2023 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe Review & Test Drive
This article was originally published HERE
The automotive market is getting closer to an inevitable pivot as we see many internal combustion engines have their last foray of giving enthusiasts the sounds, smells, vibrations, and visceral feelings that only a gas-burning engine can provide. Bringing home that notion is Jaguar’s F-Type Coupe, a vehicle that I had many excursions in, pinning at as a British muscle car in my view. Since its introduction for the singular generation birthed in 2014, the F-Type has been quite an intriguing vehicle sporting a unique style that continues to be appealing after its recent refresh for the 2021 model year. Now, embarking on its very last year of production in 2024, the F-Type graces my presence for possibly one last time, reminding me of many welcomed characteristics of a grand touring luxury sports car that I will dearly miss.
Performance and Driving Character
When the Jaguar F-Type was first introduced, it took many by surprise and followed up its stylish looks with the proper performance from both its supercharged V6 and supercharged V8 powertrains. Now, the V6 trims are gone leaving us with just two supercharged 5.0-liter V8 powertrains to select, one that’s down on power (P450 trim) touting 444 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque and the other found in my top-trimmed test vehicle that boasts 575 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. The F-Type lineup has been somewhat simplified, where you can still get rear-wheel-drive in addition to all-wheel-drive in the P450 trim or settle for all-wheel-drive only in the more-powerful R variation, as found in my test vehicle.
The power from the supercharged V8 is strong, where it seems to pounce from the very start of its RPM band and carry through with a visceral growl, something the F-Type has been known for in all its nearly 10 years of existence. However, that intoxicating sound and often ear-titillating backfiring pops and burbles have been tamed for the newer model years.
In my previous reviews of the F-Type years ago, I applauded Jaguar for allowing the F-Type to show out when it comes to its sound, and it did so more so than just about everything else on the road at the time. Unfortunately, that time has fleeted us and left somewhat of a muted exhaust that may give you one pop or two upon deceleration, but the constant pops are gone, which in my view, takes some of the unique character away that many enjoyed in the F-Type R.
Apart from the toned-down sound, the F-Type still retains that muscle car feeling, which may be a stated oxymoron but is understood in how the vehicle doesn’t feel as connected to the road or as sharp as competitors. The ride quality is mostly harsh and stiff, with a busy body motion when going over road bumps and imperfections, even with the adaptive dampers set in their default normal mode. Also, the steering, while nicely weighted, is mostly numb, with no communication from the road. While the engine and 8-speed automatic transmission make acceleration seem effortless, getting up to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, the overall drivetrain feels more like a hefty but darn good-looking hammer than a sharp razor or even a sharp sword. The F-Type is starting to show its age.
There’s still a lot of fun to be had when you consider the collective of the Jaguar F-Type R Coupe’s parts. For one, it looks stunning. Even the styling refresh from 2021 keeps the F-Type relevant among exotics, in addition to retaining its muscular demeanor in the shape of the flowing sheet metal. Even the motorized rear spoiler that raises at 72 mph for added downforce and lowers at 52 mph adds an exotic flare. While the F-Type may not beat its competition in a track battle, it has the merit of being a classy looker with a mean engine, just like you would expect out of a Jaguar.
The Jaguar F-Type R Coupe is rather thirsty when you’re having even a little fun. I find that the EPA estimates of 16 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 18 mpg combined are mostly attainable if you consciously drive at or below posted speed limits. Anything over, you’ll easily get worse numbers – but who’s really buying such a vehicle for the fuel economy?
Interior and Technology
Jaguar has had its time of suffering from glitchy or outdated technology surrounding their infotainment systems from this past decade. Recently, some of the updated equipment in newer Range Rover and Jaguar vehicles has been impressive. However, Jaguar retains some of that older tech in the infotainment system of the F-Type, where the setup remains rather frustrating in its operation even with the recent updates. The 10-inch touchscreen’s resolution looks poor, and the response of many controls may take a while to respond in some instances. There’s not much consistency about the system, even though it proves to be straightforward once you overcome a cumbersome learning curve.
The good part about the infotainment system is that you have integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through a USB connection, along with a Meridian audio system that sounds good only if you take the time out to tune it properly through its sound settings.
The seating area is good, as there is a respectable amount of space inside the cabin for two. The nicely padded sports seats with heating and cooling have a long range of adjustability but may not go low enough if you are very tall. There are plenty of soft-touch surfaces throughout, and the expected leather-laced cabin feel that’s customary for a Jaguar, but nothing that really stands out other than the motorized center vents that rise in a slow dramatic fashion only when they are used and then slowly return to a hidden state when you turn off the vehicle or switch to the lower climate vents. There’s also the option of a fixed glass roof with a manual sunshade, which is found on my test vehicle.
The cargo space, as said many times before in my previous reviews of the F-Type, is surprisingly large, accessed by a power rear hatch. The area is easily accessible and is more than enough space for packing weekend luggage for two.
There’s a bevy of expected active safety features included in the Jaguar F-Type, with the blind-spot monitors being a necessity as there are a couple of rather large blind spot areas. Otherwise, you get the typical lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, parking sensors, driver attention warning, and a rearward-view-only backup camera.
The Jaguar F-Type hasn’t deviated far from its pricing scale since its inception, with a starting price of $73,400 for the base P450 RWD Coupe. Still offering a convertible F-Type is a plus for Jaguar, with a starting price of $76,700. My loaded-up F-Type R Coupe comes to an as-tested price of $121,780, which is right about where the F-Type has always been for almost its entire generation.
FOLLOW US TODAY:
Automotive, Jaguar, Jaguar F-Type, Jaguar F-Type Coupe, Jaguar F-Type R, Jaguar F-Type R Coupe, Test Drives