First Drive: Jaguar F-Type R AWD


What’s new?

It might be a more familiar shape on the UK’s 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.

For the 2016 model year the F-Type range has been expanded and improved, with more options including a manual gearbox for the first time. However at the top of the range the R Coupe you can now have four-wheel-drive, which should go a long way to taming the mighty supercharged V8 under the bonnet.

Looks and image

Familiarity hasn’t dulled the F-Type’s visual appeal. It 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 available to help tailor your F-Type to suit, 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 20-inch alloy wheels as standard, while the additional of four-wheel-drive means a slightly higher bonnet but it’s virtually impossible to spot.

Space and practicality

Opt for the Coupe over the Roadster and you have a car that is far more capable of carrying luggage. There’s 315 litres on offer and although it is a slightly unusual shape it’s not difficult to cram more than you thought possible in there. In the cabin it’s snug but 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, which is always useful when driving a stylish car.

Behind the wheel

On first acquaintance there’s nothing to tell you that this F-Type R has drive going to all four wheels, which is exactly how Jaguar wants it to be. Electronic control of the power means that in normal conditions all of the V8’s muscle is being sent to the rear wheels, only switching a percentage 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 available more of the time. Where previously you would be relying on the traction control (and your own skill) to keep everything pointing in the right direction, you can now feel the nose of the car pulling you out of the bends. Not only is it more secure, it’s quicker too; from a standing start the AWD F-Type eclipses its two-wheel-drive sibling to 62mph by 0.1 seconds despite weighing 80kg more.

But rather than a significant time-saver 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, while the supercharged V8 is so strong and characterful it makes even short journeys a pleasure. It’s also still hard to believe that exhaust note isn’t illegal…

Value for money

Opting for the AWD R Coupe over the regular version will cost an extra £4,850, but as this represents a 5.5% price premium it 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. It’s also worth remembering there are few cars costing less than £100,000 that can nudge 190mph.

Who would buy one?

If your day job involves driving a Formula 1 car then you might prefer the two-wheel-drive F-Type, but for us mere mortals the AWD F-Type R makes a lot of sense. It’s effortlessly fast, beautiful to look at and now even less demanding to drive, but no less fun with it. All cars are unisex of course, but the F-Type should certainly not just be the preserve of men; this is a sports car that women should get just as much of a kick out of.

This car summed up in a single word: More

If this car was…: equipped with a ski-rack it would be ready for anything


Jaguar F-Type R Coupe AWD, £91,660

Engine:5.0-litre petrol unit producing 542bhp and 502lb/ft of torque

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic gearbox driving all four wheels

Performance: Top speed 186mph, 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds

Economy: 25mpg combined

Emissions: 269g/km of CO2


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