What is it?
The cheapest version of the Jaguar F-type money can buy, but don’t let that put you off. When first launched as a convertible at prices mostly well north of £60,000, the F-type looked pricey, but this entry-level coupé version priced at just over £50k seems much better value — especially since it’s the lightest and arguably the best-looking of the bunch.
The really good news, though, is that the addition of a simple roof panel confers a lot of extra rigidity on the car. Jaguar engineers say the coupé is a staggering 80 per cent stiffer than the already-impressive convertible, and have used this extra stiffness to hike the suspension rates a little and re-tune the car’s suspension for yet more agility and steering sensitivity.
So by buying a coupé, you get an F-type Jaguar even better focused for drivers.
True, you get the least horsepower. But this is hardly a “cooking” engine: it’s a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 punching out 335bhp, and in a 1577kg car that spells plenty of performance.
It’ll run a 0-60mph sprint in 5.1 seconds, and get to 161bhp flat out. Better than that, it’ll turn very decent fuel economy: the combined figure of 32.1mpg isn’t so different from the 25mpg you’ll get in normal use.
What's it like?
Very brisk, especially off the line, thanks to the combination of the ultra-wide powerbrand from the supercharged engine, and an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. It’s never quite explosive, but this is certainly a quicker car than almost everything else on the road.
The engine is both responsive to the throttle and impressively smooth, with a sporting exhaust note, though it sounds rather thin compared with the more powerful F-type S six, which costs nearly £10,000 more.
One vital feature is the quick-responding gearbox (which has a selectable sport mode) that drops into lower gears quickly when you toe the accelerator, making better-than-usual use of the available power
Though this car has an open differential, and a simpler chassis stability control than more expensive models, the natural assets of the chassis — its low centre of gravity and near-perfect front-to-rear weight distribution — shine through in the way it drives. If there were ever a car that hardly needs electronic assistance, it is this one.
The car resists oversteer brilliantly, and turns in very neatly with very little understeer. It has excellent, vice-free steering steering and fine retardation from an all-disc brake set-up, even though more upmarket F-types have bigger brakes and there’s a further option of carbon ceramics for track-day specialists.
The F-type Coupe comes with a wide selection of cabin textures and colours, but the main architecture of the car is very familiar from the convertible we’ve already seen. The seats are firm and supportive (though only the V8 has inflatable side-bolsters) and comfortable for drivers of all shapes and sizes.
Should I buy one?
First of all, the coupe is a great option if your priority is to have the best-handling, most agile F-type going. The base V6 comes with standard 18-inch wheels, and you might be well advised to upgrade those to 19s for a bit of extra steering authority, but it's a supremely capable machine.
Do you notice the lack of a smart differential and the rest of the gadgetry? You might, if you’re an exceptionally hard driver and you’ve tried the others in similar conditions. The only time you really miss any kind of slippery diff is on streaming wet roads, when cornering hard, and even then the basic car’s innate stability buries the problem. Most of the time it simply doesn’t matter
Bottom line: for those whose heart’s desire is an F-type, but who don’t have an unlimited budget, the 335bhp coupé is an unparalleled opportunity.
Jaguar F-type coupé
Price £51,235; 0-60mph 5.1 sec; Top speed 161mph; Economy 32.1mpg (combined); CO2 205g/km; Kerb weight 1577kg; Engine V6, supercharged, 2995cc; Installation Front, longitudinal; Power 335bhp at 6500rpm; Torque 332lb ft at 3500-05000rpm; Gearbox 8-speed auto, paddle shift