The 2016 Jaguar F-TYPE Coupe is still relatively new in the premium sports car scene, but it has received a few upgrades for this model year to further cement its position as a strong contender and well worth putting on the “must drive” list. It does everything it must: it’s stylish, fast, lithe and luxurious, plus it has that intangible and elusive desirability factor. Entry into the F-Type ownership club requires at least $65,995 (including $995 destination charge).
2016 Jaguar F-Type Coupe: New Car Review
What’s New for 2016
This might seem unusual, but the F-Type can now be bought with a six-speed manual transmission in rear-drive/V6 engine guise. Apparently, there was sufficient customer demand, even in North America. All-wheel drive is also available for the first time. It’s optional in S models and standard in the R.
Let’s be biased for a second: it’s gorgeous. There’s an elegance to the curves worthy of the name, but it doesn’t look like a pastiche, where old-school Jaguar design cues are re-hashed. The F-Type manages to come across as modern while still mindful of the marque’s heritage. This is how a sports car should look. We’re discussing the coupe here, but the convertible model is just as harmonious. It’s obvious that plenty of time and talent has gone into how the F-Type looks.
Activate the ignition with the start/stop button and the central air vents rise up from the dashboard, as if anyone needed reminding that driving an F-Type is always a grand occasion. It feels like a cockpit inside, with a chunky, smallish steering wheel and a gearshift lever placed in exactly the right spot. If anyone does buy the manual version, they’ll find the pedals to be ideally situated for heel-and-toe action (matching engine speed to road speed on downshifts).
F-Type “trims” are defined by what’s going on under that long, elegant nose. There’s a “regular” model with a V6, a boosted V6 in S trim, and a high-performance V8 in R trim. In Jaguar-speak, anything with an R suffix is similar to BMW’s M cars, with beefier brakes and re-calibrated suspensions.
Even the least expensive model still has a high-end Meridian surround-sound audio system as standard, along with 14-way power-adjustable seats and a panoramic glass roof. A configurable dynamics mode feature is now standard in S models, allowing the driver to set suspension, throttle response, gear shift and stability control parameters.
Comfort & Cargo Capacity
There’s only seating for two, but as long as the occupants like sitting low, they’ll be happy enough to be cosseted by fine leather, plush cushioning and subtle support. They’re definitely seats that you sit in, rather than on.
No one buys a sports car for its trunk space, but the F-Type coupe’s 14 cubic feet can easily accommodate a long weekend’s luggage for two. And there’s an optional power open/close trunk lid.
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have crash-tested the F-Type yet. But naturally it has anti-lock brakes (with electronic brake force distribution and emergency braking assist), traction and stability control all as standard. Blind spot monitoring is also available, while the all-wheel drive system can make things even more sure-footed.
The “entry level” F-Type starts with a 340-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V6. That same engine is boosted to 380 hp in the S. And at the top of the range is the barely civilized (in a good way) 550-hp supercharged 5.0-liter V8.
In the same order, fuel economy is rated at 19 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined (automatic transmission) and 16/24/19 (manual), then 19/27/22 (rear-drive S) and 18/26/21 (all-wheel-drive S). The R returns 15/23/18 mpg.
The automatic transmission in all models is an eight-speed with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. In auto or manual mode, the shifts are super-fast; when left to its own devices, gear changes are barely perceptible.
Photo Credit: Jaguar Land Rover
Although the supercharged V8 is fabulously fast (zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds) and gloriously vocal, the F-Type isn’t just about straight-line speed. With that classic front engine/rear-wheel drive layout, there’s a balance and precision to the chassis that could sway someone considering a Porsche 911 — it’s that good. Even the all-wheel drive system tends to favor the rear wheels under normal conditions. What might seal the deal is that the F-Type retains enough comfort to cope with rough surfaces and tedious city driving. Don’t think thrills are the sole preserve of the R, though. Both the “regular” and the S models still have sufficient muscle to satisfy most drivers.
Pros & Cons
Pros: Looks, presence, speed, noise, poise, plushness. Aluminum body means light weight, which is good for performance and fuel consumption. Not that the convertible version suffers from body flex or is any less safe, but most enthusiast drivers will always prefer a metal roof for the ultimate in rigidity.
Cons: Requires restraint, or speeding tickets will be a fact of life. Jaguars haven’t always been super-reliable in the past, but they’re improving considerably. Carbon ceramic brakes on the R are an expensive option at $10,000 (work really well, though).