Road Review: Jaguar F Type R AWD

Look at the Jaguar F Type R AWD in these pictures and you’d never think there was any difference between it and the rear-wheel drive version that proceeded it. On the face of it, there isn’t – bar a tiny chrome lug on that R badge – it says AWD. Which not only means that there is significant change under the skin, but it also confirms that new driven front axle transforms this machine from a wayward beast into a precision driving instrument – and a most significant step forward in performance driving.

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Regular readers will be well aware of our on-going bleating about manufacturers delivering cars that can be downright dangerous in the wrong hands or conditions. The conventional rear-drive version of this car is a case in point – and it is certainly not alone – most M cars, AMGs and any other rear driven car with upward of 300kW, 500Nm or more under 5000rpm and rear-wheel drive is equipped to light up the rear end at the touch of the throttle with the traction nannies off.

And yes, I’m the first to take wholesale advantage of that to hoon and carry on sideways, spin and burn it out – I love it. But I also know how to drive like that. Not too many other people do however and faced with five hundred rampant horses and torque enough to quell an atom bomb right from idle, the average driver can very easily find him or herself in all kinds of trouble.

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We believe that it is irresponsible to sell cars that even trouble pro drivers, to the man in the street and many carmakers indeed do sell vehicles that are downright dangerous in most conditions with traction control switched off. They may as well hand you a thunder flash disguised as a cigarette – and offer to jack it up for you… There is a very simple solution to that however and Jaguar has just come to it with this F Type R AWD. We have always moaned about the (rear-driven) F Type’s inability to put the power down – it’s either banging against the traction control or if that happens to be off, lighting the tyres in gay abandon – something we maintain spoiled an otherwise superb effort. So when we first heard about this F Type R AWD cat, we were intrigued.

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And now that I’ve driven it, I’m gobsmacked. Not only does it absolutely overcome those wayward rear-drive habits, but this car is totally transformed into a driver’s tool of the highest order. As noted, besides the badge, a more prominent bonnet power bulge and revised bonnet vents, there’s nothing to give it away. In fact none of the fifteen fellas I asked what the difference was at the pub could figure it out. But look underneath and it becomes clear. F-Type R Coupé AWD gains Jaguar’s Intelligent Driveline Dynamics all-wheel drive comprising a new centre coupling and front differential along with revised Dynamic Stability Control and an electronic Power Assisted Steering.

Yes, all that does add 80kg, but with results like this, who gives a damn? IDD sends 100% of the supplied torque to the rear wheels when driving normally to maintain a rear-drive bias. But immediately the system determines a loss of traction at the rear axle (which is more often than not in F Type R) the electronic centre coupling transfers torque to the front axle to improve traction, balance the car and ensure it remains totally drivable, whoever you are.

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Think I’m smoking my socks? Believe it or not, this is now the fastest car we have ever tested to 60km/h – quicker even then the McLaren 650S and Audi’s mighty RS7. And six-tenths of a second quicker than the rear-driven R, which we always moaned was useless off the line.

From 60km/h there is no further advantage – this car is simply that same six-tenths quicker all the way to the end of the quarter-mile it burst out of at 200km/h. What that six tenths does not represent however, is how much better a car this is in every aspect of its driving – there’s no more sceptre hanging over the driver eager to put the power down for fear of the retaliation of uncontrollable wheelspin – or the car incessantly banging into that wholly overworked traction control system. Now just plant Jaguar’s F Type R AWD – whoever you are – and this brilliant AWD system will sort it out for you to deliver spellbinding pace – no fuss, no bother, no fear.

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So bravo Jaguar – you have now proven beyond reasonable doubt that AWD is absolutely essential in this neck of the woods – and it’s downright bloody awesome too. Paying attention yet, M, AMG and the rest of you still drunk on rear drive at this level? – Michele Lupini

*This review was first published in AutoWeek Paper. Follow the facebook page here

Base Price R1 744 790
Engine Capacity 4996 cm³
No. Of Cylinders 8-cylinders
Aspiration Turbo
Power 407kW at 6 500 r/min
Torque 680Nm at 3 500 r/min
Transmission 8-speed Auto
Drive type All wheel drive
Acceleration 0-100 km/h in 3.9 seconds (claimed)
Top Speed 302km/h
Fuel Consumption 10.7l/100km (claimed combined)
CO2 Emissions 269g/km


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