2016 Jaguar F-Type R AWD Coupe Review
The ethos of the E-Type with a lot more ferocity
Published: October 22nd, 2015
It's hard to imagine that not too long ago, Jaguar was stuck in its own dated mire, resting on stale designs that hadn't really been touched in decades. Cars like the XJ seemed to be frozen in time, while attempts at new segments like the embarrassing X-Type, meant to combat the BMW 3-Series, just turned out to be a critical disappointment. But that was yesterday.
Ever since Ian Callum took hold of the brand's design, it's as if a fresh breeze has blown through the ranks at Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover, and the F-Type is the capstone on the entire lineup. Of course, there are hurdles to overcome. In 2014, Jaguar sold a little more than 450,000 cars, while BMW sold 1.8 million vehicles globally. That's gotta hurt, but Jaguar has big plans in store.
The F-Type isn't going to be their bread and butter like the upcoming XE sedan or the F-Pace performance SUV, but it is a powerful flagship statement that puts other sports car companies like Porsche on notice that Jaguar is serious about performance. And now that all of their V8 F-Types are getting the all-wheel-drive treatment standard, their top tier flagship is also about serious control to back up the monstrous horsepower.
Exterior: An Exercise in Gorgeous
The first thing you notice about the F-Type Coupe is that it's simply beautiful to behold in ways other sports cars can't match. The 911 is ubiquitous. The Corvette lacks fluidity. Even BMWs i8 seems a bit too edgy when compared to the sex-on-wheels look of the F-Type in coupe configuration.
The way the long hood transitions to a fastback cabin with muscular rear haunches that taper cleanly to slender taillights is pure automotive poetry. We'll say it here without reservation. Ian Callum has officially created the most beautiful production car made on the planet today. Even more than Ferrari, Lamborghini and even Aston Martin. That's a bold statement but a correct one.
The F-Type Convertible hit the market before the Coupe, and the second coming is clearly the more visually appealing one. In Ammonite Grey with yellow brake calipers and monstrously sinister 20" Storm forged wheels, the F-Type has just the right combination of sophistication and dark anger. There's virtually nothing about the F-Type Coupe's body we don't adore.
Interior: Handsome, Just Not Opulent
The F-Type's cabin is more cockpit-like than many sports cars. First of all, it surrounds you. You feel like your sitting deep inside, hugged by the huge sporty bucket seats with the optional $1,000 Suedecloth (alcanatara). Visibility is good, except out the back where the massive C-pillars obstruct with authority. Seat controls allow near-infinite adjustment, and the lateral bolsters are adjustable to accommodate for both levels of driving aggressiveness and physical girth. The seats are grippy and supportive, and even the headliner, A-pillar, the top of the instrument binnacle and the header rail get the faux suede coverage.
Interior finishes could use some work for what you have to dole out. There's a "carbon fiber effect" surface treatment on the center console, but it's not the real deal. It looks attractive enough, but the weave isn't convincing enough for a $100K+ sports car, nor is the leather on the steering wheel -- far too slippery for our likes, especially under hard driving. Of course, you can request real CF on your F-Type, but it will cost you more.
Climate controls are easy to use via the three button/dial/display knobs in the center. The UI, however, leaves something to be desired. It's a bit slow to respond, and the main menu has far too much text, making things difficult to discern while driving. The buttons that flank the touchscreen help matters ,at least.
Overall, there's nothing wrong with the F-Type's interior, but it's just not special enough for a car of this caliber. It's ergnomically solid but lacks the visual and tactile appeal that cars like the Mercedes-Benz GT S have pretty much nailed.
The Driving Experience: Quick and Sure-Footed
The poetic but purpose-built body and the cockpit like interior should all lead to one thought... this thing better drive like hell on wheels. And it does. Once you've planted yourself inside and fired up the bellowing supercharged V8 with the deeply set ignition button, the big car roars to life. Cue the car's Active Exhaust, and all hell breaks loose with an backpressure BRAAAPP that rivals any car out there, regardless of its origin.
Despite the fact that the F-Type is a heavy car, with its weight further increased by 176 pounds by the AWD system, it's made up for by the added driving control and four seasons usability. The Adaptive Dynamics system adjusts constantly to driving style, taking data from body motion, pitch and roll in order to increase the F-Type's stability. The AWD system can send up to 50 percent of torque to the front wheels when driving habits and conditions call for it is wholly reassuring -- but the fact that you can still kick out the rear 295 tires means there's some tailhappy fun, too. The F-Type also has torque vectoring, which provides added control by braking the inside rear wheel and adding power to the outside rear wheel to provide better steering performance under spirited driving. Our test car also had authoritative stopping power from the Carbon Ceramic brake package option, adding $12K to the bill and filling the wheels almost completely.
Get on the throttle at any speed, and the result is stupefying. You get shoved into your seat and the accompanying noise (even with the windows up) is positively intoxicating. The steering, though good, isn't as precise as we would like it. It's not exactly point and shoot, but the F-Type Coupe R AWD is eminently trackable and more fun than most performance cars largely due to the power and noise that accompanies the drive. Braking hard and getting out of a turn quickly is an easy task, and the F-Type R Coupe AWD corners flat in spite of its corpulence. At highway speeds and over long distances, it's nearly flawless. The power and smoothness are just right for a car of this caliber and pedigree.
Final Impressions: Jaguar, the Other Red Meat
What Jaguar has wrought with the F-Type is nothing short of impressive. For those who think Porsches and Mercedes are too commonplace and Corvette Z06s too brash. The F-Type brings true design beauty into the $100K+ sports car realm and delivers healthy doses of both raw power and automotive sophistication to the discerning and affluent customer.
The F-Type R's AWD system brings real world usability to a luxury performer that's now more controllable, easier to drive fast and is now a consideration in northern climes. And if you care at all about that snob factor, you'll be thankful when the valet at that Michelin Star restaurant overlooks the Porsche owner just to tend to your needs first.
Specifications & Price
Engine: 5.0-liter supercharged V8
Transmission: Eight-speed Quick Shift automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, all-wheel drive
Power Output: 550 horsepower / 502 lb-ft
Fuel Economy (mpg): 15 city / 23 highway
Base Price: $106,600
As Tested: $128,695 (incl. $995 destination)
Available Options on Our Test Car:
Vision Pack 3: Adaptive & Intelligent front lighting, front sensors, rear parking camera, blind spot monitor
Carbon Ceramic Matrix Braking System: 20" Storm Forged Alloy Wheels, Carbon Ceramic brake rotors, yellow brake calipers
Individual Options: Illuminated tread plates, Suedecloth Interior Pack
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2016 Jaguar F-TYPE, click here: 2016 Jaguar F-TYPE.