It’s been said that the third times a charm and I have to say this statement is very true. I got the invite to attend the launch party and unveiling of an all-new vehicle at Century (Jaguar Huntsville, AL). It was time for the F-Type roadster to meet his older and more powerful big brother…..the 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe. Century had just received two coupes for this debut event and they were the stars of the evening. You could even say they were like celebrities because everyone wanted a photo of the cars and then one with each car.
The showroom was milling with 40-50 guests including several members from the North Alabama British Motoring Society. The buzz in the showroom from many of the car enthusiast was how much this car resembled the classic E-Type from the 1960’s with its long nose and flowing bubble rear end. (Trust me looks are where the comparisons stopped)
(Jaguars Hydroforming Lightweight Aluminum make this Coupe 80% more rigid than the Convertible)
As the evening progressed guests were welcomed by General Manger-Century Automotive Group, George Jones as he mingled with old friends and familiar repeat customers. They could be overheard reminiscing about the cars they had driven and current experiences they had shared. As always the guest were treated to food and drink as they strolled around the showroom taking in all the sights and sounds of this new beast that Jaguar was ready for the world to see. During each of these events the Jaguar Huntsville salesmen are on hand to answer any questions you have or sign you up for a test ride in one of the many new cars on sale.
I've already read many of the early reviews and write-ups of this new car and I've heard words like; fearsome, loud, fast, intense, a turn-on, smooth, powerful, and even sexy, so I was like a kid on Christmas morning when I was told that I was going to get to experience driving this finely tuned machine for myself!
The following week I was invited back down to the dealership to judge for myself if the car could live up to these lofty terms being used to describe Jaguars new coupe. Recent ads running on TV and the internet used the catch phrase “It’s Good to be Bad” and the villains boast about driving Jaguars……well it was time for me to be bad and drive like a villain!
As I pushed the start button on the Ultimate Black 2015 F-Type R Coupe to begin my test drive I knew something special was about to happen. The exhaust note was even more powerful when you are sitting behind the wheel……it begs you to blimp the throttle, and I was ready to oblige!
Seriously this car revs like a street bike and turns heads at every red-light. I opted to keep the active switchable exhaust mode in “Sport” for my test spin (or should I call it test flight?). I overheard one of the salesmen talking about how Ducati engineers had tuned the exhaust on this car which now explains the powerful and unique sound it produced at will. It was like music to my ears as it snarled, gurgled and popped as if it was a ferocious lion waiting to pounce on any victim within striking distance.
(Did I mention that the Super Performance Brakes had 15" rotors?)
As I hit the road I immediately noticed the comfortable ride this sport coupe possessed which surprised me due to the fact that this is Jaguars most powerful model ever. Usually the terms comfort and most powerful don’t’ go together but Jaguar has seamlessly blended those in this new car. The steering response was quicker than any car I've ever driven and it felt as if you were on one of those slot tracks that you raced your RC cars on as a kid……it ran like as if on a rail. If you pushed it, the acceleration and torque was seriously scary and I loved every minute of it. Just being in control of this much power and commanding the car to go where you wanted was almost like flying a jet fighter. All I needed was my Tom Cruise aviators and some Top Gun theme music playing on the Meridian 12 speaker, 16 channel Class D DSP amplified entertainment system! Just to make sure I was taking full advantage of the experience, I quickly adapted to the use of the steering wheels mounted paddle shifters. I felt like a Formula 1 driver blazing down the streets of Monaco, but I came to my senses and switched on the fly back to the automatic mode and never missed a beat.
Because this car has just hit the showrooms, it was turning heads everywhere…..even the soccer moms in mini vans stopped to see what and who had just blasted by them. The Black Bullitt as I coined it was pure joy to drive and the only negative experience I had was having to get out of it and turn the key fob back in.
Let me give the technical crowd all the specs of the two cars on display at Century;
· Engine: F-Type S Coupe (Super-charged 380hp V6)
F-Type R Coupe (Super-Charged 550hp V8) with 502 lb-ft torque.
· Transmission: 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
· Performance: S Coupe V6: 0 -60mph (4.8 sec)
R Coupe V8: 0-60mph (4.0 sec), both with a limited top speed of 186mph!
· Base prices: V6 S Coupe $77,000
V8 R Coupe $99,000
Price as tested (V8 Supercharged 550hp) $104,625 with the following optional features:
· 20” Gyrodyne Alloy Wheels-Black
· Panoramic Glass Roof
· Vision Pack 3: Adaptive & Intelligent Front Lighting
Front sensors & rear parking camera
Blind spot monitor
Before the evening came to a close I began to see how this new F-Type R Coupe has ignited a spark among loyal Jaguar buyers and has piqued a strong interest in new car buyers who are discovering this brand. I noticed a poster in the showroom that had the British flag draped behind the new F-Type R Coupe and the slogan said “Our New Crown Jewel” and it truly is a jewel to behold. Jaguar is leading the pack as they charge into a new generation of car enthusiast that want more from their car than just a nameplate and a means of transportation, they want to feel something each time they get behind the wheel. You can stand in the showroom all night long and not get the rush or the experience of what I am referring to unless you take a test drive.