Since launch in 2012, Jaguar’s all-aluminium two-seater F-TYPE R has established itself as an attractive option in the premium sports car segment, with a balance of beautiful design, impressive performance and excellent handling dynamics
The first thing that one notices about the F‑TYPE R is its design. As far as cars go, it is superlatively beautiful. Renowned car designer Ian Callum is responsible for the F‑TYPE R’s attractive and well-proportioned lines. With a sculpted, raised bonnet (complete with body-coloured vents) outward mounted quad exhausts, wrap around rear lights and striking 20″ alloy wheels, the F‑TYPE R’s design cues are as practical as they are visually impressive. Its LED headlights (with “J blade” daytime running lights), for example, adapt the width and depth of their beam to the speed and offer a quality of light closer to daylight – providing the best possible illumination regardless of surroundings, while the convertible’s lightweight fabric roof is acoustically enhanced with composite fabric to reduce noise and features a flush fitting heated glass rear window.
Under the bonnet, the F‑TYPE R is no less impressive. Powered by Jaguar’s 5.0 litre V8 405kW supercharged engine with 680Nm of torque (capable of accelerating from 0 to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds), dual independent variable cam timing optimises power at any speed. Power is delivered through an 8-speed “quickshift” automatic transmission while all-wheel-drive provides for optimal performance and grip regardless of road conditions. The F-TYPE R is underpinned by a rigid chassis, all-round forged aluminium double wishbone suspension and electric power-assisted steering system, which combine to deliver excellent road holding capability and superb poise and handling when pressed.
“It’s the difference between a content jaguar and an angry one, and when pressed the exhaust note is viscerally impressive”
One of the nicest touches about the F‑TYPE R is its “active sports exhaust” system which is activated via a button on the centre console. This system reacts to throttle position, speed and engine revs by opening active valves, which allows exhaust gases to take bypass baffles through the rear silencer to produce a much richer (and louder) sound. It’s the difference between a content jaguar and an angry one, and when pressed the exhaust note is viscerally impressive.
The F-TYPE R’s interior is equally impressive, and Jaguar has spent a lot of time improving and refining a range of elements. The seats have been specially engineered and created out of magnesium and this saves more than 8kg of weight compared with previous generation models. They also allow for more space and provide increased lateral support, comfort (made out of premium leather with twin-needle stitching) as well as cooling in the performance seat option. A nice touch is the configurable ambient lighting (drivers have a choice of phosphor blue, pale blue, white, coral or red to suit mood or style) while in activate dynamic mode the lighting switches to red on the door grab handles, centre console and instrument cluster.
Many of the F-TYPE R’s settings can be controlled via the touchscreen, including a the configurable dynamics system which changes throttle sensitivity, gearbox shift points, steering weighting or damper stiffness to suit driving needs. The touchscreen also makes navigation guidance easy, thanks to turn-by-turn voice guidance, junction view and “dead-reckoning” functionality which can accurately position the vehicle even when GPS signals can no longer be received, which is handy when driving through tunnels or city centres. Otherwise, the dash instrument panel is simple, clear and easy to read with two large analogue dials, and on automatic F-TYPE R models, paddles mounted behind the steering wheel allow the driver to select gears sequentially with their fingertips without taking their hands from the wheel.
Priced from about $228,000, the F-TYPE R is an impressive yet beautiful option in the premium sports car market segment.