High-performance Jaguar F-Type even more gripping to drive
07:06 11 March 2016
It’s the most powerful Jaguar F-Type ever and can now be had with four-wheel-drive to help tame it all, says Matt Joy.
It might be a more familiar shape on UK roads but Jaguar’s F-Type Coupe is no less stunning for that. Picking up where the E-Type left off, it has the visual drama and presence that buyers want as well as the sharp driving experience worthy of a sporting Jaguar.
Now the F-Type range has been expanded and improved, with more options including a manual gearbox. And the range-topping R Coupe now offers four-wheel-drive to help tame the mighty supercharged V8.
Jaguar F-Type R Coupe AWD
Price: Jaguar F-Type R Coupe AWD, £91,660 (range from £51,760)
Engine: 5.0-litre, 542bhp supercharged petrol V8 with 502lbf.ft of torque
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic gearbox driving all four wheels
Performance: 0-62mph 4.1 seconds; top speed 186mph
MPG: 25 combined
CO2 emissions: 269g/km
Looks and image
The F-Type remains one of the most stunning cars on the road at any price and happily nods to Jaguars from the past without shamelessly copying them. There are more option packs to help tailor your F-Type but it would almost be an achievement to create a car that wasn’t eye-catching in a good way. R models sit on huge 20in alloy wheels while adding four-wheel-drive means a slightly higher bonnet.
Space and practicality
Opt for the Coupe over the soft-top Roadster and you have a car far more capable of carrying luggage. There’s 315 litres which, although a slightly unusual shape, takes more than you’d think possible. The cabin is snug in a good way – the driver and passenger have decent head and legroom, while storage is taken care of by a useful centre console bin and one between the seat backrests. It’s also pretty straightforward to get in and out of – useful when driving a stylish car.
Behind the wheel
Electronic control means that in normal conditions all the V8’s muscle is sent to the rear wheels, only switching some to the front when the rears start to lose grip.
You’re not aware of this taking place, only that you can now exploit the spectacular performance more of the time. Where previously you would be relying on the traction control – and your skill – to keep everything pointing in the right direction, you now feel the nose of the car pulling you out of the bends. It’s more secure and quicker too – from a standing start the AWD F-Type beats its two-wheel-drive sibling to 62mph by 0.1 of a second despite weighing 80kg more.
And the AWD F-Type can be enjoyed more of the time. The electric power steering is as sharp and responsive as the outgoing hydraulic set-up, the supercharged V8 is strong and characterful and it’s hard to believe that exhaust note isn’t illegal.
Value for money
The AWD R Coupe costs £4,850 more than the regular version but makes a lot of sense. There’s also plenty of kit thrown in, such as those tasty alloy wheels, the essential sports exhaust system and adaptive suspension.
Who would buy one?
If your day job involves driving a Formula 1 car you might prefer the two-wheel-drive F-Type, but for mere mortals the AWD F-Type R makes sense. It’s effortlessly fast, beautiful and now even less demanding to drive, but no less fun.