SEATTLE, January 22, 2016 — Of course there are slightly faster cars for the money than the 2016 F-Type R but few seem to capture the overall prowess this car has in spades. Jaguar has done a phenomenal job of creating a car that has some of the coolest body lines we know of – it has a stunning front end with a rear end that’s jaw-dropping.
To suggest that Jaguar knocked the ball out of the park when it comes to the styling of the F-Type would still be understanding things here. This 2016 model is identical to the prior year in regards to style, packages and powertrain but adds all-wheel-drive.
We still have that glorious supercharged, 5.0-liter V8 that churns out 550hp and 502 lb-ft of torque. The same, best-in-class-sounding exhaust system is still in play here as well. Once you turn on the performance mode of this car – which also opens up some internal exhaust baffle – you’ll about wet your pants. There simply isn’t a better-sounding sports car (in stock form) on the road today, we’re aware of, than the F-Type R.
All that horsepower and torque did quite well in the former 2-wheel drive versions of the car, however, Jaguar felt that in order to grow its potential customer base for this car, that having all-wheel-drive would help achieve that. Jaguar built the system to maintain a rear-wheel bias which is great for driving enthusiasts – it has a bit of oversteer until you sense the front wheels kick-in.
Its eight-speed automatic transmission is simply awesome. While the driver in me will always have a soft spot in my heart for a manual gearbox, the Jaguar transmission shifts through gears faster than a manual could ever dream of.
Car and Driver got it to hit a 0.98 g of lateral grip on the skid pad with a 0-60 time of a mere 3.4 seconds and a standing quarter mile time of 11.7 seconds. While these numbers are extremely impressive, one of the biggest challenges for the F-Type is that the Corvette Z06 exists and is in the same price range – the Vetter offers-up better objective numbers but may not have the level of refinement for some folks that we see in the Jaguar.
Speeding around the wet roads of the greater Seattle area in October that the F-Type R with all-wheel-drive proved to be a stellar experience. Try doing that in a two-wheel-drive model and you’ll be kicking-in a great deal of traction control assist or looking down the road at a 45-degree angle with the traction assist off. On dry pavement, it’s stock Pirelli P Zero rubber tires provide more grip than a mouthful of dentures using Super Polly Grip.
Inside, Jaguar has done a phenomenal job of keeping things both “clean looking”, stylish, comfortable and with a good infotainment system. Powered by Meridian Audio, there’s not much to balk at in regards to easy operation, clarity of sound and volume.
The leather is very upscale looking, the surfaces all around have a nice touch to them with stitched leather and the seats are simply amazing – even for long road trips. To be honest, it’d be nearly unforgivable to buy a car like this and not road-trip it for a few hours at a time out on the open highway.
Starting at $103,600 puts the car into the bracket of a Nissan GTR, loaded Z06 Corvette, Porsche 911, Audi S8 and others. Good company to be in for sure but does it hang with what the competition offers? You’ll have to be the judge of that after you test drive one. It offers impeccable styling, a top-notch interior, an infotainment that’s good but still looks a bit dated and what is likely the most available cargo space in its class.
Base price: $103,600
Price as tested: $124,695
EPA Rating: 15/23 mpg