Jaguar is phasing into the creation of some of the sexiest, most desirable cars on the road.
Since its late-2013 introduction, the Jaguar F-Type has stolen hearts around the world. Essentially a modern-day recreation of the historic E-Type, the low-slung convertible is a work of art. Not only is it stunning from every angle, the car goes the part, with available V6 and V8 engines, both supercharged. For 2015 though, after fans were already smitten with the convertible, Jag introduced a coupé; perhaps even more beautiful than the existing model. I had the opportunity to play with a 2016 Jaguar F-Type V6S Coupe to see how it compares to fierce competition.
The last time I drove an F-Type, it was a jet black convertible with the supercharged V6 and an exhaust note that made my heart throb. Expensive as it was, I had to own one of these – this kitty could very well be the best attainable car I had driven in a long time. When I first looked at the V6S coupé, I was confused at first. It had the same gorgeous hips as the convertible, but the low, raked roofline and practical rear liftgate allow the coupé to look even sexier, as if that was possible! This car isn’t just a rolling piece of artwork; it’s poetic. No matter where I went, the F-Type was the subject of camera phones. Oh, and the attention wasn’t bad – everyone seemed to take in the elegant beauty of the British tourer; everyone seemed to understand.
It’s not all looks though – the cat purrs like no tomorrow. Under the hood of my particular tester is Jaguar’s 3.0L supercharged V6 engine with a compression ratio of 10.5:1. Even though there is an optional V8, this is the motor I would have. It spits out a generous 380 horsepower at 6,500RPM, and 339 lb-ft of torque available between 3,500 and 5,000RPM. Though most buyers in Canada will opt for the eight-speed automatic, purists who pine after the British roadsters and coupés of the past (much like myself) will appreciate the six-speed manual equipped here. With the third pedal, the cat can surge to 100km/h in 5.3 seconds, and on to a top speed of 275 km/h (electronically limited).
There’s just so much magnificence to this Jaguar that it’s hard to describe it all. The exhaust is one of the most memorable parts of the car – the sport exhaust system is activated via a button on the center console and is quite possibly the most perfect factory exhaust currently available on a production car. Sure, there are cars with louder setups and cars with purer engine notes, but there just isn’t anything out there that feels this raw and refined at the same time. It sounds like a series of gunshots, one after the other, every time you let off the throttle. On acceleration, it’s a refined roar that reminds you of the nearly four hundred horses that live under the front-hinged hood (err…bonnet?).
For this year, Jaguar has made a few modifications to the lineup. When the F-Type was first introduced, it only came in convertible rear-drive form with an automatic transmission. New for this year are two major developments; the availability of the aforementioned manual gearbox as well as the addition of all-wheel-drive to the lineup. Both are significant in their own ways – all-wheel-drive means the car is more attainable for Canadians who intend to drive their wildcat year-round, and the stick-shift means purists like us can spec the car like a proper British sports car should be.
The eight-speed automatic used in all Jaguar and Land Rover products is sourced from transmission-mogul ZF, who has proven time and time again that they produce some of the very best gearboxes we know. This also means that Jaguar didn’t have to offer a manual, because the automatic is just that good. However, the availability of the third pedal means Jag still cares about history and heritage. Giving drivers what they want will mean more and more younger buyers will find their way into dealerships. Once they do, they’ll discover that the transmission is impeccably smooth in operation, with short throws on the shifter and excellent clutch feedback. I will say that the clutch took some getting used to at first, but within a few minutes, I was making the cat purr effortlessly.
Steering calibration on the manual-transmission F-Type is brilliant. There’s heft to the wheel, and the car changes direction on a dime. We had the chance to drive this car on a closed course too, and observed the slightest hint of oversteer only when the car was pushed hard. Otherwise, with stability control on, the car handles eagerly. The sport suspension with Adaptive Dynamics minimizes body roll around corners, and the low center of gravity means the F-Type remains flat in 99% of situations. The all-wheel-drive, automatic model gets the electric steering, which digitizes the car’s behaviour slightly. I prefer this model for maximum driver-car synergy.
The most surprising part of the F-Type is its fuel economy. Despite being a 380-horsepower sports car, they’ve managed to maintain some degree of efficiency. Over the course of our test, we somehow squeezed a combined 11.3L/100km on premium fuel. Of course, this was with a bit of spirited driving, but we imagine light-footed, conservative drivers would have no issues getting 9.8-10.2L/100km combined. The V6 model’s fuel tank will accept 70L of premium fuel.
In Canada, the 340-horsepower F-Type Coupe starts at just $77,500. Stepping up to the V6S brings the base price to $88,500, and adds a considerable amount of gear that makes this my favourite model in the lineup. This model includes slightly more power (from 340 to 380hp), 19” alloy wheels, the sport suspension, Active Sport Exhaust (a must for this car), configurable dynamic mode, a limited-slip differential, and high-performance brakes. The interior gets a few upgrades too, including a panoramic glass roof, satellite radio, 14-way adjustable sport seats, intelligent key, and heated mirrors with puddle lights.
Stepping into the small cabin is immediately reminiscent of the historic British roadsters of the past. Getting in and out for taller folks might be a bit of a challenge, but once in, the cockpit of the Jag is like nothing else. All controls are strategically placed for minimal distraction and ease of use. The infotainment system could use a more significant overhaul, but for the most part is easy to use. It’s a bit on the slower side, but it has received some minor updates over the years and is much better than it used to be in the past. Interior fit and finish is unmatched – everything fits together nicely and all materials are nice to the touch.
The 2016 Jaguar F-Type V6S Coupe is a car with few compromises. It very accurately pays homage to the famous British sports cars of the past, including Jaguar’s own E-Type – a legend in itself. With the only real downside being practical use of space (there really isn’t much in terms of cargo space), the F-Type is a car with many pros and almost no cons. Once a company known for elegance and pure luxury, Jaguar is phasing into the creation of some of the sexiest, most desirable cars on the road. This car is pure evil, and its tagline says it best – sometimes, it’s good to be bad.