world where luxury sports cars are ever more focused on matching jet aircraft with their output numbers, and it’s exciting that Jaguar has chosen to accentuate this trait with what is their most fully-realized vehicle in years. It also shows that infusing some humanity into the sheet metal wrapped around your land missile – aluminium, in this case – can create a machine that transcends its spec sheet. The 2015 Jaguar F-Type S coupe is a remarkably fresh premium entry into a segment that’s been so distracted by technology that time and again it’s forgotten to marry beauty to the beast.e