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Driven: Jaguar F-Type R AWD Convertible. Image by Jaguar.

Driven: Jaguar F-Type R AWD Convertible
Does a four-wheel drive 5.0 V8 Jag make any sense in the UK?

   



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Jaguar F-Type R AWD Convertible

5 5 5 5 5

Good points: gorgeous looks, splendid interior, incredible noise, brutal performance, balanced handling.

Not so good: still has a tiny boot.

Key Facts

Model tested: Jaguar F-Type R AWD Convertible
Price: F-Type Convertible from 56,745; F-Type R AWD Convertible from 97,145; car as tested 106,255
Engine: 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol
Transmission: all-wheel drive, eight-speed Quickshift automatic
Body style: two-door, two-seat convertible
CO2 emissions: 255g/km (Band L, 870 VED year one, 490 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 26.4mpg
Top speed: 186mph (limited)
0-62mph: 4.2 seconds
Power: 550hp at 6,500rpm
Torque: 680Nm from 2,500- to 5,500rpm

Our view:

This won't be a long review of the ultimate example of Jaguar's showmanship - we drove this car not long ago on the roads in and around New York. Yet we fear the glamour of showing off in one of the world's megacities might have tainted our objective viewpoint of the F-Type R AWD Convertible. So it's back to good old Blighty, and the misery of regular commutes up and down the A46, M1 (which has a 22-mile, SPECS-enforced 50mph stretch of roadworks that have been there since 1928 and which would test the patience of any saint) and M25. Does it still feel special when super unleaded is 1.20 a litre and you're using about six horsepower of the V8's grunt to creep along in snarled-up traffic?

Time has not dulled the impact of the Jag's lines and so it certainly feels special on the looks front, both outside and in, although that gloss is taken off when a couple of morons in a silver Corsa start making hand gestures at you on the M1. And we're not talking politely waving, either. To be fair, this is the first time in a performance Jaguar we've had this sort of response, as normally people and other road users are very complimentary about the big Jags, but there you are. And as these cretins were driving along with just their daytime running lights on at 10pm, it's probably fair to say their mental state is suspect.

Still, you can soon cheer yourself up with the thunderous mayhem of the F-Type's 5.0-litre V8. As we've said before, for a two-seat vehicle that's less than 4.5 metres long and only 1.3 metres high, a kerb weight of 1,745kg is not what you'd call light. Yet the twin weapons of 550hp and 680Nm render the Jag's portliness an irrelevance. Acceleration is ballistic and the noise of the V8 is sublime, aided by one of the most ferocious exhaust systems on the market today. Yep, the performance remains phenomenal.

So is the handling. We are convinced of the benefits of having some drive sent to the front axle when required, because, while the F-Type R still feels like it commands respect and still feels like it needs a bit of talent to keep it on the boil, neither does it feel evil. Dry weather grip levels are stratospheric and for once, the British summer weather didn't allow us to drive the car in torrential conditions. More's the pity.

However, for the simple task of covering distance in a regulation manner, the F-Type aces it. On a trip to Heathrow and back, this 186mph car managed to return 34.4mpg across the 300-mile journey. That's just amazing. It also proved supremely comfortable at cruising up and down the motorways, so it's not merely a sunny day car that only works when a certain, limited set of conditions present themselves. Save for the silly boot, if you had the money then you could easily live with one of these things on a daily basis.
It's a strange amalgam of characteristics, this F-Type. It's a four-wheel drive (practical) convertible (stylish) with a 550hp engine (bonkers). And yet somehow, like one of those weird, 8.95 cocktails you try in a bar at 1am when all your sense of reasoning has gone out the window, it works. Beautifully. No doubt about it, definitely opt for the AWD F-Type R open-top. It doesn't rob the car of any of its enjoyment factor and it also makes it a more predictable machine approaching the dynamic limits. It's also utterly capable of dealing with the drudgery of day-to-day driving. And idiots in Vauxhall Corsas. The F-Type R AWD Convertible remains one of our very favourite cars of any shape or form.

Alternatives:

Audi R8 Spider: we're still waiting for the second-generation open-top R8 but it will have a V10 engine and plenty of dynamic ability. Will likely be more money than the Jaguar.

Ferrari California: supposedly a four-seater but in reality it isn't. Very glamorous image, costs half as much again as the Jaguar and we reckon the British car looks far nicer.

Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet: also more expensive than the Jag and also supposedly a four-seater, yet its technical make-up is close to the F-Type R AWD's. The Jaguar is more involving to drive.


Matt Robinson - 27 Aug 2015



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2015 Jaguar F-Type R AWD. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar F-Type R AWD. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar F-Type R AWD. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar F-Type R AWD. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar F-Type R AWD. Image by Jaguar.

2015 Jaguar F-Type R AWD. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar F-Type R AWD. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar F-Type R AWD. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar F-Type R AWD. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar F-Type R AWD. Image by Jaguar.



2015 Jaguar F-Type R AWD. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar F-Type R AWD. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar F-Type R AWD. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar F-Type R AWD. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar F-Type R AWD. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar F-Type R AWD. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar F-Type R AWD. Image by Jaguar.
 






 

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