JAGUAR'S "LAST CALL"F-TYPE?
My first visit to Amelia Island was March 9, 2017 when I arrived with an automotive reviewer colleague in a Jaguar F-Type R roadster with a big number 60 graphic on the flanks and a spoiler perched on the rear deck. It was the perfect car to enjoy both this area’s Spring weather and The Amelia Concours d’Elegance. And the result of that visit was uprooting from our California home a few years later and moving to this wonderful community.
The Amelia, as the prestigious car gathering is now known, hasn’t changed dramatically, despite new ownership, and neither has Jaguar’s fast, stylish F-Type. Most of us in the car enthusiast community think that’s a good thing. But with the dramatic march to electrification gripping the automotive industry, Jaguar’s current petrol-powered lineup will soon be replaced by EV model(s). Stay tuned as details creep from the automaker’s headquarters.
The legendary British brand, not related to our Jacksonville football team, began in 1935 when William Lyons sold his motorcycle side car business, Swallow Sidecar, to his partner William Walmsley and created SS Cars. Lyons’ first product efforts were a sporty sedan and a stylish sportscar named SS Jaguar 100. After the war, a British company named SS was not suited for success so Jaguar became the trademark of the fledging firm.
Although the newly minted cat brand created stylish sedans, its dramatic sportscars, beginning with the XK120 in 1948, quickly became legendary. And just when most enthusiasts thought the XK150’s sculptured lines were the height of style, Jaguar launched the E-Type in 1961, a car that still stirs the hearts of enthusiasts. Jaguar followed the E-Type with the XJS then XK8 and XKR, but they were really four-seat coupes and convertibles. At the 2012 Paris Auto Show, the F-Type was launched as a proper two-seat grand touring roadster with a coupe quickly following.
Fast forward to today’s lovely coupe, refreshed in the ’21 model year and available in two flavors of supercharged 5.0-liter V8 power, the 444 HP standard offering at a quite reasonable $73,400 or our rip snorting R that bumps the power to 575 horses and the base price to $108,500. In historic Jaguar fashion, the six-figure F-Type R is a value compared with Mercedes-Benz AMG SL55 and Audi’s R8 offerings.
Our coupe was finished in Desire Deep Red, a special SVO metallic paint that appeared quite black unless immersed in sunlight when a lovely dark burgundy emerged. It’s a $4,500 option and I’m sure well worth it, right up until the first scratch or dent when the hapless body shop has to match its deep luster. Other options like the fixed panoramic roof, Meridian sound system and interior luxury upgrades brought our MSRP total to $121,700, still a competitive number in this luxury grand touring category.
While I didn’t have the opportunity to test the Jaguar’s 186 MPH limited top speed, apparently Cape Canaveral’s 15,000-foot runway was booked that week, I’m sure our coupe would hit that number. The naught to 60 time is a scant 3.5-seconds and yes, a Tesla other EVs will beat that but the F-Type R’s four-pipe exhaust adds a daunting sonic element. It’s clearly a car that I was reluctant to return to the press fleet but living without a payment book makes that an easier decision.
THE FINE PRINT
2023 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
TYPE: Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive
ENGINE: 5.0-liter Supercharged V8
HORSEPOWER: 575 @ 6,250 RPM
TORQUE: 516 lb.ft. @ 2,850 - 5,870 RPM
BASE PRICE: $108,500
AS TESTED: $121,780
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 16-city, 24-highway, 18-combined