PLAINVIEW, Ark. -- We're strapped tight against the bolstered sport bucket in a cozy but luxurious cockpit of the new 2015 F-Type S Coupe by Jaguar of Great Britain with paws gripping a sporty steering wheel linked to shifter paddles, feet tapping the stop-and-go metal pedals but eyes fixed squarely on the next bend on a curlicue strip of asphalt tracking through the Ouachita Mountains of western Arkansas.
To tell the truth, we're deep into illicit speeds while flying over a back-country 2-laner with steep mountain grades and isolated valley straightaways with loads of dips and rolls and oh-so-fun strings of esses and sweepers -- but a dearth of traffic or patrols to challenge our pace. It's the ideal route to sample the taut suspension and sporty handling traits of Jaguar's new world-class sports coupe.
The F-Type Coupe lands in North America with three trim variations drawing from a supercharged V6 or V8 engine tied to a ZF 8-speed pistol-grip e-shifter and packaged on an aluminum platform of the F-Type roadster convertible. The coupe contains two low-slung bolstered sport bucket seats, a tail-deck spoiler wing that deploys at 60 mph to reduce aerodynamic lift and a streamlined aluminum body with single-stamped aluminum multi-contoured clamshell hood, body side panels also made of single-piece aluminum stampings, smooth and clean fender bulges rippling around huge low-profile tires and optional carbon-fiber front splitter and side sills.
Jaguar's 2015 F-Type Coupe series skews to three versions labeled F-Type, F-Type S and F-Type R.
The F-Type and F-Type S employ a dual-cam 3.0-liter V6 engine with Roots-type twin-vortex supercharger and air-to-liquid intercoolers. The base version makes 340 hp at 6500 rpm with 332 lb-ft of torque at 3500-5000 rpm, but the F-Type S plant develops higher boost and rises to 380 hp at 6500 rpm with torque pushing to 339 lb-ft at 3500-5000 rpm.
Jaguar's track tests reveal that a F-Type Coupe runs from zero to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, while F-Type S covers the same distance in 4.8 seconds. Top speed, electronically limited, is 161 mph for F-Type and 171 mph for F-Type S.
F-Type R Coupe scores Jaguar's dual-cam 5.0-liter V8 engine also with twin-vortex supercharger and intercoolers. The V8 soars with 550 hp at 6500 rpm plus over-the-top torque of 502 lb-ft running between 2500 and 5500 rpm.
The R edition rips from zero to 60 mph in 4 seconds flat and maxes at 186 mph.
All F-Type issues carry Jaguar's Intelligent Stop/Start system which halts engine idling when the vehicle stops and the driver presses the brake pedal. After the driver releases the brake, the ISS restarts the engine. The electronically controlled device is designed to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
Entry-issue F-Type provides features like a sport suspension, sport exhaust with twin tailpipes and a performance braking system with silver calipers.
F-Type S standards range from Dynamic Mode and Dynamic Launch to the Active Sport exhaust and the High Performance Braking system with black calipers.
A mechanical limited-slip differential to refine tire grip goes on F-Type S while F-Type R gets Jaguar's second-generation electronic active differential (0-to-100 percent lockup in a tenth of a seconds) operating in conjunction with a new Active Torque Vectoring system which can apply brake pressure automatically to the inside front wheel to negate corner skidding.
F-Type S and F-Type R models carry Jaguar's Adaptive Dynamics suspension damping system to control vertical body movement, roll and pitch rates. The system continuously monitors driver inputs and the car's attitude, adjusting damper rates up to 500 times a second to optimize stability and agility.
Another stock item for F-Type S and F-Type R is an active exhaust system with electronically controlled bypass valves in the rear sector of the exhaust bay. The valves open wide with pedal-to-the-floor accelerations to deliver free-flowing blap-a-de-blap-blap exhaust notes.
Optional for F-Type S and F-Type R, the Carbon Ceramic Matrix brakes bring precise consistency to performance and supreme fade resistance. Vivid yellow mono-block calipers - 6-piston in front and 4-piston in back - grip 15.7-inch front and 15.0-inch rear brake discs made from a matrix of carbon fiber and ceramic.
Jaguar sets the MSRP slate for a 2015 F-Type Coupe at $65,000. The F-Type S Coupe begins at $77,000, while F-Type R Coupe caps the series at $99,000.
2015 Jaguar F-TYPE
Horsepower: 340 horsepower and 550 horsepower
Curb weight: 3,477 lbs to 3,671 lbs
MPG: 20 city/28 highway
2015 Jaguar F-TYPE Coupe
2015 Jaguar F-TYPE Convertible