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Jaguar F-Type long-term review

The Jaguar F-Type coupe won a best buy in the What Car? Car of the Year Awards 2015. We're running one for a year to see how it copes.

Words ByNic Cackett

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The car Jaguar F-Type Coupe 5.0 V8 R
Run by Nic Cackett, deputy reviews editor
Needs to Justify its outrageous thirst with a high-class, exciting edge
Run by WhatCar? since January 2015

My rating

What is the Jaguar F-Type like?

The R is considered the ultimate expression of the F-Type - Jaguar’s spiritual and therefore very high profile follow-up to the iconic E-Type. The range-topping model is sold exclusively with a supercharged V8 petrol engine and eight-speed QuickShift automatic gearbox.

This year, Jaguar will introduce the option of four-wheel drive to the R, but our test car is rear-wheel drive. It sits on stiffer suspension than the rest of the F-Type range, and has a clever electronic diff to help it deal with 542bhp at 6500rpm. Predictably, all this comes at a price: the R starts at Β£85,000. Ours, with options, cost Β£96,500.

What’s the Jaguar F-Type like to drive?

Superb, if you enjoy the noise and electrifying performance of a rear-driven coupe. Given the F-Type’s short wheelbase, you sit very close to the rear axle, making the long nose feel like a pointy, incisive way of aiming down a road. The steering is light yet very direct, and wieldy in a way that helps the car seem manageable when not exploiting its vast potential.

In such moments the R rides well and will return around 22mpg, but that’s hardly what this version of the F-type is about. This is a show-off’s car to its core; even with its exhaust valves in their quieter default mode, the R is emphatically audible. Push the appropriate button and the V8's extraordinary commotion comes perilously close to being anti-social.

The car’s pace is on a similar level. That 60mph is achievable in four seconds dead hardly describes the savagery of the V8. According to Jaguar, peak torque isn’t on tap until 3500rpm, but the R reacts far more quickly than that suggests; the supercharger making it extremely responsive to even gentle throttle inputs. Sustain these and the R will be very tail-happy when cornering.

What’s the Jaguar F-Type inside?

The F-Type’s cabin is a great starting point for a more hardcore edition. Jaguar is well aware of the requirements of its customer base, meaning there’s no place for the kind of stripped-out excess that a firm like Porsche would apply to such a model. The R remains well-appointed and very decently equipped.

You sit low - as you’d want to - with the dashboard and centre console both looming presences. There’s endless adjustment, although the car will naturally want you to sit with arms outstretched and the seat back reclined. The steering wheel rim is a satisfying handful, while the gearknob (shared with the Range Rover Sport) is purposefully modeled on a joystick.

The standard of the trim finish perhaps isn’t up to the standard of some of its German rivals’ - particularly at this price - and there are a few squeaks and rattles from the interior which you wouldn’t find elsewhere. Nevertheless, the seats are very comfortable, the dials legible and the general ambience absolutely spot on.

Specification

Sitting atop an already expensive lineup, the F-type gets an appropriately bumper kit list. On the outside, you’ll find 20-inch alloys, power fold mirrors, a red-calipered performance braking system, xenon headlights (with LED daytime running lights) and the distinctive quad exhaust pipes.

Inside, there’s automatic climate control, cruise control, leather seats, satellite navigation, a 10-speaker Meridian sound system, 7in touchscreen, DAB tuner and rear parking sensors. That said, there’s plenty of scope for enhancement; our test car adds the visibility pack (better headlights and a heated windscreen) for Β£1350, the carbon ceramic brake pack (with forged β€˜Storm’ wheels) for Β£8400, plus the parking pack for Β£500 and the (essential) panoramic glass roof for Β£1250.

Jaguar F-Type problems

Aside from its ferocious thirst, the R has, so far, been faultless.

Jaguar F-Type Coupe R statistics
Price Β£85,000
Target price Click here for the latest price

Fuel economy 22mpg
True MPG na
Emissions/company car tax 259g/km/35%
Cost per mile 186p
Insurance group 20
Typical quote Β£1195