2017 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe Road Test Review

By : Trevor Hofmann
  With 550-hp from a supercharged V8, an 8-speed auto with paddles, AWD, 20-inch alloys and more the F-Type R Coupe hits 100km/h in 4 seconds before a 300km/h top speed while looking fabulous along the way. This gorgeous sport coupe delivers premium performance and luxury like few others, coming standard with cornering HID headlamps with auto high beams, power-folding auto-dimming mirrors, ambient LED lighting, rear parking sensors, a heated power-adjustable steering wheel, 14-way powered leather seats, 12-speaker 770-watt audio, etc. See it now.......
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
   
 
Just look at it. The F-Type Coupe might be the most beautiful car of its kind currently available today, or at least if the Aston
2017 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
Martin Vantage didn't exist it would be. That of course is a personal opinion, and in most other respects, if any at all, it gives up nothing to the much pricier Brit.

The F-Type Coupe starts at a reasonable $78,500 plus freight and fees, although add options to any car in this class and the price can quickly escalate. The R Coupe you're looking at starts at $118,500, yet with all extras included it hits the road at a considerable $126,000. Still, price out similar options on an equally quick 911 Carrera 4 GTS or Mercedes AMG GT and you'll spend tens of thousands more, or alternatively the sky is the limit if you choose the aforementioned Aston.

Due
2017 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
to its relative affordability the F-Type has been high on my list of modern-day favourites since it debuted as the C-X16 concept at the Frankfurt auto show in September 2011, which ended up being very close to the production F-Type that was announced in April the following year and arrived in street ready form at the Paris event for September 2012. I've since found I'm not alone in my adoration, with the F-Type being the second most popular choice amongst premium sports cars in Canada and number one as far as two-seaters go (unless we're counting the Corvette that's probably too inexpensive to be considered premium, not to mention wears a Chevy badge).

After the first 11 months of 2016, Jaguar has sold 505 F-Types for its best year yet.
2017 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
Yes, it's already surpassed last year's 462-unit total, while 2014 saw 457 move off Canadian JLR dealer lots. That 2016 number puts it hundreds of units ahead of the Porsche Boxster or Cayman, M-B's SLC, SL or GT, Audi's R8, etcetera, which is a clear indicator that its fabulous styling, performance, and value proposition is difficult to pass up.

With respect to design, some eye-catching details on this particular R Coupe include Ultimate Black paint enhanced by a completely blacked-out body including its grille surround, hood louvres, front fender vents, and rear fascia trim, standard ground effects that flare out dramatically along the rockers, gorgeous upgraded five-spoke machine-finished alloys with grey painted pockets and carbon-fibre detailing on each spoke, and a standard functional rear diffuser capping off the rear
2017 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
end with four substantive chromed tailpipes poking through for yet more dramatic effect. There's nothing at all subtle about the F-Type R Coupe, its big red brake calipers on larger 380-mm front and 376-mm rear rotors making its ultra-hot performance very clear, if there was ever any question.

Most of that beautiful bodywork is shaped from aluminum, as is much of the rest of its bonded and riveted inner framework. This is a big deal with Jaguar's other models, such as the new XE and F-Pace, as well as the XF and flagship XJ, because the first three use much more of the lightweight alloy in their construction than any of their segment rivals, but in the F-Type's semi-affordable premium sports car class others have now caught up to Jaguar, which introduced an aluminum monocoque bodyshell for its second-generation XK way back in 2005.
2017 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
Of course this reduces weight, but more so it strengthens the body to improve handling, enhance crash worthiness, and reduce NVH levels.

I've never been concerned with quietness while piloting any F-Type, mind you, the two previous being a 2014 Convertible and 2015 Coupe in S trim. This means their Roots-type twin-vortex supercharged engine displaced 3.0 litres in its six cylinders while producing 380 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque, a bump of 40 horsepower over the more moderately tuned base 3.0-litre supercharged unit, which honestly was more than enough for me until I tried this R Coupe. Before getting ahead of myself we need to factor in that the last Aston Martin V8 Vantage in
2017 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
my possession made a thrill-a-minute 420 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque while resonating delectable sounds from all eight cylinders, not to mention the wind in the hair sensation of its open-top roadster body style, something that can be had for just $3,000 more across the entire F-Type line including this sensational R.

On that note the R comes stock with 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque from a glorious sounding supercharged 5.0-litre V8, the two-door hardtop capable of catapulting off the line to 100km/h in a mere 4.1 seconds before rocketing all the way up to 300km/h. I'll have to take their word for the latter as no track was available during my test, but I can attest to the whack in the back at takeoff, the R Coupe developing speed so intensely that it made me laugh out loud (few cars can
2017 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
do that). Yes it's true, money can buy joy, at least temporarily, the melodious V8 and bark of its standard quad exhaust pipes and active sport exhaust (which can be switched off for less drama) followed up by incredible bite from the R Coupe's Instinctive AWD with active power-transfer technology, electronic active differential, sport suspension with continuously variable damping, torque-vectoring brake control, and meaty 255/35-front and 295/30-rear ZR-rated Pirelli P Zero rubber.

Set the R Coupe to Dynamic sport mode and let your fingers do the walking via the standard Quickshift eight-speed automatic's aluminum steering wheel paddles, the wheel itself boasting a thick flat-bottomed leather-clad rim ideally fitting my palms
2017 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
and digits (although if you're not into flat you can swap it out for a perfectly round one at no extra charge). Performance is phenomenal, with instantaneous throttle response and immediate backside-pressed-into-seat acceleration, the 1,740-kilo (3,836-lb) two-door some 163 kilograms (359 lbs) heftier than its V6-powered sibling, which itself weighs more than some others it competes against (hence why the 430-hp 911 GTS can keep up to the 550-hp R Coupe), but nevertheless brutally fast, while the sound of gurgling backpressure at each shift point adds to the intensity.

The F-Type delivers superb feel too, much thanks to a super-quick 14.6:1 steering ratio and wonderful overall balance. It remained perfectly planted within its lane no matter how hard I tried to shake it loose, the AWD allowing up to 63-percent rear bias for stepping out its hind end ever so slightly, but the way it's set up you'll have to work hard to hang the tail out. Braking was outrageously strong, with immense
2017 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
stopping power that hardly showed any fade after continual repeated aggressive application. It's probably too heavy to be a track warrior, but the F-Type R can certainly hold it's handsome head high on the street.

Those dashing good looks extend to the cabin, where stitched, padded leather covers much of the dash in both solid and perforated forms, plus nice available psuede atop each rounded primary gauge shroud. The optional Suedecloth material wraps down the inside of the unique centre stack buttress, around the lower console, and fills the door inserts too, all before climbing each roof pillar and running across the headliner, or at least the roof's outer edges as the centre was mostly glass. A panoramic sunroof is standard on the R, with the option being a $3,600 carbon fibre outer skin that would honestly cause me some pause. I love the
2017 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
open ambience of the glass roof on a sunny day, but the CFRP alternative would also improve performance from reduced weight and a lower centre of gravity, while looking stunning from outside.

Upon startup the centre HVAC vents power up from the dash, adding some drama to a Jaguar model that substitutes the brand's usual rotating gear selector, which would otherwise power upwards out of the lower console, with a more conventional lever. Like the alloy paddles on the steering wheel, more genuine metal can be found throughout the cabin, such as the inner door handles that feel as if they're made from solid billet aluminum. Each dial within the gauge package is ringed with thick metal, while additional aluminum bits include the shifter surround and triangular-shaped Configurable Dynamics drive mode selection toggle, and trim details on the contrast-stitched leather and psuede R Performance seats. At least as appealing, gorgeous textured
2017 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
aluminum found elsewhere in the cabin looks as if it will be extremely durable, while I particularly like that it doesn't smudge with fingerprints like piano black lacquer that's thankfully in limited supply.

The seats are amazingly supportive and hardly required adjustment to find the perfect driving position, Jaguar including seat-shaped controls within easy reach on the door panel along with three-way memory for both occupants. You can even modulate the width of both seats' bolsters via air bladders hidden within.

The two-dial gauge package houses a large colour TFT multi-information display at centre, while the standard 8.0-inch InControl
2017 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
Touch infotainment system isn't quite as new and fresh as some of the others in Jaguar's fleet or some competitive systems, but it's still nicely done with crisp, colourful graphics, fairly quick speed, useful navigation, text message functionality, Bluetooth, Jaguar's InControl Apps, and more. On that note, when setting the R's driving modes the options pop up on the screen, plus you can also access a display that lets you time track laps and monitor other performance parameters such as cornering Gs. It's surrounded with easy access buttons for the phone, audio system, parking sensors, and more. Just below is a chrome-trimmed three-dial dual-zone auto HVAC system with nice rubberized grips, their centres filled with small LCD displays to show individual temperatures, plus seat graphics that allow for three-way cushion heating when pressed.

From a practical perspective the F-Type offers a lot of space for two up front, while
2017 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
a standard powered liftgate reveals a reasonably large luggage compartment, mine fitted with a nice protective cargo tray. It's beautifully finished with chromed tie-down hooks and a brushed aluminum sill protector, similar to the aluminum treadplates on the doorsills albeit not optionally backlit. Jaguar even finishes off the liftgate handle in leather with upscale metal fasteners, while a well-made hard tonneau cover falls neatly into place upon closing to shield valuables from prying eyes.

All of these details set the F-Type apart from mere mortal cars and even many of the more expensive premium sport coupes it competes against, especially when upgraded to R trim, while standard features with this model include most everything already mentioned, as well as HID headlamps with auto high beams and dynamic cornering, power-folding auto-dimming side mirrors, proximity-sensing
2017 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
access via the F-Type's brilliant flush-mounted deployable door handles, backlit pushbutton ignition, an electromechanical parking brake, colour configurable ambient LED lighting, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear parking sensors with visual indicators, a heatable power-adjustable steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, a garage door opener, 14-way powered front seats, memory for both occupants, the steering column and side mirrors, impressive 12-speaker, 770-watt Meridian surround sound with satellite radio, and a deployable rear spoiler that automatically rises at 115 km/h.

A $1,750 Vision Pack added front parking sensors, a reverse camera with guidelines (which was crystal clear yet should really be standard), blindspot monitoring
2017 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
with rear cross-traffic alert, and closing vehicle sensing, while the previously noted Suedecloth Interior Pack added $1,150, illuminated doorsill treadplates $600, Exterior Design Pack and Black Pack $800, and Blade style forged wheels $2,800, plus a yet unmentioned heated windshield with timer added $400.

If you still want more, the R Coupe can be had with a $13,000 Carbon Ceramic Brake Pack that adds a carbon ceramic braking system with yellow calipers, and 20-inch Storm forged black alloys; a $2,750 Red Leather Interior Pack that adds (you guessed it) red leather seats and interior trim; $450 worth of Redzone (red) seatbelts that can only be had with the red leather; and a $2,350 Extended Leather Pack-Upper Environment that covers the roofliner and sunvisors in stitched leather; or you can go all out for the $142k 575-horsepower
2017 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
SVR that sprints to 100km/h in 3.7 seconds ahead of a 322 km/h top speed while adding other niceties as well.

Back to earth, standard auto start/stop helps limit fuel consumption that's rated at a reasonable 15.6 L/100km city, 10.4 highway and 13.3 combined, not far off the base car's 14.9 city, 9.8 highway and 12.6 combined numbers. The previously noted Porsche is thriftier still, but I don't think anyone buying a sports car of this calibre will care.

Jaguar has an innovative EV on the way dubbed I-Pace for those focused more on environmental concerns and lowering running costs, which when available may become an ideal daily commuter to help reduce miles on your R Coupe by only running
2017 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
it on weekends. Of course, there's now an F-Pace SUV for family duties, Jaguar finally offering a full lineup of models that's causing sales to soar, its brand-wide tally more than tripling since the new SUV and (to a lesser extent) XE compact D-segment sedan arrived on the scene in May and June respectively. Interestingly this F-Type remains third most popular of Jaguar's five models, showing there's plenty of enthusiasm for sports cars when designed well and priced right.

As noted there are a number of alternative possibilities at the R Coupe's price point, but few deliver the same level of knee-weakening styling, indulgent quality and refinement, abundant features, plus shock and awe performance, and none measure up when factoring in price. No wonder this F-Type is the bestselling premium-branded two-seat sports car in the country.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)
 
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