The Jaguar F-Type Coupe is without question the most gorgeous car I’ve ever driven.
The F-Type needed to be beautiful. Jaguar has spent over two decades trying to remind people of the company’s legacy of stylish, high-performance sports cars, like the E-Type from the 1960s, XKSS from the mid-1950s, and the XJ-220 from the late 1980s.
With the F-Type Coupe, the carmaker has at long last erased 20 years of misses and near-misses on the design front. With this car, all is forgiven — you just can’t stop looking at it. I certainly couldn’t during the weekend I spent with the F-Type Coupe on a visit to Atlanta.
The F-Type has everything you would ever want in a Jaguar — or any sports car for that matter. I’ve already mentioned how great the car looks. But how about tons of horsepower? Check. Confident handling? Check.
And there’s a bonus: the rumble of the F-Type’s massive 5.0-liter V8 and the machine-gun backfire of the exhaust that goes with it.
It’s an intoxicating combination.
My $US100,000 test car — in fact, the top-of-the-range F-Type R — came equipped with just about every available option, including an excellent infotainment system, GPS navigation, and luscious, body-hugging leather sport seats. If a hundred grand is too steep for you, Jaguar will gladly sell you an “entry-level” supercharged V6 version, with 340 horsepower and a $US65,000 asking price.
I was able to put the stunning Jag and its rampaging 550-horsepower V8 through its paces on city streets, suburban highways, and even the twisty mountain roads of North Georgia’s Piedmont.
However, what sweetened the pot even more was the knowledge that I would have this beauty in my driveway for the next couple of days.
All in all, Jaguar design boss Sir Ian Callum did a spectacular job. In case you were wondering, he hasn't been knighted yet. But trust me, he will be.
Power for the F-Type R comes from a 5-liter, 550-horsepower supercharged V8. A less-powerful version of this engine can also be found in the Range Rover Sport, a totally different car but one I also loved.
The Coupe's interior is classy and surprisingly comfortable for a sports car. The infotainment system is very easy to use, with intuitive controls.
The interiors of sports cars can feel cramped, but a large glass roof panel gives this compact coupe a fantastic sense of airiness.
The F-Type Coupe looks great -- and drives great. The well-tuned chassis and smooth-shifting, 8-speed transmission handle the manic horsepower of the V8 with the poise and precision of John Elway in fourth quarter of a playoff game.
Even with the weight of the hulking V8 hanging over the front wheels, the Coupe powered into corners like Herschel Walker across a goal line. However, the less-powerful 380-horsepower V6 version may be even better around the twisty bits.
Even with a sport suspension and high-performance tires, the F-Type's ride remained supple and comfortable.
The best part about driving the Jag was the sound. With the 'active exhaust' feature turned on -- using a button on the center console -- the F-Type sounds like a raging, drunken Viking tearing through a seaside village. With the active exhaust off, the F-Type is a proper English gentleman out for a walk in the countryside.
Competitors, like the Porsche 911 Turbo, accelerate quicker and have higher top speeds -- but also have less power, cost $50,000 more, and don't offer the same soulful experience as the F-Type.
The Maserati GranTurismo looks fantastic and sounds like a beast. However, it has less power and slower acceleration than the Jag, and it costs $25,000 more.
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