How do you make one of the most seductive looking sports cars currently on sale even better? Add a sensual V8 soundtrack of course! If you have read my previous reviews about the Jaguar F-TYPEs I have driven you will already know that it is one car I love, actually.
A quick scan of the 21MY F-TYPE R Coupé specs reveals the R has stepped up a grade with the same power, torque and 0-100km/h time as the 20MY F-TYPE SVR. The F-TYPE R’s 5.0L supercharged V8 engine, known as the P575, produces 423kW @ 6,500 rpm and 700Nm of torque between 3,500-5,000 rpm. Thanks to all-wheel drive and 305mm wide rear tyres the power is transferred to the road very effectively and you will go from 0-100km/h in a spritely 3.7 seconds. The R is a beautifully balanced machine to drive and I never once felt intimidated by the power it produced.
The entertaining V8 engine has an appetite to rev and the engine pulls prodigiously as the taco whips around when you accelerate hard; the snarl of the engine is accompanied by the cackle and bark from the exhaust as you upshift at around 6,000rpm or if you hit the rev limiter the taco flashes red. On downshift in the 8-speed automatic gearbox I appreciated that gear selection occurred when I wanted it to, not when the computer said so. The one thing that diminished this experience was the flimsy plastic paddle shifters, tactile metal shifters like those used in the P380 F-TYPE First Edition are so much nicer to touch and are a $110 optional extra on the R.
The maximum speed is down on the 20MY SVR by 22km/h and so the R is ‘only’ good for 300km/h, information that is only useful if you live in Germany and have access to an autobahn. Another difference was the amount of fuel I used, the quoted combined fuel economy for the R is 11.3L/100km and for my week of heavy-footed driving I used 20.2L/100km, which is considerably more than the 12.8L/100km I used in the MY20 SVR; this surprised me a lot.
Under the bonnet in place of the plain metal engine cover seen on the SVR the designers at Coventry have used a black plastic engine cover with ‘Jaguar’ written on it, a slight improvement in my eyes. But what I would love to see staring back at me when I popped the hood is a snarling Jaguar head like the badge that adorns the front on the car. Because this engine is an animal, the growls emitted from the quad-exhausts when you put your foot down are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. It’s not quite as loud as the SVR on start-up though, something your neighbours may appreciate.
The Santorini Black F-TYPE R I drove also included the Exterior Black Design Pack ($1,820) and Gloss black 20” wheels ($1,790) for the complete blacked-out appearance. I really liked that look a lot and for me it enhanced the F-TYPE’s looks even more, if that is even possible!?
The black exterior was superbly paired with tan Windsor leather throughout the cabin, thanks to the full extended leather upgrade ($2,110). Like all the F-TYPEs I have driven getting into the R felt like a comfortable, warm embrace of a loved one. This smell of quality envelopes the cabin and everywhere I touched the soft, smooth leather was found. I really enjoyed the low driving position of the performance seats and how they supported me and hugged my waist subtly. The seats have 12-way power adjustment and three memory positions to store the perfect position once you attain it.
My default routine when I got into the F-TYPE R was to turn Dynamic mode ‘on’, designated by the chequered flag on the drive mode selector, the switchable active exhaust set to ‘loud’ and rear wing ‘down’. Configurable dynamics come standard in the F-TYPE R so you can select between sport or comfort mode for the engine, gear shift, steering and suspension. But for me the ride comfort in Dynamic mode was perfectly suitable for everyday use. Comfort mode is very cruisy and you also get rain/snow/ice mode for slippery driving conditions.
The cabin design is largely unchanged from the 20MY F-TYPE meaning space is still a premium. There is only a shallow storage cubby under the arm rest where two USB ports, a 12V outlet and one micro sim slot are located. Storage in the door cubby is only large enough for sunglasses and there are two cup holders in the centre console. The foot wells are also quite narrow, so if you have a passenger with you and your handbag is on their floor it may get in their way.
The new F-TYPEs get a 10” touch pro infotainment system as standard that includes DAB radio and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and an interactive driver’s display that is configurable. Something that is still an optional extra, but I think should come standard on a car costing more than $250k, is dual zone air conditioning at $1,040. There is an androgynous face on the steering wheel to indicate it has voice control capabilities, but similar to the P380 F-TYPE voice control is not fitted. My R also had the optional fixed panoramic sunroof ($2,110), which does add to the cabin’s ambience, particularly in the dark when the reflection of the cabin can be seen in it when you look up.
Driver safety aids in the F-TYPE R are limited to standard cruise control, lane keep assist, emergency braking and standard rear view camera. It does have front and rear parking sensors, but you need to remember to turn the front sensors on as they default to off and if you are not aware of this you may bump into something. My F-TYPE also had the optional Blind Spot Assist pack ($900), which includes blind spot assist with steering assist or alert only and rear traffic monitor. The F-TYPE does not have an ANCAP or Euro NCAP safety rating.
The boot now comes standard with a powered tailgate (previously this was an optional extra) and can be opened from the key fob, a button in the cabin or the button under the boot lid. The boot is shallow, but looks large enough for a set of golf clubs and easily carries the weekly shop or some overnight bags if you are going on a romantic weekend getaway. Under the boot floor there is some additional storage and a tyre repair kit.
Another significant change across the entire Jaguar Australia model line-up is a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty with 5 years roadside assistance. All new F-TYPEs also include a 5 years/ 130,000km (whichever occurs first) complimentary service plan that covers standard service costs during this period, something uncommon among other sports car manufacturers.
My affection for the Jaguar F-TYPE remains unwavering and every time I drive one I feel both soothed and excited. The looks and V8 engine of the R have a lot to do with this, but for me at least there is something intangible about the F-TYPE that I adore. Prices for the 21MY Jaguar F-TYPE R Coupé start at $262,936 excluding on-road costs and as tested my R Coupé was $272,849 plus on-roads. Visit your preferred Jaguar retailer to discover the allure of F-TYPE for yourself.
|The way I feel when I drive an F-TYPE||Flimsy plastic paddle shifters|
|The playful V8 engine||High fuel use|
|Now comes with 5 years’ warranty & servicing||Limited storage options in the cabin|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.