Jag shines with 550-hp F-Type R Coupe

The 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe. (Bud Wells photos)

The 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe. (Bud Wells photos)

Eighteen months after the new Jag roadster stole the spotlight at the Denver Auto Show, the hardtop version, the 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe, came my way.

What a tough, robust two-seater sports car it is, with a 550-horsepower, 5-liter supercharged V-8 twisting out 502 lb.-ft. of torque.

A simple pull of a small switch beside the shifter activates dynamic drive mode for the Jag; the performance enhancement is felt about as quickly as the extreme roar is heard from the quad exhausts. The response is tremendous, with tightened steering. The coupe will do the 0-to-60 sprint in 4 seconds and boasts a top speed of 188 miles per hour.

Shifts are almost imperceptible with an 8-speed automatic transmission, though control can be quickened with use of orange paddle shifters at either side of the steering wheel.

The R-package’s retuned dampers boost the level of superb handling. The cornering grip mixes a sense of security with the fun of the drive.

Complementing the coupe’s large power capability are extra big brakes, with tremendous stopping strength. They’re 15-inch rotors in front and 14.8 at the rear. Red calipers draw attention to the sizable rotors in the 20-inch wheels. They run on Pirelli 255/35ZR20 tires.

The sleek Jaguar looked right at home outside Elway’s at Cherry Creek one noon last week when we joined Ted King for a birthday lunch for his wife, Shirley.

Shirley King tests Jag’s seating.

Shirley King tests Jag’s seating.

With its long, sloping hood and big nose out front, the low-slung F-Type exudes appeal to streetgoers throughout downtown Denver. It stands only 52 inches in height and is of medium overall length; at 176 inches it is almost half-a-foot shorter than a Mercedes-Benz SL550.

The ivory-colored interior is luxuriant and bright. Finished in premium leather, it features touchscreen navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and a 770-watt, 12-speaker Meridian sound system.

The F-Type interior.

The F-Type interior.

A small rear window and wide C pillars limit view out the rear, and, on the highway, when a rear panel lifts for downforce at higher speeds, there’s even less vision. And, up front, the sun visors are the smallest (shallowest) I remember, measuring less than 3 inches. They barely fall into the top of the windshield area.

When the Jaguar is locked, door handles retract flush into the body panel for a neat look at the side, especially for the fact the side mirrors also fold in. The handles, very plain in appearance, lend an awkward look when they’re unlocked, jutting out at an odd angle.

“Plain-jane” Jag door handle.

“Plain-jane” Jag door handle.

The R Coupe comes in at a staggering price of $102,825. A standard F-Type coupe, with power from a 3.0-liter V-6, can be bought in the $70,000 to $75,000 range.

With the F-Type earning accolades for the British-built Jaguar, the company intends to drop its XK grand touring coupe and convertible after the ’15 model run.

 

Here are the specifications for the ’15 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe:

  • Wheelbase 103.2 inches
  • Length 176 inches
  • Width 75.7 inches
  • Height 52 inches
  • Curb Weight 3,638 pounds
  • Track 62.4 inches front, 64.1 rear
  • Ground Clearance 4.8 inches
  • Turn Circle 35 feet
  • Drivetrain Rear-wheel-drive
  • Engine 5.0-liter supercharged V-8
  • Horsepower/Torque 550/502
  • Transmission 8-speed automatic
  • Steering rack-and-pinion
  • Fuel mileage estimate 16/23
  • Fuel mileage average 18.3
  • Fuel Tank 18.5 gallons
  • Wheels 20-inch
  • Cargo Volume 11 cubic feet
  • Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles basic, 4/50,000 powertrain

 

Competitors Porsche Cayman, Porsche 911, Mercedes-Benz SL550, Chevrolet Corvette, BMW M4, Dodge Viper

Assembly Plant Castle Bromwich, England

Parts Content Germany 53%, England 41%, U.S./Canadian 2%

Base Price of Lowest Model $65,925; Base Price of Review Model $99,000; Destination Charge $925; Sticker Price $102,825.