Written by: Sammy Chan
Photography by: Sammy Chan
NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO - We're here at AJAC's (Automobile Journalists Association of Canada) TestFest event to determine one thing and one thing only, the best Canadian Car of the Year. Three 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupes contenders lay in front of me, all spec'd out with the same options minus the paint colours, which led me to the most agonizing and painstaking choice I had to make all morning, which colour do I choose? Italian Racing Red, Ebony Black, or Polaris White? Red it is.
One of the first things I noticed was the disappearance of the fabric top and the emergence of a beautifully sculpted aluminum roof. An optional panoramic glass roof, as you see in our pictures below, is available for $1200 and is well worth the investment, just look at it! This newly acquired helmet not only looks good, it increases torsional rigidity by a whopping 80%. Stiffening up the aluminum structure makes the F-Type feel much more composed on the street and less jittery over potholes, a difference that any driver can feel. Like its soft-top counterpart, the coupe's suspension is still too taut and rigid. It's hard not to notice when every crack in the pavement impinges a nerve in your spine. We don't recommend long commuting trips in the F-Type R Coupe without a back massage waiting at end of the journey.
Our tester was equipped with the optional carbon ceramic brakes that bump up the MSRP by an additional $12,500. Though frequently overlooked, there are advantages to these: they are extremely firm with practically zero fade, allowing for shorter stopping distances. They also weigh less than regular brakes and last much longer. The downsides are that the brake pads need a fair bit of heat to start feeling linear and predictable. At first they feel a bit sloppy and numb, but take the car around for a kilometer or two and they will start to feel normal again. They are also very expensive. Word to the wise, save your money here. We've tried the standard brakes in the V6 and V6S Convertible and those felt just as clean and precise. Opt for the carbon ceramics only if you're planning on taking the Jag to the track, or if you've got the money to spare.
The F-Type's torque vectoring system does a wonderful job at deleting understeer when entering corners, and though it's furry tail gets excited with even the slightest whiff of the gas pedal, you never feel like you've lost control. Oversteer is manageable and playful if you have all the traction systems turned on, and we recommend they stay on. A little birdy flew by and told us to turn it all off and test our luck, I mean skill, behind this rear-wheel-drive madness, and to experience the dark side of the F-Type R. We hesitated at first, but somehow managed to summon a pocketful of courage. The result was a pair of smoky Pirelli tires and whopping good fun. The F-Type can be comical and certainly be crowned as the new drift-king, but it doesn't inspire confidence behind the wheel. There is so much power being sent to the rears that traction and grip fly out the window without our digital guardian angels. That being said, I don't feel as connected to the car as I would in a Porsche 911 or a BMW M4.
The culprit behind the misty gray fog we left behind is Jaguar's 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine that has been fine-tuned to produce even more power for the F-Type R, 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque to be exact. These numbers allow the feline to rocket from 0-100 km/h in 4.2 seconds, 0.1 seconds faster than a 2015 Porsche 911 Carrera S with PDK.
One of the main criticisms of this so called, 911 killer, was the lack of a manual transmission. Our tester you see here is mated to the only tranny available, an 8-speed automatic from the folks at ZF. It's not like this masterpiece is anything to complain about, the gear shifts are velvety smooth and lightning quick. Our only problem was the fact that it didn't let us rev up to the red-line, not even in manual shifting mode with the paddle shifters. To quench the thirst and foam spewing from the 911 mob, a manual transmission for the F-Type is now under way. Though we aren't sure when we will see those three pedals materialize, we have our fingers crossed for late 2015.
As mentioned in our previous F-Type reviews, these Jags excels in theatrics. The exhaust note has been mentioned by every journalist we've talked to today, and boy what a sound it makes. The infamous crackling, popping, sneezing growl never gets old, and does an exceptional job at making the 911 Turbo S we've previously driven sound tame and clinical. Is there a big difference between the cacophony of the V8 S Convertible and the R Coupe? No, but I would choose the latter for the sake of having aluminum walls between me and those quad exhaust pipes. The sound gets a bit harsh at the high revs, especially in underground garages and tunnels.
We won't dive into the interior aspects of the F-Type R Coupe, mainly because it has all been carried over from the convertible variant. Read our F-Type V6 and V8 S Convertible reviews to find out more. In a nutshell, the gorgeous fit and finish of the cabin, along with the bronze-coloured switches and paddles have made a pleasant return, but the unresponsive infotainment system has certainly overstayed its welcome. Cargo space is one of the main reasons why some buyers choose the coupe over the convertible. While the latter could barely fit a suitcase in its 200 litre trunk, the coupe expands that by almost one and a half times, up to 324 litres. Golf clubs and dufflebags can enjoy their stay here.
The Jaguar F-Type R Coupe is up against some stiff competition at this year's event. Porsche has entered their $208,500 911 Turbo S, and the $70,600 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible is nothing to sneer at either. The Jag stickers at a base price of $100,900, just a few thousand dollars below the Porsche 911 Carrera S, but flood the cat with all our desirable options and it will ring up north of $120,000.
Let's not forget about the V6 and V6S versions that sit on the sensible end of the F-Type range. Both conjure up more than 300 horsepower with their 3.0-litre supercharged V6 and they don't cost a fortune, speaking relatively of course. With the V6 starting at $72,900 and the V6S at $84,900, it's hard to justify the extravagance underneath the front hood of the R. No, we don't need carbon ceramic brakes, nor do we need 550 horsepower that barely makes it to the pavement. I feel like the F-Type V6 S Coupe would make a better contender in this year's competition, but I believe two days is not enough to fully gauge the capabilities of a vehicle. Stay tuned for our full review of the F-Type Coupe in the upcoming year, and also for the results of the 2015 AJAC Canadian Car of the Year.
型号 Model: 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $109,900
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2622
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4470 / 1923 / 1321
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1650
引擎 Engine: 5.0L Supercharged V8
最大馬力 Horsepower: 550 hp @ 6500 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 502 lb-ft @ 2500-5500 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed ZF automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, RWD
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Front: 255/35R20 - Rear: 295/30R20