NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- On Saturday, Aug. 23, the quaint well-heeled villages of New York's Hamptons were introduced to the growling engines of the all new 2015 Jaguar F-Type. To celebrate the automobile company's newest super car, Jaguar organized what it called a "British Road Rally."
Spanning five of New York's wealthiest towns, the rally brought together Jaguar owners, news media and celebrities in a celebration of British racing heritage. The highlight of the rally was the opportunity to drive the all new two-door super car. This author and TheStreet's art director Mark Sugarman were assigned the top of the line F-Type R Coupe for the rally, appropriately painted the storied color of British Racing Green.
The F-Type R is regarded as a rebirth for Jaguar, its first major super-car since being purchased by Tata Motors (TTM) in 2008 for $2.3 billion. Retailing at over $118,000, the F-Type R doesn't disappoint. The car provides an authentic racing experience wrapped in a passenger car. It's Jaguar's first racing-inspired coupe since the historic E-Type. The F-Type is modern and lightweight with a silhouette reminiscent of its famous hood ornament.
"Jaguar has always been a sports car brand," said Jeff Curry, Brand Vice President of Jaguar North America in an interview. "It's important that we have our heritage represented by having a sports car at the top of our range. We really haven't had a sports car since the iconic E-Type in the 1960s so when we introduced the F-Type, it was really time for us to get back into that market and really shake up that sports car segment."
What we first notice is that car is big. The styling is wider and meaner than its predecessors, a move back into a track-oriented design, rather than the old-fashioned curves the company has been producing for years. Underneath the aluminum body, we found a 550 horsepower generated from a 5.0 liter V8 supercharged engine with quad tailpipes. This rocketed us from 0 to 60 in almost 3.2 seconds on the 20-inch wheels (with disc breaks, a whopping $12,000 option). We placed ourselves into the stitched racing seats and set out on road.
The F-Type R offers two modes of driving, Dynamic (D) and Sport (S). Sport mode requires the driver to use the rear wheel mounted shifting paddles which give the super car a true racing feel. The touring feel of Dynamic mode does not skimp on absolute power, accelerating at an alarming rate, calling for the 15" front and 14.8" back disc brakes to be used more than normal ($12,000 well spent, we say).
The car's wide, two-seat interior provides comfort amid the trendy yet incredibly technological and luxurious features. The leather covered steering wheel pilots the car with surgical precision and provides handling expected from a high-end super car.
Curry went on to describe the model as "done in a fresh, modern, interpretation. It's not retro in any way....you'll see that design language in all our future models."
With a starting price of just over $69,000, the 2015 Jaguar F-Type can easily be regarded as one of the company's best cars in years.
"When the F-Type was launched, it really signaled to people that something fresh and new was happening at Jaguar," Curry said. The storied car company is hoping to carry these fresh and new ideas into the rest of 2015, and if the experience of driving the F-Type is any indication, this will be a complete success.
-- Written by Adam Leverone