It seems like just yesterday that the arrival of the F-Type R out front of CRD brought literal tears to my eyes.
Even before seeing it, we heard it rumbling up the road and immediately got weak in the knees.
As the third review article of this stunning machine, we're going to switch up for format dramatically. Into a list -- as there are so many reasons to love the F-Type R AWD, we're struggling to even vocalize the feelings.
In short, this vehicle is not just a Car of the Year contender in 2016. That seems like too small an honor, actually.
We're 100-percent serious when saying that this is. The F-Type R AWD is...
Certainly the most fun, most beautiful and fastest four wheels we've ever had the privilege of driving. This roster includes the Porsches, GTRs and Astons we discuss below, plus snapped beside the F-Type over in this article.
2016 Jaguar F-Type is SUPERCAR of the YEAR
Five TEN huge reasons.
Speed has to be at the top of this list. At 3.5-seconds on the Vbox to 60-mph, the F-Type R AWD is almost a full second quicker than the F-Type R in rear-drive form. The rear-biased AWD system is so fast and pure in putting down the 550HP max output, it makes any driver into an all-time talent.
The 3.5-second sprint time is even a base performance, actually. This is the time the car delivered without a giant brake-torque or clutch-drop, and without a pro behind the wheel. Locked in right on a desolate state park road, the 3.5 second sprint time is delivered with an almost hypnotic ease. Like the GT-R from Nissan or a Porsche 911 Turbo, the car is so bursting with power that it cannot help be the fastest car off the line. Anywhere, any time.
The F-Type is beautiful in all its forms: Coupe or Cabrio, AWD or RWD, stick or automatic. There is simply no denying the sheer magnetism of the car's proportions, scale and detailing in the flesh.
Favorite elements of our Black Pack test car? The smoked headlamps and black inner optics to darken the mood -- even with the bright LED DRLs or bi-xenon, adaptive-cornering HIDs switched off.
The deep gloss-black of the entire grille is a perfect match for the dark stares from those eyes. An optional $4k carbon-fiber roof is intricate and exotic up close, with your fingers touching its exposed weave almost uncontrollably. A slick layer of laquer makes this carbon roof as smooth as the all-alumunim bodywork, yet far more exciting to the eye. From afar, however, this dark carbon roof just fades to black along with the privacy-tinted windshield, side and rear glass. White pillars form just a slim line of roof, with the dark and menacing roof the perfect match to the F-Type Coupe's glasshouse.
This carbon roof and black-detailed wheels are perfect visually, and more memorable than your first French kiss. There is no angle, no detail that is not dripping in design eroticism. More on this in the 'sensuality' section head below!
Other design elements that cannot go unmentioned, here, however? The F-Type R includes a gorgeous aerokit: razor-sharp white lower bumper splitters start in the front corners and extend through the sills. This lowers the car visually -- even lower than it already is in its hunkered-down, race-ready stance. Ready to pounce, with muscles taut and bulging from all sides.
Around the back, the F-Type Coupe might be the most beautiful piece of design on the roads. Its slim-line LEDs form a micro slice of red light across both corners of the machine. A body-color lower diffuser between the quad exhaust pipes is a nice farewell signature.
Almost as great as the flip of ducktail rear wing that comes up automatically at highway speeds, then motors down as you do too. Or the power-folding mirrors, also tucking themselves in at night automatically as the flush-mounted doorhandles hide themselves too.
This is a HUGE advantage of the F-Type over its arch-rivals from Aston and Porsche. No one can believe their luck when the F-Type is around. The machine proved this conclusively via daily chatups around Charleston, SC and at the local Cars & Coffee event.
Floored! People mobbed the car, snapping photos of it from all sides and craving more information. The questions: Engine? 550HP Supercharged 5.0L V8. Drivetrain? AWD with ZF paddle-shifted eight-speed automatic. Performance? 3.5-seconds to 60-mph and passing power to wipe a smile on even the most dour faces.
All these answers made them only crave the Jag more. Its final detail was slightly alarming, of course, and that is the test car's price of $121k. That is with numerous options, though, and well above the 104k R AWD Coupe base price-range. And double the entry price to make the F-Type your own: the car stickers from just $61k for 2016 with a standard 340HP supercharged V6 and six-speed manual transmission.
All that, and there is STILL nothing like it on the roads. No 991 2.0 confusion, no mistaking this for anything else. Exclusivity at its best? The Jaguar way: a sneak peak and then watching, longing, as it roars away into the sunset of the fast lane in front. Never leaving your dreams, though.
The sonic immersion factor is huge with exotic cars. Any Porsche 911 owner knows this well, and knows that the Sport Chrono pack is required to have active exhaust burble and boxer boom like the good old days.
With Lambo and Ferrari, the sound of the cars on full throttle are one of the highlights of ownership. If the looks or color do not cause a double-take, the shrief of their engines will wake the deaf -- even from five miles away.
The Jaguar F-Type R Coupe certainly delivers this same trouser tingle on throttle.
An active exhaust system is switchable on or off, and makes one of the mightiest bellows this side of a racetrack.
It is deep, evocative sound. A furious shout to the heavens at all times with the exhaust switched on, or a milder rumble with it off. But never letting you forget the exotic nature of the beast.
Easily one of the throatiest, yet most well-tuned, sounds from any exhaust system at any price. For the new generation of Jaguar superchargers, even the old belt whine is silenced. In its place, the lubricated mechanical whir of dual overhead cams and eight thumping pistons. It is at once smooth and mellofuous to the ear, yet also sagely violent and untamed. Befitting the brand and its leaping big cat, indeed.
The most amazing part of the F-Type's supercar handling and daily power-trip?
You really can drive the car comfortably, day in and day out. The drive position is instantly focused in these race buckets, yet they also offer superb power adjustments and all-day comfort. The cockpit wastes not an inch of space: the bulkhead behind you simply reinforces what a supercar this machine really is.
In its calmer drive modes, the F-Type sails down the road with uncanny smoothness. Perhaps it is the aluminum chassis and shell keeping things so light over bumps and ruts? It sails by without the typical boom/shudder of most vehicles of this caliber.
Or perhaps it is the 80 pounds or so saved by speccing the $10k Carbon Ceramic brakes? Dropping the unsprung mass of the giant rubber on all four paws makes the F-Type R Coupe ride like a dream. It is library-quiet inside (...when you can keep your foot out of the throttle!)
And with its driver-centric cabin layout, carbon-fiber and gloss-black detailing? Clearly a car that is so classy, it needs a boastier person to shout its praises. So glad Jaguar picked me! We were thrilled to find such a roomy truck, which even fits two full golf bags, once their drivers are taken out and added last.
You want to touch this car's cabin elements. You can't help it. From the jet-black softness of the Alcantara headliner all around. To the hidden upper vent that only motors up silently when those airvents are called upon.
This car is an EVENT inside, and one you do not want to miss.
For the F-Type to be so radically improved by adding AWD, there clearly is much, much inherent brilliance in the handling and performance layout. This is instantly clear when you pop up the front-hinged hood. The massive supercharged engine is nuzzled in there with near-zero extra space all around.
Fit for its purpose, then, with the ultra chopped overhangs on both ends. And the suggestively long hood, bulging with energy hrough its central raised detail and side strakes, too.
Visual balance and engineering balance... equals handling balance like none other.
Where the GT-R and 911 Turbo are so clearly defined in their handling by the location of their heavy engines -- in front and out back -- the Jag feels like you could spin it on your finger like a basketball.
This makes the car pure on the road. Pure like the driven snow.
Driven hard in the snow, too!
he default 90-percent rear, 10-percent front of the torque split makes the F-Type AWD unlike any plowing Subaru, though, and all that understeer like a Quattro or Continental GT when provoked.
The Jaguar F-Type R AWD Coupe is light, accurate and precise around corners in a way that defies words.
You feel this balance at all times. Along with the unshakeable grip discussed below, the F-Type majors on tactile feedback. The car is alive beneath you, as cliche as that sounds to type. Your sense of its ability is telescopic: there are no surprises around corners, or when the turbo's really hit on the GT-R or 911 Turbo.
Every element of the drive is informative. It is sensory heaven that lets you push harder, drive faster and lap quicker in this car. The AWD is so glorious because it does not dull the datastream from the nose. In fact, where the rear-drive F-Type can go a tiny bit light on full throttle... the AWD car stays in its hunkered-down, pounce-ready equlibrium from Monday to Sunday. There is just no other car that instills so, so much confidence in its driver.
It lets you feel the road, and feel its power, every second.
This, in turn, can cause strange "feelings" in even the most stern of exotic-car drivers. Where many Ferrari's and Lamborghini's (feel like they) may be actively trying to kill their pilots, the F-Type R AWD is just as fast. But a whole lot friendlier along the way.
Like a lover so good, you want to be best friends, too.
The AWD system delivers massive pace and keeps it under control, too. We pushed this car HARD to get a sense of how it behaves when really at the edge of its envelope. Luckily for all involved, we rarely found that limit. It is just unshakeably glued to the ground. As the system shuffles torque to the front axle, up to 50-percent, the sense of stickiness never leaves your frontal lobe.
Only around a full-throttle, 90-degree turn, from a stop, could we really get the car moving sideways. And even then, it is a smooth and rapid four-wheel drift of the highest order. The AWD power transitions seem less brutal than in the GT-R around a similar, full-throttle turn. But the GT-R going sideways is enough to make your neck sweat hundred-dollar-bills. It is terrifying, very alarming, and discourages that type of driving until you really know what you're doing. And how the car will respond. Which is, pushing the front wheels, then snapping power to the back, and eventually just clawing violently for grip down below.
Somehow, the Jaguar feels just as brutally fast. Yet is smooth and excellent even in a powerslide.
When really kicked around, this is an AWD car that will still drift its tail and dance with the best of McLarens -- hitting 50-degrees sideways and laughing the whole time. But for mere mortals, the Jaguar also does this brilliant two-step in a controlled and confident way. Sublime.
The tech suite of recent JLR products has come under some critique from auto writers, and Jaguar has listened. This F-Type for 2016 has a superb, feature-packed and ultra-fast touchscreen infotrainment unit. Along with its digital TFT/analog hybrid main gauges, the car's technology in 2016 is second to no one.
It even beats the latest Porsches in our book. The systems are intuitive and quick-thinking in the F-Type Coupe. We even managed a set/forget instant bluetooth connection for our iPhone 6 and the F-Type. Shock of shocks? There was no lag in the BT audio playback. This is the first car we've experienced that next level of tech nirvana. Absolutely world-class -- and much simpler than the Germans make it.
Looking at the parts content of the F-Type Coupe, you might think it is as unfeeling, sterile and ruthless as its German rivals. With whom it shares nearly half its main content, from the ZF automatic to the race-ready engine upgrades, CF elements and industry-best LEDs.
Jaguar sources the feeling, loving elements from its its 50-percent English nature. As the 911 keeps its emotions in check, the F-Type gushes praise, love, hugs and kisses. This is a car that loves you back.
It also helps you LOVE on others, though! Something astounding happened during the F-Type's stay with us: we became a much better partner in the sack! Perhaps it came from having all that power underfoot. Or perhaps from being able to deploy it so expertly.
Whatever the case, the F-Type became our instant cheerleader, rhythm-keeper and naughty-talking hero.
It is very rare for a car to have such a powerful effect -- even once parked and blocks away from its owner.
But the F-Type delivers. A heart-pounding rush that is gratifying, and deeply orgasmic, from start to finish.
Supercar of the Year? Oh yes.
Book a test drive for this week at your local Jaguar showroom via this link to their main website. Do it!
You may also feast yourself on these other links from the F-Type's too-brief time in our lives, including 300 other photos of the car and even more juicy details on its brilliance.
2016 Jaguar F-Type Review - GALLERY