Performance & handling
One of the delights of a Jaguar has always been old-school driving appeal, from big engines to sharp chassis engineering, and the F-Type fits the bill here.
The engine note promises good things when you press the starter button and, if you then press the dual-exhaust button by the gear level, you get a thunderous mechanical sound – how Jaguar gets away with such a loud noise is beyond us, but thank heavens they do: this is proper V8 motoring. On an open road, when you squeeze the throttle, the take-up isn’t instant, but rather the acceleration keeps building where the power curve in other cars would start to flatten out. The result is exhilarating, but keep an eye on the speed, because you’re in licence-losing territory before you realise, thanks to the deceptive manner in which the V8 reacts.
The F-Type R gets all-wheel-drive and many of the suspension parts from the discontinued SVR. If you like regularly pushing the boundaries of your car’s grip, you’ll appreciate the traction control system on the Jag: the combination of AWD and the traction control fully on will keep things neat and tidy through the corners, but you can choose a halfway house that allows you to slip and slide a bit, and ruffle a few feathers, before reigning it all back in. The steering matches the precision of the chassis well, but this is still a wide, heavy car compared with some of the competitors such as the 911, so you need all the help that the car’s systems can give to feel on top of things when you’re speeding along.
There are, of course, other versions of the F-Type to choose from: there’s a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine, and a new tune of the 5.0-litre V8, with 444 horsepower, which replaces the V6 on offer with the previous generation. Both are rear-wheel-drive as standard, with AWD offered as an option on the V8. The F-Type R is almost double the cost of the base 2.0-litre car. But, if your budget will reach the R, do it. It’s a thunderous, old-school sports car, full of brooding intent, the likes of which are disappearing in favour of small, lightweight, breathed-on four-cylinder and V6 engines.