Written by: Calvin Chan
Photography by: Don Cheng
The Jaguar F-Type is a game of restraint. Packed with so much power and an exhaust ripped straight from the cords of an AK-47, the F-Type will get you into trouble if you’re not careful. It’s a justified showboat of theatrics, adrenaline, and style. Whereas the chief rival and subjective benchmark, the Porsche 911, feels a touch clinical and sterile, the F-Type brings its bad-boy haircut and R-rated attitude to the playing field and provides quite a special driving experience.
2016 brings a host of new features for the F-Type: all-wheel drive, a manual transmission, an upgraded infotainment system, and electrically assisted power steering. These major additions transform the F-Type into an entire model range, catering towards different markets around the globe. Manual enthusiasts, track-fiends, winter drivers; there’s an F-Type for everyone. Lucky for us, we’ve been handed the keys to Jaguar’s most powerful kitty on the bench, the F-Type R AWD Coupe, and it is hands down one of the most exciting cars we’ve ever had the pleasure of driving.
The F-Type R Coupe captured more attention than we were expecting as well. The car has been out for a couple of years now but wherever we drove, people always stopped for a double take, a thumbs-up, or just a long dirty stare. You definitely don’t get this much recognition when driving a run-of-the-mill 911.
F-Types equipped with the new AWD system also get a few distinctive cosmetic changes of their own: a re-sculpted front hood, new vents that are located closer to the front of the vehicle, AWD badging and a body-coloured rear bumper. There’s also a choice between a glass panoramic roof and a fixed carbon fibre roof ($3,600) that’s lighter and more rigid.
The rest of the vehicle is made from a lightweight aluminum construction and provides a stable and rigorous structure. Housed within it is a 550-hp V8 ripped straight from the extinct XKR-S and replaces the old 495-hp V8 S variant from 2015. Mounted within the "V" is a Roots type twin-vortex supercharger that allows for an incredibly compact design.
Any figure above 500 horsepower is pure overkill on the streets, but find yourself on a private track and 0-100 km/h in the F-Type R will flash by in a mere 4.1 seconds up to a final top speed of 300 km/h. That bests even the turbo-fed monsters from BMW’s M division.
Don’t let the AWD badge fool you though. The F-Type R sends 100% of power to the rear wheels unless it detects slip, and only then will it send up to 50% of power to the front wheels. Jaguar says that this is to preserve the RWD driving nature that every enthusiast loves. I guess they’re referring to tail slides and accidental drifts.
So it’s more appropriate to think of the F-Type AWD as a rear-wheel drive car but with more power and a guardian angel watching over you. You know, just in case you find yourself over-rotating into a tree. The F-Type R is a sensitive cat and only needs a slight prod of driver input to get it going. No matter what you do, the rear wheels will always refuse to follow the front wheels, but it's now more manageable.
However, the most impressive aspect of the F-Type R is the exhaust. See that googley-eyed button on the center console that looks like a picture of Wall-E? That’s what Jaguar calls the Active Sports Exhaust button, or what we like to call a double barrel shotgun. It turns the F-Type into a terrifying banshee that pops, burbles, and crackles every time you let off the throttle on overrun. The noise is nothing short of savage and if you see a tunnel approaching, be prepared to plug your ears.
“Is that even legal?” I would get asked on the street. What I’ve learned is that the F-Type’s hostile exhaust sounds even louder from the outside. Luckily I had the odd chance encounter with another F-Type R on the highway and we happily blasted down in mutual harmony, taking turns letting our Jags crackle and fart in front of each other’s faces and finally getting the chance to fully appreciate our car’s soundtracks.
Of course, you can turn it all off and cruise quietly if you so desire, and I would recommend doing so if you find yourself sneaking into the garage late at night. Having a raucous exhaust is nice, but what makes the F-Type’s so perfect is the ability to turn it off when you want to – a luxury not every vehicle has. With the silencers attached, the F-Type strolls along the streets like a quiet GT cruiser.
This is also the first example of a Jaguar sports car to come equipped with electric powered steering. Though a bit on the feathery side, the steering is tactile and offers good feedback from the road. It’s free of any synthetic feel until you’re moving at low parking speeds where the wheel eases up and becomes overly light. It’s not as good as the hydraulic rack of the past, but leaves little to complain about.
Care to peek at the brakes? You’re looking at $13,000 worth of enormous carbon ceramics with 15.7-inch rotors at the front and 15-inch rears. Coupled with distinctive yellow monobloc calipers – 6 piston front and 4 piston rear – Jaguar says it offers 21kg of weight savings. For the same price as a base Chevrolet Spark, it’s a hard option to recommend, especially when you consider the fact that the standard brakes are just as good.
What about the innards? The F-Type’s interior certainly looks the part – leather and suede sport seats, a driver-centric cabin, fighter-pilot switches, clever rising fans and dual mode rotary switches – everything screams quality, though a few plasticky panels and down-market bits mar the perfect score.
An option that I would highly recommend is the Vision Package ($2,300). The blind spots on the F-Type are simply atrocious – either that or get the convertible soft-top. The Jag also receives a nifty active rear spoiler that deploys at faster speeds, but it subsequently blocks half of your rear view mirror when it does so.
On the plus side, the coupe’s trunk is fairly roomy when you compare it to the convertible variant – 407L of cargo room isn’t bad. There’s more length in the derrière but it still lacks depth. Your French buns and cereal boxes are going to have to sit sideways, but the way the integrated fastback-style tailgate opens is nothing short of cool.
In the sports car segment, the Jaguar F-Type is one the classiest and most characterful examples you can choose from. And by the heavens it’s also the loudest. Not a soul can hide from those fire-breathing gun barrels, not even the cops. Like we said before, the F-Type taunts you in a game of restraint.
Knowing how to feather the throttle while suppressing the temptation to explore the latter half is key; knowing when to turn off the Active Exhaust so you don’t make the poor old granny’s hearing aid explode is important; and simply knowing when to go slow and watching for law enforcement is crucial. Maybe that’s why it feels so special to drive one - the F-Type has got that risky mindset with a top-dog attitude. With slicked back hair and a leather jumpsuit, the Jag stands as the bully in the classroom, the one that beats on the A+ student named Porsche and the star athlete they know as BMW.
型号 Model: 2016 Jaguar F-Type R AWD Coupe
顏色 Paint Type: Ammonite Grey
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $117,500
試車售價 Price as Tested: $137,200
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,622
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,470 / 1,923 / 1,314
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,730
引擎 Engine: 5.0L Supercharged V8
最大馬力 Horsepower: 550 hp @ 6,500 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 502 lb-ft @ 2,500 - 5,000 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed Quickshift Automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
前懸 Suspension-Front: Double wishbone
後懸 Suspension-Rear: Double wishbone
煞制-前 Brakes-Front: 398mm ventilated discs - carbon ceramics
煞制-後 Brakes-Rear: 380mm ventilated discs - carbon ceramics
油耗 Fuel Consumption (Observed)- L/100 km: 15.1 observed averaged
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Pirelli P Zero