The Jaguar F-Type has long been a favourite car of mine. Since it launched in 2013 I was drawn to its gorgeous design and singing exhaust note – regardless of whether it had a V6 or V8 under the bonnet.
One of my first experiences as an automotive journalist was with an F-Type as well. Young intern James joined his mentor on a video shoot back in 2015 with a white F-Type V6 manual, leaving fond memories of that day.
For 2020 the Big Cat’s sports car has been treated to a refreshed design and enhanced technologies, bringing it more in line with the latest models from Germany.
The Jag’s hallmarks remain, though – it’s still beautiful, it still has a big engine under the bonnet, it sings under throttle, and it’s unmistakably British.
The F-Type R, officially known as the F-Type R P575 AWD Coupe, has the same amount of power from its 5.0-litre supercharged V8 as the outgoing SVR, bringing a sub-4.0-second 0-100km/h sprint and a carryover claimed top speed of 300km/h. Good luck trying to find a stretch of road in Australia long enough to hit it, though.
Priced from $262,936 before on-road costs, the latest F-Type R is about $10,000 more expensive than the pre-facelifted model, but is a whopping $35,000 more affordable than the outgoing F-Type SVR from which it picks up its beefier powertrain.
In addition to the extra power (we’ll cover the details in the engine section), the new F-Type gets more features and technology than before to offset the price adjustment. The flagship variant also gets an “uprated chassis with new springs, dampers, anti-roll bars and rear knuckles” compared to the old version.
The vehicle you see here was fitted with several cost options, though surprisingly they only amounted to around $10,000 over the list price.
These include the full extended leather package ($2110), a fixed panoramic glass roof ($2110), the Exterior Black Design Pack ($1820), 20-inch diamond-turned alloy wheels in gloss black ($1790), dual-zone climate control ($1040, really?!), blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert ($900), ‘Nubuck’ edged carpet mats ($143), and the Santorini Black metallic exterior paint ($2950).
All up, our tester is worth $275,799 plus on-road costs – which works out to a little over $300,000 drive-away.
For reference, the most ‘basic’ Mercedes-AMG GT S coupe is $317,800, a Porsche 911 Carrera S coupe starts at $264,600, while the auto-equipped Aston Martin Vantage is priced from $299,950 – all before on-road costs.
While the Porsche claims similar performance figures, you need to tick a few options boxes to bring equivalent specification to the Jaguar plus it has a six-cylinder engine. The Aston and Mercedes both feature V8s, and have higher list prices.
Equipment highlights for the F-Type R include:
- Pixel LED headlights with signature LED daytime-running lights
- LED tail lights
- R body kit
- 20-inch alloy wheels
- 380mm front and 376mm rear brakes with red calipers
- R-branded sports leather steering wheel with electric adjustment
- ‘Premium’ cabin lighting
- Windsor leather trim
- 12-way electric Performance seats with memory
- R interior appointments
- 10-inch Touch Pro infotainment system with satellite navigation and connected services
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (wired)
- DAB radio
- 12.3-inch Interactive Driver Display
- Active exhaust with quad tips
- Electronic Active Differential and torque vectoring via braking
- Single-zone climate control
- Keyless entry with push-button start
- Deployable bootlid spoiler
- Electric tailgate
- Configurable Dynamics (adaptive dampers)
- Auto-dimming, heated, folding side mirrors with memory
While the aforementioned blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert driver assist features are optional, the F-Type R does pack autonomous emergency braking and lane-keep assist as standard, as well as front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.
It’s not unusual for the luxury and boutique manufacturers to charge extra for convenience items, so in relative terms the F-Type is decently equipped compared to rivals.
We would like to see features like dual-zone climate control and blind-spot monitoring as standard – even just for our market – given such items are now usually included in Jaguar’s passenger and SUV models and other mainstream cars at a fraction of the price.
Like most high-end sports cars, the Jaguar F-Type is unrated by ANCAP or Euro NCAP.
Jaguar has included items like AEB and lane keep assist in line with the latest requirements from the crash-testing firms as part of the facelift, and there’s a suite of airbags (front, side and curtain) as standard.
As noted earlier, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are available as cost options, as are tyre pressure monitoring and a semi-autonomous park assist function.
Not much has changed in the cabin of the F-Type during its seven-year life (so far) and the overall design has aged rather well.
What was starting to date the previous iteration were the in-car displays, which are the key updates for the facelift in the cabin and it certainly brings the cockpit up to speed with the F-Type’s competitors.
The new 10.0-inch Touch Pro infotainment system may not be the latest Pivi Pro interface being offered in Jaguar Land Rover’s latest products, but the high-resolution display and quicker load times compared to the even older system are welcome changes as is the integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, albeit wired.
Jaguar’s 12.3-inch Interactive Driver Display isn’t quite as snappy or sexy as some of the German brands, either, but the graphics are crisp and there’s a good degree of customisation so you can have all your desired information in one place. I personally liked the central tachometer design with digital speedometer flanked by navigation on the left and trip computer on the right.
Our tester’s extended leather upgrade meant almost all of the cabin was trimmed in lovely Tan Windsor leather, adorning everything from the seats to the centre console and the dashboard. It’s gorgeous.
Everything falls nicely to hand, with all the major controls within arm’s reach, and everything you touch feels high-end. The electronically-adjustable steering column with easy entry/exit function is a nice touch, and the supple leather trim is lovely to hold.
Space and practicality takes something of a back seat (pun intended) as you’d expect in a car like this, with not a whole lot of storage around. Two cupholders and a shallow centre cubby round out the obvious storage solutions, but the door pockets are tiny and the limited space behind the seats doesn’t accommodate much.
Overall comfort is decent, though the low-slung body and shapely bucket seats mean those with creaky joints or backs may have a degree of difficulty entering and exiting the vehicle, and may yearn for more padding and support when seated.
Even the boot is small. A running joke with the F-Type Coupe is that the spare wheel takes up almost the entire space… and it still does. Jaguar quotes between 299L and 509L, the latter likely the absolute maximum with no spare wheel in place and filled to the brim.
Now, the party piece. Powering the P575 AWD version of the F-Type is Jaguar’s old-school 5.0-litre supercharged V8, which now makes 423kW at 6500rpm and 700Nm between 3500 and 5000rpm. It’s also accessed via a reverse-opening bonnet like the classic E-Type.
Drive is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission with steering-mounted paddle shifters, as well as an electronically-controlled active differential with torque vectoring via braking.
The latest F-Type R is essentially running the mechanicals of the old F-Type SVR.
Jaguar claims the P575 AWD can dash from 0-100km/h in just 3.7 seconds, and hit a top speed of 300km/h.
As for fuel use, the official combined claim is 11.3L/100km with the help of idle stop/start technology, but good luck getting close to that with a skew towards urban driving and a heavy right foot. We saw anywhere between 15.0L and 18.0L/100km in city driving, dropping to 13-14L with some freeway stints.
With its 70-litre fuel tank, you can expect to cover 450-500 kilometres between fills with mixed driving. As you’d expect, premium unleaded is required.
Like a cat ‘outta hell. But in a good way.
From the moment you fire up that singing supercharged V8, the F-Type R reminds you you’re piloting something really special.
Performance from the get-go is brutal. The V8 pulls hard, and is just as vocal. I can’t tell you how many times the F-Type turned heads on looks alone, but even moreso if I was a bit liberal with the throttle.
Zero to 100km/h in 3.7 seconds looks fast on paper no matter how you look at it, but feeling that kind of power for real makes it feel really fast. It’s seriously addictive, and also requires a lot of self control because you’ll be well on your way to that 300km/h top whack in no time if you aren’t careful.
Brutal acceleration, sharp handling and a supercharged soundtrack make the F-Type R a bloody hoot
The exhaust’s ‘sport’ mode is a full-time necessity, giving you the full soundtrack without being droney or uncomfortable in everyday driving.
Speaking of the daily drive, the F-Type is surprisingly easy to live with as an everyday companion, doing a good enough job of ironing out the various lumps and bumps of Melbourne’s city and suburban roads during our time with the car.
Novice supercar drivers like yours truly may take a hot minute to get used to the wide haunches and limited rear visibility – but that’s all part of the experience, right?
Once the road opens up, the Jaguar really comes into its own.
The Big Cat is far more at home on the highway or winding country passes, where the ride settles and there’s less stopping and starting.
You’ll get to freeway speeds in the blink of an eye if you hammer the right pedal hard enough, to the point it almost feels restricted on Australia’s heavily-policed freeway network.
Hit the twistier stuff and the F-Type offers heaps of grip and sharp turn in which is more than enough for normal driving, but you will feel its 1.8-tonne heft in tighter bends. The steering is well weighted and offers decent feedback, but at times it can feel a touch light for a car such as this.
The big 5.0-litre engine up front can make the F-Type R feel a little nose-heavy too. We didn’t get a chance to take the black cat out on the race track, but we imagine it’d require patience in the bends before you unleashed its monstrous pace on the straights.
If you’re looking for something a little purer in nature with sharper dynamics, the F-Type P380 with its singing 280kW/460Nm supercharged V6 and rear-wheel drive layout is a good 300kg lighter than the V8 while also being nearly $100,000 cheaper. Food for thought.
Fuel bill aside, the F-Type is surprisingly cheap to maintain.
Jaguar covers all its vehicles with a three-year, 100,000-kilometre warranty which is a bit sub-par considering where the wider industry is going.
However, the F-Type range scores five years/130,000km of free scheduled servicing, as well as five years of roadside assistance. Not bad.
Vehicles like this don’t really need reviews. If you’re looking at buying one, you’ve probably already made up your mind.
With that said, there’s a lot to love about the Jaguar F-Type R Coupe. It’s ferociously fast, it’s bloody loud, it cuts a line in traffic, and just look at it – it’s freaking gorgeous. If you’re buying a supercar to turn heads, this will certainly do the job.
The vast array of colours, wheels, leathers and trims mean you can really change the overall look and feel of your F-Type, to the point where no two vehicles should ever be the same. Me personally? British Racing Green over Tan leather every day of the damn week.
MY21 has also brought some valuable upgrades, such as the extra grunt, more equipment and new tech both in terms of infotainment and driver assistance that help the Jag stay fresh amongst newer competition and also make it more liveable day-to-day.
Updates aside, this thing can still tear your face off with its power and will no doubt put a smile on your face every time you drive it.
Operation Black Panther complete.
Click on the images for more photos by Wesley Loh (@garagetribe on Instagram)