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RE: Jaguar F-Type R AWD: Review

RE: Jaguar F-Type R AWD: Review

Tuesday 23rd February 2016

Jaguar F-Type R AWD: Review

Double the traction, half the fun?



Not so long ago we were asking if turbos had ruined the 911 Carrera. Can the same be said of adding all-wheel drive to the Jaguar F-Type?

This one still sounds like it's gargling red hot ball bearings. But is more maturity in the way it transmits its power really what we want? And does adding a four-wheel drive system simply exacerbate the powerfully built Jag's existing weight problem? Given the new 575hp SVR will be all-wheel drive only, now's probably a good time to see if this is the emasculation of the F-Type. Or its making.

Glacier White almost seems apt on a day like this
Glacier White almost seems apt on a day like this
Sharp-eyed F-Type fans will notice the V8 Convertible is now full-beans 550hp R spec, not the 495hp V8 S of the original line-up. That should help hurry along some of the additional 80kg of the AWD version, the 'from' weight of this car listed at 1,745kg. Which is quite a lot.

Glory hunter
Contributing to that and the rather different character of this car is Jaguar's Intelligent Driveline Dynamics, which adds a coupling after the gearbox and a propshaft to the front axle. Most of the time this sits idle and the AWD is actually RWD, like the standard one.

At such point as an idiot motoring journalist with dreams of YouTube glory (guilty as charged) wants to explore the V8's ability to overwhelm the rear tyres clever stuff starts happening. In conversation with the gearbox, active locking rear diff, DSC system and Torque Vectoring by Braking, IDD starts bleeding off drive torque to the front axle and working with the other systems to pull the car straight. Any real men reading this will probably now be muttering 'bloody killjoys'.

And, frankly, if you're accustomed to the heroic cornering stance of the rear-wheel drive F-Types it comes as a bit of a surprise to find you really can give it a bootful on corner exit and not disappear into a cloud of your own tyre smoke.

IDD tech aims to keep rear-driven balance
IDD tech aims to keep rear-driven balance
A tactful intervention
The integration and intervention of the IDD system is slick. Tactful might even be a better way to describe it. Jaguar's aim was to come up with a system that maintained rear-driven steering purity on turn-in and all-wheel drive traction on the way out. Get on the gas early and you'll feel that familiar sense of the car squatting down on its outside rear and the nose pushing into the turn in a gentle rotation out of the initial understeer. But where you'd usually start winding on opposite lock and waving to your fans the F-Type just grips and goes.

If that sounds like a disappointment it really isn't. Because you get the sense of rear-wheel drive balance, the adjustability on the throttle and all the rest. And then the ability to let rip with all that noise and power safe in the knowledge it'll go somewhere useful. As a result mid-way Trac DSC is a happy default and you don't need to swallow a brave pill (or call ahead to your tyre fitter) before turning everything off. Basically you get to enjoy more of the F-Type's performance more of the time.

And, by heck, there's plenty of it too. That kerbweight and the more linear power delivery of JLR's supercharged V8 makes it feel slightly blunted compared with the more dramatically boosty turbocharged equivalents in rivals like the AMG GT. But with that soundtrack - best enjoyed with the roof down of course - you'll forgive pretty much anything. And that's the thing about the F-Type; it's a feel good car.

For all the comedy value of the rear-driven car's theatrics hand on heart this is probably the F-Type most buyers want. And on the icy, ungritted Lincolnshire roads en route to our photo location at Blyton Park it was possible to drop the roof, snuggle into the fiercely heated seats and enjoy the best of a winter's morning without unduly tip-toeing along.

Don't mistake less smoke for less fun
Don't mistake less smoke for less fun
More F-Type, more of the time
All very nice, but after a few laps of the track has the F-Type played all its cards? Actually not. It may be fundamentally a more sensible and usable car but there is still a sense of playfulness if you start to really manhandle it. Stamp late on the brakes and trail them into the apex and the weight shift will pivot the F-Type around, at which point you can get hard on the power and ride out a lovely four-wheel drift with the wheel more or less dead ahead. It's a less natural cornering stance for a burly V8 roadster but fun in its own way. And faster too.

The electric steering introduced with the AWD and manual versions is good and the press pack makes great bones about the effort that's gone into it. Light steering has always been a Jaguar thing but there are times when the weighting feels a little unnatural and inconsistent; possibly the calibration of the assistance or perhaps a consequence of drive torque being fed to the wheels mid-corner but it's a little unnerving.

A worthwhile addition to a burgeoning range!
A worthwhile addition to a burgeoning range!
Spring rates are up by 10 per cent too and on the motorway the secondary ride feels a little fidgety, rattling your eyeballs in their sockets when you really should be able to relax into the journey. And for a six-figure car, especially one up against the likes of Mercedes-AMG and Porsche, there are parts of the interior that feel distinctly plasticky and low-rent. Superficial, perhaps, but the kind of thing you'd pick up on while flitting from one showroom to the next. Standard brakes are fine on the road too but in the unlikely event you're buying your F-Type as a track toy you may want to consider the £7,750 carbon ceramics.

Which brings us back to where we started. Does all-wheel drive ruin the F-Type? Certainly not for a large number of potential buyers and the way they might want to enjoy the car. And if it does sound a bit nannying for you within the 18-car range there remain the more hooligan spec V6 S manuals and rear-driven Rs. Each to their own and all that.


JAGUAR F-TYPE R CONVERTIBLE AWD
Engine
: 5,000cc, supercharged V8
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 550@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 502@3,500rpm
0-62mph: 4.1secs
Top speed: 186mph
Weight: 'From' 1,745kg
MPG: 25.0 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 269g/km
Price: £103,715 (Base of £97,145 with £700 for Glacier White paint, £880 for extended leather pack, £250 for illuminated tread plates, £500 for parking pack, £1,075 for visibility pack, £660 for reverse traffic detection with blind spot monitoring and closing vehicle sensing, £450 for Jaguar smart key system with keyless entry and start, £350 for dual-zone automatic climate control, £55 for air quality sensing with auto recirculation, £1,300 for 12-speaker Meridian surround sound system and £350 for heated seats)

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

Thanks to Blyton Park Driving Centre

 

Author
Discussion

sidesauce

Original Poster:

644 posts

143 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
I'll take that as a coupe in BRG please. No need to wrap it.

olliete

308 posts

36 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
What a beast - but £100k and 1.8 tonnes doesn't win me over

DibblyDobbler

9,806 posts

122 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
Wonder if you can have an AWD + V8 + manual... that would do me smile

DBSnappa

64 posts

156 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
Nice of you to let your dad drive

unpc

1,780 posts

138 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
DibblyDobbler said:
Wonder if you can have an AWD + V8 + manual... that would do me smile
You can't. Manual with a V6 only I'm afraid.
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Beefmeister

14,227 posts

155 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
DibblyDobbler said:
Wonder if you can have an AWD + V8 + manual... that would do me smile
No Manual on the V8 sadly. In fact, no manual with AWD either. So you can have a RWD manual V6 or V6S, or an AWD auto V6, V6S and V8R

j_s14a

769 posts

103 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
The v6 is a cracking engine too though, you never feel wanting for a V8.

jamespink

1,029 posts

129 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
j_s14a said:
The v6 is a cracking engine too though, you never feel wanting for a V8.
No matter how good the V6, I just can't think your statement can be true...

Beefmeister

14,227 posts

155 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
Having done hundreds of miles in both V6S and V8R models, I can see the appeal of the V6 but anyone (including journos) who say the V6 is a better car than the V8 are talking out of their buttocks.

The V8 is one of the most hilariously fun cars I've ever driven, they make me giggle with every journey.

Looking forward to trying the V8R AWD too, have a coupe coming in a couple of weeks.

kambites

53,083 posts

146 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
Slightly off topic, but who the hell thought a white diffuser was a good idea? hehe

Cotic

469 posts

77 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
olliete said:
What a beast - but £100k and 1.8 tonnes doesn't win me over
Only the massive price tag is the stumbling block for me; the weight clearly doesn't get in the way of the performance or feel of the car. It's only a number after all; you'll hardly get the 4-pot Boxster drivers sniggering over the top of their pints.

mitchman83

1 posts

23 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
100k jag and you have to pay for dual zone climate control.

9e 28

5,911 posts

126 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
Lovely but crazy money for a sports Jag... Should be no more than £70k starting price before options IMO for the R. Lesser models should start where Porsche Boxster priced or even a bit less or no one will buy them. I prefer the Jag personally.

MrBarry123

4,390 posts

46 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
jamespink said:
j_s14a said:
The v6 is a cracking engine too though, you never feel wanting for a V8.
No matter how good the V6, I just can't think your statement can be true...
It's probably true though.

He's not saying that you would choose the V6 over the V8 but that if you had the V6 you'd never think "dammit, I wish I had of bought the V8".

jl34

375 posts

162 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
What an awesome beast, cant think of a more fun and exciting convertible to be honest. The closest thing to the modern take on an AC Cobra i reckon.

Fabulous!

JockySteer

1,397 posts

41 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
So heavy frown

Bencolem

400 posts

164 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
9e 28 said:
Lovely but crazy money for a sports Jag... Should be no more than £70k starting price before options IMO for the R. Lesser models should start where Porsche Boxster priced or even a bit less or no one will buy them. I prefer the Jag personally.
Why?

I feel sorry for Jaguar that they get perennially beaten with the 'nice but why so much' tag. I don't understand the basis for this. What other sports car will give you 550bhp + 4WD for £70k to justify your comment?

HGFdodger

261 posts

53 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
The F-Type is just a thing of beauty, and that soundtrack - grief!

RoverP6B

3,506 posts

53 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
The V8 sounds bloody awful. If you want an F-type that sounds nice and is vaguely usable, a base-model V6 is the one to have. Even then, it needs remapping to get rid of the stupid programmed exhaust bangs. AWD and electric steering will just ruin the driving experience.

unsprung

1,337 posts

49 months

Tuesday 23rd February 2016
quotequote all
In the whole of 2015, Jaguar USA sold 4629 F-Types. One wonders about the size of the niche for an AWD version of this car. Still, an uncommonly beautiful car.

Incidentally, to gain a better understanding of scale, you might be interested in how 2015 US sales of the F-Type rank alongside some other indicators.

F-Type
4,629

Corvette Coupe
20,757

Corvette Coupe Z06
6,980

Corvette Convertible
4,830

Corvette Convertible Z06
1,673

Camaro, all
77,502

Challenger, all
66,365

Mustang, all
122,349 (2015)

Mustang, all
82,635 (2014)

BMW, all
346,023

Mercedes-Benz, all
380,461

Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, all
3,100,000

Ford Motor Company, all
2,613,162

Total US Market
17,500,000