- High-powered petrol-only engines
- Turbocharged 2.0-litre certainly isn’t slow…
- But supercharged V6s and V8s feel more special
Forget the electrically propelled Jaguar I-Pace – F-Type Coupe performance is delivered by suite of petrol-fuelled motors.
Entry-level four-cylinder Jaguar F-Type Coupe
Introduced in 2017, there’s a four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbocharged unit found in many of Jaguar Land Rover saloon, estate and SUV models. Now badged P300 – for Petrol and 300hp – the smallest F-Type engine produces 400Nm of torque from just 1,500rpm, good enough for a 5.7-second 0-62mph time. Top speed is 155mph.
While it has appropriate pace, its soundtrack lacks sufficient drama compared with other F-Types, but you do have the added fun of rear-wheel drive and a slick eight-speed automatic gearbox.
High-pitched fun: supercharged V6 F-Type Coupe
This is the sweetest spot in the F-Type range, with livelier performance, the high-pitched supercharged whine of the engine and a broad mix of gearbox and drive types.
First up is the P340 – previously known simply as the V6 – this 3.0-litre unit produces 340hp and 450Nm of pulling power from 3,500rpm, this is an engine that you have to get working quickly to extract the most speed from it. And what a delight it is to do so.
Both the six-speed manual and eight-speed auto will reach 161mph, while the 0-62mph benchmark takes 5.7 seconds for the former and 5.3 for the self-shifter. Power is sent exclusively to the rear wheels.
Not enough? Then step the way of the P380, or V6 S if you’re looking at an older F-Type. With the same transmission offerings, the modest-sounding upgrades of 380hp and 460Nm at the same engine speed don’t read as though they’ll unleash much extra performance. Don’t be fooled.
Top speed jumps to 171mph for both gearboxes, while 0-62mph times are shaved to 5.5 seconds for the manual and 4.9 for the automatic.
Finally for the 3.0-litre engines, there’s the automatic-only P380 AWD, previously known as the V6 S AWD. Given the additional traction offered by all-wheel drive, you’d be forgiven for assuming it would accelerate even quicker. It doesn’t. Although top speed remains static at 171mph, the additional 80kg of weight blunts the 0-62mph time back down to 5.1 seconds.
Bellowing V8 performance: F-Type R and SVR
As if a 5.0-litre V8 wouldn’t be powerful enough, Jaguar sought to create a substantial gap between it and the smaller V6s by supercharging it. In V8 R guise it produces a very healthy 550hp – note that it’s not (yet) called P550 – and a colossal 680Nm of torque from 3,500rpm.
This powerplant encourages you to rev and hear the V8’s growl complemented by the high-pitched spinning of the supercharger – you’re not short of performance as you scorch from a standstill to 62mph in 4.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 186mph.
AWD is standard – the rear-wheel drive V8 R was discontinued in 2017 – as is the eight-speed automatic.
Fettled by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations team, the V8 SVR is the pinnacle of F-Type Coupe performance – with a rather jarring bodykit to advertise the fact.
Mechanically similar to the R, even more grunt’s been extracted from the V8, pushing power up to 575hp and torque to a mighty 700Nm. How does that translate statistically? Try a 3.7-second 0-62mph time and a 200mph top speed.
Jaguar F-Type P300 – a true sports coupe?
Fire up the 2.0-litre F-Type and it erupts into a boomy four-cylinder bark. Unlike the ferocious, dramatic sound of six- and eight-cylinder models, this engine seems more fitting in a £25,000 hot hatchback than a £50,000 sports car.
It’s far from being an unpleasant noise, but seems somewhat ordinary in comparison with the car’s exotic lines. Thankfully, the volume is well judged, giving a hint of the car’s performance, without being coarse or tiring.
Power, meanwhile, is underwhelming. Yes it’s more than fast enough for most drivers, but if you’re used to driving the current breed of 300hp hot hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf R, BMW M140i and Honda Civic Type R, the acceleration won’t impress much.
We blame the car’s hefty weight – 85kg more than the similarly powerful Porsche 718 Cayman – and automatic gearbox for dulling its responses. As a result, this is not a car you buy for sheer speed, though the 2.0-litre motor punches out plenty of muscle at middling engine speeds.
To R or SVR? V8 Jaguar F-Type Coupes compared
Whatever speed you drive the F-Type R, there’s a sense of occasion about it. Even negotiating city centre crawls at sub-30mph, teasing vibrations generated by its supercharged powerplant, using the seats, steering wheel and pedals as conduits, hint at its latent muscularity.
Gently feathering the throttle pedal instantly builds ferocious revs complemented by bellowing crackles as you lift off. If passers-by somehow missed sight of the car, there’s no escaping its noise, further amplified by the tempting Exhaust button on the centre console.
But this is no showy boulevard cruiser, the F-Type R’s an engaging and lively sports car that demands your concentration is sharpened to extract the most performance and enjoyment from it. Floor the accelerator at any speed and the Jaguar hurtles horizonwards, seamlessly dropping a ratio or two on its eight-speed Quickshift automatic gearbox as you turn landscapes into blurs.
Switching the gearbox and other settings to Sport mode makes the revs scream higher, sharpening the rest of the F-Type’s responses too: it’s wilder yet never wavers into full-on feral. It’s a heady and addictive mix, the Jaguar slithering around further when you minimise the effects of traction control, yet you remain feeling in command, making the F-Type twitch at your behest as your corner with your right foot supplementing the action at the wheel. It’s not as playful as the discontinued rear-wheel drive R was, but even with AWD it will still dance to your tune.
So what of the SVR? Like the F-Type R, you get a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission, allied with four-wheel-drive. That should mean that it’s a lot less intimidating than it might be – this amount of power and rear-wheel drive only, for instance, could have made this a real handful to drive.
Unsurprisingly, it's fast and loud. There's a new titanium and Inconel-alloy exhaust, which does a wonderful job at deepening the V8’s bassy backbeat. Too loud? It can be – which might put off shrinking violets. But then, shy and retiring types won't exactly love the SVR's bodykit.
Acceleration is scintillating, a truly magnificent experience. With all that power, and the assistance of four-wheel drive, it leaps off the line cleanly. The supercharger is non-too loud, but its shove it obvious and immediate, and it makes mincemeat of single-carriageway overtaking manoeuvres.
- Beautifully balanced, but playful when you want it to be
- AWD models offer tremendous traction in damp weather…
- But the fun factor is diluted a little with the extra grip
Here the Jaguar F-Type Coupe excels: it’s a confidence-inspiring sports car to drive quickly, yet won’t alienate less experienced drivers. That said, those who’re happier at higher speeds will love the direct and perfectly weighted steering, imperious balance and stable, level cornering. The body is a huge 80% more rigid than the F-Type Convertible, and that doesn't exactly handle badly.
Higher-powered models get a limited-slip differential as standard, which makes sure the optimum level of power is sent to each rear wheel during cornering. They also get upgraded brakes and larger 19-inch alloy wheels.
Optionally available are Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) brakes. These ultra-high performance stoppers mean you’ll have to plump for 20-inch alloy wheels, which have a negative influence on ride quality, but make a significant difference to the way the car stops.
Uprated F-Type V8 R handling
Riding on adaptive suspension, which can alter the car’s handling to cope with different road conditions, means that not only is the F-Type V8 R comfortable, it can turn into a very rewarding sports car literally at the touch of a button.
Additionally, a torque-vectoring system uses the brakes to gently tighten-up your line when cornering. Jaguar’s package is very impressive, being virtually impossible to detect it working. You just pick a line, point the wheel in the required direction and the car does the rest, allowing you to carry more speed through it, amplifying the work of the limited-slip diff.
F-Type V8 SVR – further dynamic improvements
Changes specific to the flagship SVR include modifications to the suspension set-up, with softer front springs and dampers, and a new antiroll bar. In effect, Jaguar has made the call that suspension travel and compliance – as opposed to maximum stiffness – are what are needed for a high performance car to give its best on real-world roads.
Do they make a difference on the road? Oh yes. The supercharged V8 sounds as good as ever, even at idle. Once you're underway, the less bone-shaking ride is immediately apparent, even if the improvements to ultimate handling might not be. Seldom does it feel like it's riding on 20-inch wheels, which makes it far less tiresome to drive on motorway slogs.
The steering is also sharper and more communicative than before – again, an unexpected bonus of taking on the SVR over the standard F-Type V8 R.
- Cabin looks special, if not exactly traditional Jaguar
- Most finishes are of sufficiently high quality
- Pity there are some cheaper feeling pieces, too
Being the sports car it is, you won’t be surprised to find that the Jaguar F-Type Coupe’s cabin is shaped so all of the important driving controls are facing towards the driver. In fact, the view directly in front of the passenger is rather plain, but there’s the functionality of an additional grab handle on their side of the centre console.
Generally, it’s a light place to be, and you’ve got a surprising amount of visibility considering the F-Type Coupe’s two-seat nature, particularly when reversing.
Many of the materials feel of high quality with several buttons feeling plush to the touch thanks to a rubberised paint finish, but a few pieces of trim feel too cheap and flimsy to grace the interior of a car that costs this much.
The multimedia and navigation system is familiar from other Jaguar Land Rover vehicles, and while it’s simple-to-use and intuitive, it lags behind the slick touchscreen interfaces of its Germanic rivals.
Fortunately, there’s a huge amount of buttons on the steering wheel for controlling the various multimedia functions, so you’ll not have to spend much time with your hands off the wheel. You’ll find driving controls such as the stop/start system switch, Dynamic Mode switch (if fitted) and traction control next to the gear lever.
There are two large instruments directly ahead of the driver, with the rest of the car’s information displayed on a screen between them.
- Superbly comfy for a high-powered sports car
- Cabin is roomy enough for two, but not generous
- Lots of external noise to heighten the experience
Sports cars are supposed to be firm-riding, right? While unashamedly a performance model, the Jaguar F-Type Coupe is compliant – perhaps surprisingly so. That said, it’s a quality you soon come to appreciate, whether you’re at speed across the rippling undulations of a B-road or trudging slowly along the pockmarked asphalt of an urban area.
This sense of isolation from the road is amplified in models fitted with adaptive suspension, varying the degree of firmness offered by the dampers. If it were more spacious and with a pair of rear seats, the F-Type would make a convincing GT car, such are its levels of suppleness.
The pair of seats it has got hug you comfortably without pinching your kidneys, and the driving position is brilliant, with a wide range of adjustability. Yes, you’re sat low, so entries and exits aren’t always the most elegant, but once you’re in you feel at one with the Jaguar.
It’s no luxury cruiser though, so there are a few situations where the rigid structure and sporty suspension makes hard work of larger lumps or potholes, particularly if you’ve specified larger-than-standard alloy wheels.
Similarly, the F-Type’s not a particularly quiet car to drive. If you listen carefully there’s a fair bit of road noise intruding into the cabin, though wind noise around the windscreen pillars and door mirrors isn’t quite so obvious.
Still, who cares when you’ve got engines that sound like that?