First Drive: The Jaguar F-Type received another facelift to bring it up into today’s world. But for that, it needs to do more than just be pretty.
The F-Type has been around for quite a while now. In 2013, we were treated with the sexy design of the F-Type Convertible. And a year later, they went past expectations by releasing a Coupé version. But times have been rapidly changing and the 2017 facelift was purely what the word stands for, a facelift. So is this again just a pretty facial renovation or is there more than meets the eye?
Watch the review first:
Sexy as ever
The new facelift is much more substantial than the previous one. Gone are the headlights that sit high up and they have been replaced with sleek J-shaped headlights that flow with the design language as the entire Jaguar line-up. Exclusive for the F-Type R is also the Pixel LED headlight upgrade meaning you’ll be able to blast your full beams all night without blinding anyone.
The front bumper has been reshaped as well and it now provides bigger intakes which in turn take in more air but also provide a more menacing look to them. And thanks to the new headlights, the hood has been restyled for better heat extraction off that supercharger (more on that one later).
Moving towards the back and changes are less noticeable. Full LEDs and a new diffusor complete the look.
And I have to admit, when I saw the press images for the new F-Type, I too was on the fence about them. But after seeing this thing for the first time in real life. I fell in love with the shapes of this new F-Type as much as I did back in 2013. And people we’ve shown the car had the exact same reaction to it. Especially in this gorgeous SVO Sorrento Yellow.
More than just some plastic surgery
So where to start actually. In the technical department, a lot has changed to make the F-Type R a better handling and more capable instrument. (Because the old one had the reputation of trying to kill you)
The front suspension has been softened whilst the rear suspension has been stiffened. There’s a new subframe, new electronic diff, new dampers, anti-roll bars, and so forth…
But Jaguar’s particularly proud of 2 things: the gearbox and the steering system.
The former has received the calibration from the bonkers Project 8 making it a lot sharper than it was and possibly quite aggressive too. It shifts very quickly but sometimes when you’re just cruising in Normal mode, it tends to give you a bit too much of a nudge then you’d expect.
The latter has been completely recalibrated from zero. And the results are wonderful. It’s not too heavy but still feels very communicative making the F-Type R fit like a glove around you.
The V6 has been dropped in European markets but with the addition of a new lower tier V8 with both AWD & RWD options. The P300 4-cylinder remains the entry-level to owning a cat. The top-dog F-Type R has received a 25 hp power increase by just switching to a smaller pulley.
And boy oh boy, this really is one of the selling points of the F-Type. The supercharged V8 puts out a healthy 575 hp and 700 Nm. However, if you’ve never driven a supercharged car before, you won’t understand why this excites us so much. I know turbos are more efficient because superchargers “steal” power from the engine. But you’re getting all the available torque the very instant you hit the throttle, no waiting a split second for the turbo to spool up. It feels like an electric car once you’re rolling. Well an electric car with a brutal supercharged V8 soundtrack, have we mentioned how good it sounds? It still makes us giggle like schoolgirls when thinking back to it.
Is it a good GT?
Well, Jaguar has put a lot of effort into the interior to make this kitty work on longer distances. You’ve got an all-new digital dashboard with customizable clusters. We liked the central one the most because it’s easier to keep track of your speed plus you have space for 2 smaller monitors on each side.
The central infotainment system also received an all-digital touch-screen upgrade. Now standard with Carplay and Android Auto, it’s perfect to hit the road for long distances. The only thing this screen isn’t too good with is the sun. The screen overexposes quite fast actually.
So the F-Type is a performance beast but as a GT it also needs to be able to cover long distances without any hassle. That’s where these exclusively designed seats come in. They are extremely comfortable whilst holding you in tight. But how comfortable is extremely comfortable? Well, 1600 kilometers in 3 days without any sore feelings anywhere should tell you how comfortable.
Part of that is also thanks to the suspension being just the right stiffness to corner well but not be hideously uncomfortable whilst driving.
Jaguar always manages to make the interior of their cars very practical in day to day use. The trunk is also decently large. It’s not particularly high but it’s very wide and there’s even a small double bottom to put some stuff as well. Perfectly sized for a 2 person road trip.
But most importantly: it passes the CJ trunk challenge.
Is it a 911 killer?
And with that, it brings us back to the question everyone asks every time. The F-Type R is a damn fine looking car, curvy body lines are enhanced by this stunning yellow color. Below the hood is all the performance you could ever want with a V8 soundtrack to die for, did we mention it’s supercharged yet? Well just one last time, it’s a shame not more cars have superchargers.
It handles like it’s driving on rails but at the flick of a switch all that drama changes and it becomes a docile cruiser that just wants to eat kilometers without breaking your back.
Yes, on paper, a 911 is probably superior in every way. But that’s not where the F-Type wins. There’s just so much character in this car that it feels more like a trustworthy feline. The F-Type R speaks to you on an emotional level. And that’s where it wins in our book. The smile says it all right?
Just a few facts
|Engine||5.0L Supercharged V8|
|Tested highway consumption||9,5 L/100 km|
|Overall tested consumption||14,5 L/100 km|
|Base price (BE)||65.100 €|
|Price as tested (BE)||145.739 €|