Test drive: Jaguar's 380 hp F-type V6S Coupe
Jaguar’s F-type, successor to and loosely based off the iconic E-type, is anything but a rehashed piece of British pop culture. The award winning machine has rightfully been acknowledged as a brilliant new take on one of the industry's most famous rides. Following on from my time behind the wheel of a gorgeous 495 hp F-type V8S roadster a few months back, I recently had the opportunity to drive the less powerful (but equally gorgeous) 380 hp V6S Coupe version. So how did the car hold up to the V8S in terms of performance and value?
My tester was a slightly ominous looking 2015 F-type V6S finished out in Ultimate Black paint and 20-inch Tornado silver wheels. Power comes courtesy of Jaguar’s 3.0 liter supercharged V6, good for 380 hp at 6,500 rpm and 339 lb.ft of torque at 3,500 rpm. In comparison to the V8S, which has a 115 hp advantage and 121 lb.ft more torque, the V6 was surprisingly quick. When accelerating, the torque and power loss is definitely noticeable, but not to the point where it detracted from the experience. Not surprisingly, keeping the car in its sweet power range requires drivers to shift more often than in the V8S, but again, nothing excessive.
Giddy up and go for the V6 variant put it just under the 5.0 second mark in a 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) run, a third of a second faster than the stock 340 hp model, but over half a second slower than the V8S. The fact that the 380 hp V6S can’t compete with its big brother on track does have a sliver lining though – at the fueling station the smaller powerplant gives the car a mileage advantage of 4 mpg on the highway.
Jaguar has done an admirable job at using aluminum en-masse when building the car, but it still comes in a tad heavy. The V6S presents 3,514 lb (1,594 kg) to the road, not light by any means. The F-type R Coupe is even heftier at 3,671 lb (1,665 kg).
The car retains the same 8-speed Quickshift ZF auto-box as the V8, so no complaints there. While the gearing is slightly different, few owners would notice and using either the paddle shifters or console mounted lever, the gearbox gave nothing but short quick shifts going up or down.
In auto mode I found the V6S to be competent and usable for inner city driving, but I kept the car in manual mode for the majority of the test run, and the Sport Exhaust set to noticeable.
Mid-range acceleration was impressive thanks to the usable power range and nicely tuned gearbox. On the highway at speed the car had no problem just toodling along in eighth-gear with minimal effort.
I did notice that my tester seemed a bit nosey when compared to the V8S Roadster. Not in an overly intruding way, but the car felt as if the front rolled more with a bit of understeer during tighter cornering. Both cars feature Jaguar’s Adaptive Dynamics suspension system, so I’m unsure why the car felt as if the damper settings were sluggish. It could have just been an anomaly as other reviews have shown the car to behave tighter than the roadster thanks to a lighter engine and increased torsional rigidity thanks to that fantastical piece of roof holding things together.
Ride and comfort was excellent when the car was set in non-sport mode, with things becoming clearly stiffer and more jostling when sport mode was engaged. Steering feel also scores points for being competent in the on-center position but giving good feedback during high speed maneuvers.
The interior lounging area, where occupants can spend their time contemplating long drives and sipping Grey Goose martinis, is indeed a sublime place. Supportive leather seats put the driver in an environment where neither performance nor luxury overrules the other. The F-type’s steering wheel scores major points as one of my favorites in the industry. The US$1500 Meridian Sound Package did not disappoint either, and the gauges and other infotainment offerings are exactly what one might expect. Proving that it's both functional and sexy, the Coupe also has 11.65 cubic feet of storage space.
Stylistically, much has been said about this piece of British loveliness, but does it live up to the label of the new "most beautiful car ever"? It just might. That long fast roofline that runs from the base of the windshield unhindered to the tail is only made more resplendent by the raucous, rising fender treatments and tapered, narrowing cabin. Side by side with an E-type you’d be hard pressed to pick which is the more impressive. The car’s lines give such a visceral sense of tension and speed that it looks like it’s being pulled and stretched from the back while trying to escape.
Overall, dramatic, individualized styling, barky exhaust notes, beautiful interior finish and exceptional performance characteristics make this mid-range Jaguar a solid contender in a crowded segment.
My V6S F-type tester, with various trim upgrades and such priced out at US$92,800, whereas the base model starts out at US$81,000. However, if sufficient monetary resources were available I’d recommend the financial jump to the barkier, more powerful V8S, which sells for around US$100,000.