Nobody should put this Baby in the corner

Charming, rebellious, popular, confident and attention-loving; just some of the attributes of the Baby in the family and words that could easily be used to describe the Jaguar F-TYPE R-Dynamic RWD. Although the R-Dynamic has the smallest of the three engines in the F-TYPE model range, it still has all the moves. Combine this with a convertible with gorgeous looks and you have a highly desirable car.

The door handle presents itself ready for you to take Baby by the wheel

Take this Baby for a dance down your favourite country road and revel in the dynamics that Jaguar has spent 10,000,000 hours of virtual testing and 12,000 miles of track testing on Germany’s legendary Nürburgring Race Track. Engage Dynamic Mode in the F-TYPE and you get faster gearshifts, sharpening of the throttle response, and increased weight in the steering. I’m not one to push a car to its limits on the road, but through some of my favourite tight twisty corners the R-Dynamic could not be faulted. Also the ride is not bone crushingly hard making it easy to live with every day, so the best of both worlds really.

The 4-cylinder 2.0 litre turbocharged Ingenium petrol engine in the R-Dynamic is new to the F-TYPE range and has 221kW and maximum torque of 400Nm between 1,500-4,500rpm offering enough power to enjoy the dynamics of the F-TYPE with the added advantage of lower running costs. The R-Dynamic convertible will do 0-100km/h in 5.7 seconds.

During my week with the F-TYPE I achieved 10.2l/100km, the quoted fuel use from Jaguar is 7.2l/100km for the combined cycle with the SVR convertible achieving 11.3l/100km. However, real world figures for the SVR would be considerably more than this, being it has a 5.0 litre supercharged V8 engine.

Do you think the 4-cylinder engine lacks potency and aural excitement? Well you would be incorrect. The engine has more than enough power for you to enjoy plus the Active Sports Exhaust makes plenty of pops and bangs up and down gear shifts and on lift off meaning plenty of smiles for the driver. The Active Sports Exhaust does this by opening valves that allow exhaust gases to take a more direct, less restrictive route through the rear silencer producing all the noises that are car lover enjoys. You can switch the Active Sports Exhaust off if you want to be a less conspicuous.

The location of the exhaust also gives you an easy way to identify what engine the F-TYPE that just went passed you has. With the 4-cylinder having a single central mounted exhaust, the V6 dual central exhausts and the V8 quad outboard mounted exhausts.

“A piece of design should tell a story. F-TYPE’s lines have a start, a direction and a conclusion. Make every line individual and aesthetically correct, with the right dimensions, and a design will stand the test of time,” says Jaguar’s Design Director Ian Callum. Close your eyes and imagine what a two seat sports car should look like in your head and you will see the silhouette of the F-TYPE. The design team have certainly achieved a classic sports car look and you can’t but help admire the F-TYPE with hungry eyes.

 

Usually the coupe version of a car looks the most visually pleasing, but I think that the convertible with the roof down is the best looking model in the F-TYPE range. The lightweight fabric roof is available in a choice of four colours (black, grey, red or beige) and it is acoustically enhanced with composite fabric to reduce noise, which really does work! The roof can be raised or lowered in just 12 seconds and operated fully automatically at speeds of up to 50km/h and the mechanism that raises and lowers the roof really is magically to look at.

One design feature I really liked was that when the rear wing was up it displayed the Jaguar logo when you looked in the rear view mirror. A gentle reminder that you are driving a piece of English car heritage that is even fit for the Queen and the Prince of Wales.

I drove the F-TYPE for a week in the Sydney winter, which is basically equivalent to an English summer and it was the perfect temperature for a convertible when the sun was shining. The cold rainy weather at the beginning of the week did give me a chance to really test out the heating in the car. When I drove the Lamborghini Huracán Spyder last winter one of the problems with it was that no matter how high I turned up the heat it was still cold in the cabin with the roof down.

Once the sun came out and I dropped the roof there were no such problems in the F-TYPE. The cabin was toasty warm even at speed, partially thanks to the vents behind the seats that blew warm air around your neck plus the active central air vent that rises to help pump the hot air in when needed and then retracts after use so you don’t cook in the car with the roof up. For added warmth there are also heated seats (they are cooled as well for summer driving) and a heated steering wheel (part of the Climate Pack 2 optional extra that costs $1,480). All of these features really do make driving with the roof down in cooler weather a pure joy.

Talking about the seats, they are a lightweight magnesium construction and support you nicely, which is good because the Performance seats in the F-TYPE I tested were a $2,330 optional extra. They have 12-way are electrical adjustability and three memory settings (part of the Seat Memory Pack 2 optional extra $2,210). Why three memory settings I do not know as it’s only a two-seater car most likely to be owned by a couple. You certainly wouldn’t want your children thinking that they were allowed to drive your beautiful F-TYPE when they were old enough. The seats can be adjusted so you sit very low in the car, giving you close-to-the-centre-of-gravity seating for a complete connection with the car and the low facia is free from clutter to increase the view ahead.

The interior looks and smells special; it’s swathed in leather with chrome highlights. The premium leather interior pack includes leather door trim, Windsor leather seats, console and instrument panel topper (a $4,720 optional extra). My F-TYPE also had a carbon fibre centre console ($1,020 optional extra) to add to the sporty feel of this little beauty. The F-TYPE has an easy to use 10″ colour touchscreen to access the Touch Pro infotainment system. The system responds directly to touch and swipe gestures, for navigation, music, phone, climate and driver assistance features. This works well, but there is no voice control to access these features.

My F-TYPE had a DAB radio ($640 optional extra) and was fitted with the 770W Meridian Surround System. The audio package is $7,260 well spent with a system of 10 speakers and 2 subwoofers that offer a great sound. Meridian uses Cabin Correction technology to analyse cabin shape, acoustics and resonance characteristics in order to help remove unwanted sounds. Perfect for blasting out the soundtrack of your favourite 1980s movie soundtrack perhaps?

I took a number of friends for a spin in the F-TYPE and it was easy to carry on a conversation the top down. One feature that did perplex me in the cabin was the divider that extends from the dash along the edge of the centre console on the passenger side. I pointed it out to one friend and she said ‘I know what that’s there for. It clearly indicates to the passenger that they are not allowed to mess with the settings in the car!’ I must say love this explanation because there is nothing worse than someone sitting in your car and changing the radio station or your temperature setting, which they shouldn’t need to as there is dual temperature controls anyway.

F-TYPEs have safety features including Emergency Brake Assist, rear parking aid and pedestrian contact sensing as standard. Mine had the Drive Pack optional extra ($2,210) that includes blind spot monitor, reverse traffic detection, driver condition monitor and lane keep assist. Plus a front parking aid ($710) and rear view camera ($1,060). But no adaptive cruise control, which does take the stress out of driving in traffic, if you have it in your car.

I’ve mentioned many optional extras so far, but these are just a handful of what is actually available for you to choose from. Pretty much every aspect of the F-TYPE can be customised to your personal preference. There are four different roof styles in the model range aluminium, panoramic glass, carbon fibre or convertible, 30 paint colours (my F-TYPE was Yulong White), 12 wheels designs and then you have to choose your interior finishes and colours. Many hours could be spent on the Jaguar configurator perfecting your F-TYPE. But greater customisation means greater cost and the recommended retail price for the Jaguar F-TYPE R-Dynamic RWD Convertible starts at $133,512 and as tested it was $168,782 plus on-road costs.

Overnight bag selection would be critical to fit all of your luggage into this small boot

One of the downsides of a convertible is the lack of boot space and I’m afraid this is certainly the case with the F-TYPE. Its boot is officially 207 litres and includes a narrow opening under the roof storage area and a deep area where the spare wheel should be and I wouldn’t be able to fit a weekly shop in there. There’s no spare wheel and you only have repair foam in case of a puncture or you can call Jaguar roadside assistance. Another feature I didn’t like was the Stop/Start system, it’s meant to be fast reacting, but it isn’t if you ask me and I found myself swearing when I forgot to disengage it immediately when I got in the car.

If I were to describe the F-TYPE R-Dynamic RWD convertible in one word it would be ‘tight’. The seats hold you tight, and the traction control keeps things tight on the road. The F-TYPE I tested had 8,500kms on the odometer and there were no rattles, again tight. I guess you could say I had the time of my life with the F-TYPE and certainly wouldn’t be leaving this Baby in the corner of the garage, I would be driving it every opportunity I got if I were lucky enough to own one.

For more information about the Jaguar F-TYPE range contact your local Jaguar dealer.

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

 

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