Jaguar F-Type R AWD

PCOTY 4

P C O T Y 4

All-wheel drive only sharpens this kitty’s claws

IT’S NOT often talent and drop-dead gorgeous looks go together, so forgive us for keeping reserved about the Jaguar F-Type Coupe R prior to driving it. Something that looks that good surely must also be a bit wobbly at its limit, or so we worried.

But as a former prime minister once sagely said, nope, nope and nope. We were wrong.

Let’s start with the grunt. Sweet mother, the grunt. The F-Type Coupe R rear-wheel drive version feels like a top fuel dragster to the layman that’s never been in anything fast before, but the all-wheel drive version is even quicker altogether.

Earth to Jaguar, stop performance testing your cars into a headwind – we bettered Jag’s 4.1sec 0-100km/h claim for this car by nearly 0.4sec.

Our PCOTY as-tested 3.75sec 0-100km/h time for the all-claw Jag – without launch control, mind – put it second in the PCOTY drag stakes. Same, too, for its absolutely storming 11.8sec quarter at 193.35km/h. An eleven second car, folks.

And it beat its rear-drive sibling by about the right amount, we reckon. At PCOTY last year, where it finished a surprise third outright, the rear-driver clocked a 3.99 and 11.99 at 193.42km/h.

It’s on the open road you’re most aware of the extra pair of driveshafts, though. The rear-drive version invites care when picking up the throttle, but in the all-wheel drive version, not so much eggshell-treading is needed. Just boot it and go.

The traction is incredible; the all-wheel drive F-Type Coupe R converts its 404kW and 680Nm to forward momentum with a brutality and effectiveness the reardrive version can’t quite match. And the ability to pick up the throttle earlier and harder shows in the lap times, the all-wheel driver 1.7sec faster than the rear-driver’s PCOTY time from last year (1:35.8 versus 1:37.5).

Whether or not that’s worth an extra $16K is subjective.

But on a bendy road, having twice the traction is undeniably reassuring – and the punch off slow corners is truly something.

So, fourth place. This says more about how good the top three is than any particular shortcomings of the F-Type Coupe R AWD.

As a performance car, it’s truly mega. You’ll take forever to tire of the grunt, or the noise – it sounds proper. Dig deep in corners and you’ll find actual chassis talent and sophistication; on a twisty road it kept up with the semi-slick shod AMG GT S. To think that this is Jaguar’s first stab at such a car – and it’s only up from here – makes us feel all warm and fuzzy about the future of V8 performance cars.

PCOTY or otherwise, this big, feral kitty is truly one of MOTOR’s favourite cars right now. – DC

DYLAN CAMPBELL: 3RD

“Full throttle, you will wet your pants in terror and howl with laughter. Yet it’s got talent, too”

DAVID MORLEY: 6TH

“I’d prefer something a bit more tactile, but you can’t argue with the numbers”

SCOTT NEWMAN: 3RD

“Insanely fast, extremely enjoyable, all-wheel drive system just needs a little more rear-drive bias”

TIM ROBSON: 3RD

“It doesn’t necessarily invite you to push hard to find it, but underneath lies an extra layer of talent and skill”

WARREN LUFF: 4TH

“Many AWD cars understeer on the limit, but it maintains the character of the regular F-Type”