Jaguar have done a lot to change people’s perception of the brand over the past few years, and since I first drove the F-Type V6s, I fell madly in love. I have known all along that the V8 would be a lot more feisty, but would it matter? Would the extra power, grunt and fangs be needed? I was incredibly eager to find out!
Giving me the keys to the F-Type R was probably one of the most incredible feelings and I couldn’t wait to spend a whole weekend with Jaguar’s fastest vehicle in production.
Huge thanks to Jaguar & Weber Shandwick for this amazing weekend ride.
Lets talk numbers
Before we go into the experience of driving the Jaguar let’s bring some light into the number factory sitting under that front bonnet.
It is a 5 litre supercharged V8 producing 550 horsepower and 680 nm of torque. To put that into perspective, it is very similar to the current generation Porsche 911 Turbo and that says quite a lot.
This power is sent to the rear wheels on this model, but 2016 model years come in AWD meaning a lot better handling, power delivery and speed.
Power is delivered through an 8-speed ZF gearbox and coupled with the monster engine, is capable of a 0-100 time of 4 seconds. That is, if you get off the line without spinning the wheels into shreds.
Overall vehicle dimensions are 4470/1923/1321mm and is pretty compact with a weight of 1665kg which is a little higher than what I would expect from all the aluminium bodywork.
The model as tested came with large 15.0 inch front and 14.8 inch rear disc-brake rotors with standard Red calipers. A Carbon Ceramic option is available.
The R is also available in a convertible, but personally, its Coupe all the way.
The first thing to say is that it is drop-dead-gorgeous. Every single line, curve and opening is functional just as it is beautiful. I do not think anyone has every commented on the F-Type with anything other than words with a similar meaning to “gorgeous”.
Not much has changed on the outside except all badges now are marked “R” for “Rrrrrrawrrrr”.
The real changes are at the back, and let’s face it, that is where you will most probably see it most of the time.
Very distinctively, all V8s come with quad exhaust tips on either side of the rear diffuser while both V6 models have dual exhaust tips in the center. It’s not just the placement, they are a lot more aggressive and are slightly tilted upwards, you know, so your exhaust noises hit people in the face. I love that.
Please do note, you will be making far more noises than you’d imagine in this car, a very very loud one from the back and an even louder noise screaming at its performance.
Everything else remains the same from the Aston Martin like deployable door handles to the rear spoiler that slips flat with the rear end when lowered.
I cannot personally think of many cars that can outdo the Jaguar F-Type in terms of looks. Absolutely stunning machine, and I got a lot of compliments on the looks in this color. Even though I’ve driven an orange and a red F-Type in the past. Must be the exhaust… it sounds like thunder.
What about the Interior?
I would love and hate to say anything has changed. They haven’t.
Identical interiors scream F-Type, which isn’t a bad thing. It was gorgeous to begin with. There is a decent amount of space in here, with a near-perfect driving position.
Quality inside is quite good, but nothing mind-blowing I must admit. Soft materials, lovely finishes and touches, but I would have wished for more wow-factor. Some models come with a bronzed starter button and paddles, but this one didn’t.
Infotainment and driver instrument panels are the same, but the V8 has a higher top speed, naturally considering the increased power. They are always very well lit and provide all the necessary feedback.
It isn’t all fantastic and smooth sailing though. There are quite a bit of annoyances that have carried over; the seats squeak when all the way back and the leather is rubbing against the rear firewall, and there are parts that fail to work.
Once instance was when I started the car, and the central air conditioning vents failed to rise. The air conditioning was on. After turning it off and back on a few times, it popped up.
This particular model came with their signature Meridian surround sound, which for some reason was not as nice or clear as it was I would have liked and especially with the radio, wouldn’t be too sharp. Perhaps the antennas were having a bad day.
Also, on this R, there were a lot more front seat controls compared to the previous models I had tested out.
By all means, these are small things in a world of sleek, fairly comfortable and good quality interiors.
Ok ok time for the drive!
I have been a little bit reluctant about talking about the drive to be absolutely honest.
Let’s start with the positives:
- The driving position, the steering and the visibility is fantastic
- The steering wheel provides great feedback, gives ample control and is perfectly weighted
- The front-engine/rear-wheel-drive dynamics is a historical winner and the chassis control is to-die-for
- The on board computers and traction control do a great job keeping the car pointing in the direction you intend
- The wheels provide great grip around corners and tight spots
- The small car form makes the car extremely nimble and easy to place
- The exhaust note is breathtaking and makes you want to drive it on max-attack 100% of the time
All great then! It is the dream machine! Except for a few things..
I hate to say anything negative about the F-Type R but I must admit.. it.. sigh.. has too much power!
Wait wait, before you hack into my blog and erase what I just said, hear me out.
The V6s has a little under 400 horsepower and with the driving dynamics and chassis in the F-Type, you can give it full-throttle a lot of the times and manage to enjoy the car throughout.
On the V8 though, you cannot use that power 90% of the time! She’s too powerful and let’s face it, you’re not spending all your time on the track, if at all.
I wanted to take a video of the F-Type doing a small burn out and drive off like a bullet. What happened? At half-throttle with the traction control off, the car just sat there spinning its wheels.
In all honesty, this car is brilliant and by all means buy which ever model you like because its a dream in every form, but the V8 will not be properly utilized unless you’re a professional driver and you’re on the track.
That being said, in 2016 the F-Type R will be available in AWD only, which means that on a day to day case, the power can be used in more times than the rear wheel drive version I tested and the only real limitations would be physics, your driving ability and of course, the law.
I took the F-Type on a long journey of about 250 kms and the car was an absolute stunner. The ride was fairly comfortable, handling was spot on and was more than capable of putting a smile on my face between speed cameras.
To sum it all up, if you’re in it for the style, driving abilities and fun every day, get the V6s. If you are rich, want to take it to the track, want the best they have to offer or want a machine for sheer speeding, get the V8.
Here’s a short video of some Jaguar F-Type V8 fun!