Motoring: Jaguar's sultry coupes

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: JAGUAR
Jaguar's 2015 XKR and F-Type are still sleek and seductive, but which comes out on top?

In the automotive market these days, there is no shortage of the type of car designs that you might find appealing. My favourite type of design has always been the coupe – and by that, I don’t mean the four-door coupe sedans, or the coupe-like SUVs that have invaded the market nowadays – I like twodoor coupes the best.

The reason is because they present sleek bodywork, where design is given precedence over practicality. A coupe has to look visually arresting and the best looking ones in the market right now are made by Jaguar.

Here are two of the company’s current offerings; the 2015 XKR coupe and the 2015 F-Type coupe.

The 2015 XKR is at the end of its life, while the life of the F-Type coupe is just beginning. The 2015 model year represents the only time both these cars will be available to you in the new car showroom at the same time.

So, which one is best?

For 2015, the XK-series coupe is available in two guises, the 510 hp XKR model, and the 550 hp XKR-S model, which has some different aero and performance bits. Both models use the same supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine, just in a different state of tune.

The 2015 F-Type coupe, however, is currently offered in three flavours. The base model is simply called the F-Type and offers 340 hp, the F-Type S and offers 380 hp, and the top-of-the-line model is called the F-Type R, which serves up 550 hp.

The first two models feature a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 engine, while the “R” coupe gets a supercharged 5.0-litre V8.

In the XK-series, power is fed to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox, while in all the F-Type models, power is fed to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic.

The XKR coup will sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds, while the F-Type S completes that run in 4.9 seconds.

Why are the two so close in performance when there is such a huge power difference (510 hp vs. 380 hp)? The easy answer is weight. The XKR coupe weighs in at 1,753 kg, while the F-Type S coupe tips the scale at 1,594 kg.

Even at the top end, the performance is similar. The XKR coupe is electronically limited to a top speed of 280 km/h, while the F-Type S coupe is electronically limited to 275 km/h.

The differences are more apparent out on the road. The XKR is the more comfortable cruiser of the two, able to cover vast distances with more ease. The F-type S is more like an eager little terrier, which when asked can be a decent long distance companion, but is far happier when you show it a twisty route.

The F-Type S is going to plant a bigger smile on your face, mainly because its chassis is tighter, its gearshifts are quicker and also because it is louder.

While practicality is not important when it comes to buying a coupe, it certainly helps if you manage to get it. Between these two, the XKR has a bigger trunk but also offers tiny rear seats, whereas the F-Type is strictly a two-seater.

While I can’t fit in those XKR rear seats, pre-teen kids can, which means you can use your fun car for hauling the family around from time to time, which is a bonus.

I think both cars are equally pretty, but the public certainly seems more drawn to the F-Type coupe.

A big deciding factor can be the price between these two cars. The base model 2015 XKR is yours from $109,125. The base model F-Type coupe is yours from $72,900, while the “S” model starts from $84,900. My very well equipped tester stickered at $101,500. So, the F-Type is a bit more affordable to own.

The F-Type S was a bit more affordable to run also, it averaged just 8.3-litres/100km on the highway and 11.3 in the city, while the XKR consumed 9.9-litres/100km on the highway, and 14.3 in the city (these are my test numbers, and not ones supplied by the manufacturer or EnerGuide).

Complaints? I wish the XKR had been given the eight-speed ZF gearbox in its final production year, and I hope Jaguar has a heads-up display system in the works for the F-Type, because that would help.

It is sad to see the XKR go, a car that refused to age with time. On the plus side, it’s great to see the F-Type come to market, and it will soldier the Jaguar name forward, as maker of the finest coupe (and let’s not forget convertible) sports cars available today.