As part of a fairly comprehensive midlife update, the 2021 Jaguar F-Type range was slimmed down slightly (though not too much) leaving just one V8 model to fly the high-performance flag.
The name F-Type R Coupe is unassuming, but the specs are not. A 5.0-litre supercharged V8 beats under the sensually long bonnet. The outputs are much less subtle, with 423kW and 700Nm at the coupe’s beck and call.
The outputs match those of the previous F-Type SVR, and as well as dropping the ‘SV’ reference, Jaguar has also trimmed the V8 range. There’s no longer an open-top roadster model, nor a ‘low output’ 405kW/680Nm state of tune, which the previous R used to claim.
Pricing strikes a reasonable balance, too. Now priced from $262,936 plus on-road costs, the updated R sits around $10K higher than the downdate R, but undercuts the old SVR by a substantial $34K.
Mechanical specifications are rounded out by an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive, making a claimed 3.7-second 0–100km/h sprint possible.
|2021 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe|
|Engine||5.0-litre supercharged petrol V8|
|Power and torque||423kW at 6500rpm, 700Nm at 3500–6000rpm|
|Drive type||All-wheel drive|
|Fuel claim, combined||11.3L/100km|
|Fuel use on test||13.2L/100km|
|Boot volume||509L (maximum, to roof)|
|ANCAP safety rating||Untested|
|Warranty||Three years/100,000km (standard), Five years/unlimited km (promotional)|
|Main competitors||Aston Martin Vantage, Mercedes-AMG GT, Lexus LC500|
|Price as tested (excl. on road costs)||$272,849|
Speed alone isn’t the F-Type's only goal, though. While the roadster that debuted in 2013 provided a fitting call back to Jag’s sports car past, the coupe that joined the range later also signalled the strength of Jaguar’s design ability.
Fast-forward to the latest version, and its sharper front design still stamps its authority and commands attention everywhere it goes.
While the silhouette is largely unchanged, the front end moves to a lower, wider-looking front face courtesy of horizontally orientated lamps taking the place of the vertical units from before. The bodywork from the leading edge of the front doors hasn’t changed, but bumpers and lights get massaged to suit.
Inside, the layout retains the classic cockpit styling that makes the interior feel intimate and ergonomically engaged. Features like the infotainment screen, climate controls, and gear selector are largely unchanged from the R’s immediate predecessor, with the exception of some colour and trim tweaks – most of which are further customisable via the options list.
Instead of the newest Pivi Pro system found in the very latest Jaguar Land Rover products, the F-Type sticks with Touch Pro. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it as a system either, but there are improvements to user-friendliness and functionality with the newer system.
Be that as it may, the current set-up provides 10.0 inches of display space, inbuilt navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (both wired), digital radio and Bluetooth. Alongside, there’s a 12.3-inch digital instrument display capable of displaying a few different layouts, or a version of the map screen, but it’s not quite as crisp or customisable as you might find in something like a contemporary Audi or Mercedes.
Given the F-Type’s tightly drawn exterior, interior space is impacted a little. Head room is passable, but taller drivers may not gel with the room within.
The driving position is low, and in true racing style the driver sits just above the floor, legs nearly horizontal. While I tend to set most cars as low as the seats can travel, the lowest point of the F-Type needed a centimetre or two of lift for me, so getting set the right way should be pretty easy for most drivers.
As a strict two-seater, the cabin feels a touch more airy than you might expect, with the cabin reaching back over the boot as a single volume space.
Most of the fit-out is plush and lovely, but one little mismatch between the two halves of the console leather wrap drove me absolutely nuts. Not something I could reconcile against the money I’d outlaid if I were the owner.
The tailgate hinges from the top (no side-hinged E-Type tribute, unfortunately). There’s a claimed maximum 509L of luggage space, depending on the spare wheel situation, and there's a space-saver spare fitted to the car tested, but a repair kit is available as a substitute.
The car seen here, with a spare wheel, somewhat comically isn’t the top pick for luggage space. Although height is slim, load width and length provide enough flexibility to pack for a week-long coastal escape, if that’s your thing.
Ultimately, being wrapped in the interior, like a form-fitted mech race suit, makes the wildest member of the F-Type family feel more like an extension of the driver.
From the moment you press the beating-heart starter button, the angry V8 snarls into life and settles into a grumbling idle that gives a none-too-subtle hint of what’s to come.
Press the accelerator, even lightly, and there’s instant access to the F-Type’s aggressive side. Because Jaguar favours supercharging over turbocharging, the 700Nm peak arrives at 3500rpm and hangs on until 5000rpm – not quite the just-off-idle grunt of a turbo.
There’s no wanting or waiting for the performance to kick in, though, just a linear surge from frenetic to outright urgent, all framed with a serious hard-rock soundtrack.
On-road behaviour tends to tread a fine line between the best of retro muscle and contemporary dynamic. You get a responsive and accurate front end, front wheel assist (more than all-paw traction), and a rear that will happily scramble and slide if you decide to get contemptuous with the long pedal.
It’s a hilarious mix. Despite looking light and lithe, the big Jag still feels like it has plenty of weight to throw around. It’s never slow, but not crisply swift. There’s not too much traction, and never not enough either – settled, but laughably easy to provoke.
Everything carries a respectful weight – the steering isn’t overly assisted and adds weight as you dial up to Dynamic mode. The front end, even with drive sent to the front axle, stays delightfully and refreshingly crisp.
The brakes ask for a steady push, but pull up right where you need them to over and over again.
As for the switchable exhaust, the two settings are surprisingly loud, or louder still. Both fit the nature of the F-Type R very well – especially if you can find the space to run the tacho north of 3000rpm, with the ability to add engine speed unhindered right up to the redline.
The transmission can feel a little choppy at around-town speeds, but let it shift at full throttle and the shifts deliver a repeatable thump in the back that is hilariously good fun.
Pluck a shift paddle and the auto will hold a manual point long enough to string together a series of bends, but shift at the wrong point and prepare to counteract the rush of torque unloaded on the rear wheels.
Positioning the F-Type gets tricky. Is it a sports car? Not sharp enough. A GT? Maybe a little too firm for effortless mile-eating. A muscle car? That seems to undersell it.
It is a little of the best of each, adaptable to all.
The list of standard equipment covers the basics you’d rightly expect to find, but doesn’t go above or beyond in any way. There’s keyless entry and push-button start, single-zone climate control, cruise control with speed limiter, 12-way powered seats trimmed in Windsor leather, pixel LED headlights (with active dimming), a powered tailgate, 20-inch wheels, and a pop-up active rear spoiler.
The car tested here included some features that perhaps ought to be a part of the standard package, given the post-quarter-mil’ price. Be that as it may, dual-zone climate control, blind-spot assist with rear cross-traffic alert, extended leather, a fixed glass roof, black exterior highlights and nubuck-trimmed floor mats all fall to the options list, pushing the as-tested price up to $272,849.
Also left wanting, as competitors extend their owner protection, is the standard three-year/100,000km warranty. Right now, though, a promotional offer sees the warranty pushed out to five years/unlimited kilometres, and includes five years of free scheduled servicing for an impressive value edge.
ANCAP hasn’t yet rated the F-Type range, and the safety systems roll call is a little on the short side. You do get six airbags, front and rear park sensors, a reverse camera, autonomous emergency braking (from 5–80km/h, or up to 60km/h for pedestrian detection), and lane-keep assist.
If you’re pent-up about watching the fuel consumption, a recorded 13.2 litres per 100km, with no shortage of demanding driving, actually stacks up well next to the 11.3L/100km claim.
Now that your choice of V8 F-Types is limited to just one, the freedom of choice may have been lost, but certainly none of the magic has been left behind. While it wears the R name, the SVR intent remains.