This is the F-type in P450 guise, which is going to probably be the sweet spot in the range. Jaguar’s nomenclature is very simple these days, P450 means it has around 450PS, there is a P300 below (which has the four-cylinder) and the R above, which now comes with the V8 taken from the old SVR. All V8 F-types are a 5.0-litre supercharged unit, thankfully sticking with a tradition that is found almost nowhere else. That means the full 450PS (331kW) is found high up the rev range (6,000rpm) and that you do still have a little lag before reaching peak torque of 580Nm (428lb ft). But that old school style is very in character with the rest of the car, so it isn’t a worry. There’s also plenty of that big capacity ability to just chug through at lower revs before the supercharger kicks in, and the torque curve is then flat, with peak torque remaining from 2,500rpm to 5,000, not too far before you wang into the red line. With that older school feeling of proper supercharged torque also comes an old school sound. The old V8 F-Type was a famous shouter, and while the new one has definitely been told to just keep it down a little, it still can roar with the best of them. There are certainly fewer pops and cracks from the four outlets behind you, but with the exhaust in sport mode the big Jaguar coupe feels no less angry and sonorous than it ever did.
Behind that engine is an eight-speed automatic gearbox. There will never be another F-Type with a manual, simply because in the last year of sale for the old car they sold seven. Yes, seven. It’s not the most sophisticated of changes, with a proper hit to the back with each upshift if you’re really on it, but does the job perfectly well. The metal paddles are also enjoyable to use, although there’s literally no way you’ll ever get your fingers behind them to relax if that’s your driving style.
The P450 comes with two transmissions, either rear-driven – the only V8 F-Type that will not send power to the front, as the R has gone AWD – or all-wheel-drive as per the First Edition spec car we’re driving here. While I loved the lairy nature of the rear-driven car, it did leave some feeling a little on edge, with the safety of the more mature transmission appealing to many. If you are looking for a bit more of that wild fun side, you won’t be too disappointed in the all-wheel-drive version. Power is routed largely to the back, with assistance from the front, so when it gets wet or sticky the F-Type is still an absolute handful. But you will notice that the car feels altogether more planted than you might expect, with mid-corner throttle something you can apply more readily without worrying that the back is going to get all fighty. The steering is decent and the suspension is excellent in normal mode. Sport mode does offer a firmer ride if you wish, but you can customise sport mode and we found sticking the dampers in comfort to be fine for all circumstances away from a track, and less likely to remove a filling. One thing you can do with the AWD car you could never do with the older rear-drive cars is pitch the nose into a corner harder and pull the car through on the throttle. That character has only been enhanced in the new model, feeling a little sharper than the old one, a bit more able to string corners together whereas the old one was sometimes a bit of a “take it one corner at a time” beast.