There’s a refreshed F-Type in town and to celebrate its significantly restyled face and upgraded tech, Jaguar New Zealand has put the top of the line P575 on the press fleet with all its bells and whistles – luckily, we managed to snag the keys.
Although the F-Type is touted as the ‘spiritual successor’ to the legendary E-Type, the new F-Type R P575 is quite removed from the cool 60/70s cat, certainly in terms of performance and electronics. However it is still a raucous sounding 2-seater sports car that turns heads and oozes desirability from every angle.
The big thing to notice right off the bat is the slimness of the headlights. They still sweep back and slot themselves along the front of the clamshell bonnet from the grille to the front wheel arches but take up less than half the previous real estate.
What’s more they are now available with optional pixel LEDs that allow for the high beam to be split and avoid dazzling other drivers. It also adapts its width and depth to the speed you’re travelling at, or when turning a corner, it bends with the curvature of the road, ensuring greater visibility in all situations. They’re underscored by signature J blade DRLs and animated directional Indicators.
The grille itself is bigger and more pronounced while the lower air vents have a new shape and sleekness to them.
The F-Type’s profile remains unchanged, with muscular haunches, pop out door handles and in our review model’s case, large 20” alloys. While the lighting structure at the rear now comes with LEDs and a wrap-around design that meets the rear wheel arches and emphasises the Coupe’s muscular stance. Despite the tailgate not being exactly huge, was optioned to be electric opening and closing (I guess it saves getting your hands dirty), it’s topped off with a body coloured (British Racing/Heritage Green in my case) and underscored by quad tailpipes – more on those in a moment.
Under the aforementioned clamshell lay the F-TYPE R’s 5L supercharged V8 which gives you 575PS (423kW) of power and 700Nm of torque and while it’s their most efficient V8 yet, it’s still gargling 98 at 11L/100km when not being pushed. Mind you, boasting 3.7 seconds 0-100km/h I hardly feel you’ll be looking to feather the accelerator anytime soon.
Venturing inside and you’re greeted with a very similar layout to the previous model, leather seats, leather dash, pop up A/C unit and the like, however, the big differences are when you look towards the technology.
The 10” infotainment system with touch pro gives you access to various menus and data, and it’s easy to use with pinch and swipe gestures to get to what you want. Then there’s the 12.3” interactive driver display, which serves up everything from a full 3D map to an information panel with driving information, navigation updates and see what’s playing on the Meridian audio system.
Now about that exhaust. Jaguar has taken it upon themselves to now have that hefty V8 start up in ‘quiet mode’, thus not annoying any neighbours. But, this can be bypassed using the exhaust button beside the gear stick or selecting Sport in the Driving mode prior to pushing the start button. My preference was the latter as the exhaust note is oh so beautiful.
What’s more, should you have forgotten to select Sport for each and every trip and thereby opening the exhaust baffles, don’t worry, the moment the rev needle hits around 4,000 rpm, the sound of V8 thunder comes along for the ride.
In terms of ride, the F-Type could quite happily be your daily. It sits nicely in traffic (provided you don’t mind people gawping at you) and idles well in slow traffic. Even the wafer thin sports seats are relatively comfortable (the ride is rather firm though).
But on our open pore/open roads, there is a lot of road noise that enters the cabin and even though I upped the stereo or upped the revs, it’s still there, so our top tip would be to find smoother roads should you be heading away on a long run.
That aside, the new F-Type with its AWD is a demon in the corners. I half expected it to understeer with its big V8 under the nose but everything just seems to come together perfectly, even at speeds in excess of 50% over NZTA corner suggestions. The steering is well weighted and the sporty Coupe goes where you point it – thankfully.
It’s a handsome vehicle from every angle and its tuneful V8 just enlivens all your senses. There’s enough room for a large overnight bag, (particularly as you’ll probably opt for more driving than sleeping) and the new technology just adds to the all round driving experience. The SVR option may have gone (for now?) but this R is fully spec-loaded. Plenty to growl or crow about. Loved having it on my driveway too just quietly. (Sorry about the exhaust, neighbours).