First drive: 2016 Jaguar F-Type AWD in New York USA

First drive: 2016 Jaguar F-Type AWD in New York USA

2016 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe

The Jaguar F-Type has become a sort of figurehead for the once-fading British luxury carmaker, leading the charge as the brand redefines itself as a more aggressively-sporty alternative to typical premium choices. The 2-door sports car debuted less than two years ago, but more variants have been added to the line-up this year, namely an all-wheel-drive option and a manual gearbox. We drove these new versions in the outskirts of New York this summer.

The compact F-Type isn’t exactly the most advanced sports car around, based on a chopped version of the decade-old XK coupe that preceded it. However, it’s still an immensely-capable sports car, more so than the XK with which we’re intimately familiar, even though it’s still almost as heavy as the larger XK.

2016 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe 3

Still offered with a choice of a 335 hp and a 375 hp supercharged 3.0-litre V6 as entry-level choices, the 550 hp supercharged 5.0-litre V8 is now the sole eight-cylinder option, and all models are now offered with optional all-wheel-drive in regions that prefer the extra traction in icy winter weather. And on a more positive note, the V6 models now have the choice of a 6-speed manual gearbox in addition to the usual 8-speed automatic.

We’ve already talked about the earlier rear-wheel-drive V6 and V8 models so we won’t get into too much detail here about the driving bit. But does the all-wheel-drive make a difference? Having driven the V8 version both on and off the track, it’s hard to feel any extra traction in most cases. The all-wheel-drive system runs a rear-biased profile most of the time, so the ability to send power to the front wheels does not come into play in dry-weather conditions. About the only think we can say for certain was that the all-wheel-drive one did not act as tail-happy as the rear-wheel-drive model we drove last year. The rear-driven R Coupe always felt like it had too much power without the chassis balance to handle it, so this new version keeps that in check better.

2016 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe 4

A major change for the 2016 model-year is a switch to electric power steering, and we have to say, it feels no worse than the previous hydraulic setup. Truth be told, the old setup wasn’t the epitome of feedback to begin with, so switching to electric made no real difference, aside from maybe having a bit more artificial feedback. The good thing is both the sharpness and accuracy of the steering remain unaffected.

And what about the new manual option? Mated to only the V6 engines, it’s very easy to drive, with a moderately-weighted clutch that has a large biting point, so it’s not overwhelming in stop-and-go traffic, and easy to shift gears while carving mountain roads in haste. The chunky shifter has a reasonably good action with very little notchiness.

2016 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe 8

With less than 400 horses, it makes for a great sports car that’s easy to drive fast. The V6 S is fast without being overpowering like the V8 R, just right for having some fun on public roads, accompanied with that throaty exhaust growl whose loudness can be turned on and off at the press of a button.

The ride is generally bearable if the roads are good and the adaptive suspension is set in “normal” mode, but gets noticeably choppy in “sport” mode. It’s moderately noisy inside the cabin when driven in cruising mode, and there isn’t a huge difference in noise levels between the cloth-top roadster and the liftback coupe.

2016 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe 5

The Jaguar F-Type may not be ground-breaking in terms of tech, but it is desirable nonetheless simply by getting the basics of a sports-car right. Clearly they’re listening to enthusiast customers with the new options, especially the manual gearbox. Very few cars in its class offer a driving experience this visceral.

For detailed prices and specs, visit the Jaguar buyer guide.

Photos by Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury and Jaguar.

What do you think?



  1. Probably hard to believe, but with my Accor coupé V6, I beat an F-Type S, leaving MoE, entering SZR in direction of AD.

    What I’ve been able to notice is that the engine seems not to rev very high an I was surprised to notice that the gears were passed very “early”, while mine were still having some more RPM to go.

    I was like “what?, is he passing the gear already?, what’s wrong?”; and then again for the next gear.

    Dunno if the engine isn’t raving high, or gearbox programmation, but the engine wasn’t screaming so high an loud (even with this noisy exhaust), and after having passed the gear, it was very quiet.
    Maybe some piece of engineering is missing an the pair engine/gear is not the best couple.
    But for sure, my J35Y1 Honda engine and my Honda gearbox an matching super great together. And the VTEC, even if only on intake only, make a difference; it’s because of this that I’ve been able to beat a Porsche Boxster S brand new 2015: when entering the VTEC zone, I little-by-little sad bye-bye to him. :))))

  2. So he was cruising and you were racing like a cat with its tail on fire!!!!

    Honda with no mods as well and finally the chicks would never step in your Honda vs the F type…

    The roar of that F type engine !!! Blows their tops off!!!!

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