It’s pretty rare you come face-to-face with a wild animal. So, when Jaguar dropped its face-lifted F-TYPE into the market, we knew we had to get a closer look at the all-new fearless cat. Spending the week with the supercharged, V6-powered R-Dynamic edition, we found out what it’s really like to live with.
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Let’s set the scene; it’s 6:30 am on Saturday morning. Those work deadlines are still ringing in your head, but begin to fade rapidly as you look towards the weekend ahead. You’ve got brunch with your partner down the coast at 11 am, a quick visit at your parents on the way back to the city, then dinner with friends at your favourite restaurant later that night. Sunday, is a clean slate, no plans, the weather forecast calls for warmth, it feels like the perfect day for a long drive.
You both grab your sunglasses and the keys to the Jag and head out to the garage.
Dynamic on the Road
Before we hit the road, let’s get under the hood the 2021 Jaguar F-TYPE R-Dynamic. Jaguar has long heralded their sports coupe, celebrating over 70 years of sports car heritage since the XK 120 was revealed in 1948, and the P380 edition is no different. Featuring a rear-wheel-drive layout with a supercharged V6 at the pointy end, the all-new Jaguar F-TYPE pumps out 280 kW and 460 Nm of torque, all delivered through an 8-speed automatic gearbox.
Coupled with the ability to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 275 km/h, it’s not hard to see why this latest release has Jaguar fans talking. From a dynamic road-performance perspective, it’s not just power that the F-TYPE boasts. You can bring it all to a stop using the large 380mm front and 325mm rear brakes.
Getting back to the weekend, you open the doors to the F-TYPE using the flush door handles and keyless entry and slide into the super-comfy Alcantara bucket seats. It’s strictly a plug-and-play situation at 8 am, so hit the start button and just drive. Dynamic mode is OFF and the gearbox is in normal mode as the coupé rumbles quietly down to the local coffee shop as to not disturb your neighbours (no one wants to be THAT person).
You’ve managed to score rockstar parking while you wait for your brew, then it’s back into the cockpit to set off down the coastal road.
Album choice for the early morning trip: José Gonzales – In Our Nature via Apple CarPlay
Down the Coastal Road
Our journey has officially begun, we’ve got an hour and a half to get 80 km down the coast, so let’s take the scenic route. This is where the F-TYPE really starts to shine and we can play around with the different drive modes. The trip brings a multitude of road surfaces to deal with and while it’s tempting to unleash the full power of the Jag, in the interest of comfort let’s opt to customise the drive mode to suit the conditions.
The F-TYPE R-Dynamic allows for full control over power delivery, exhaust sound and handling at the touch of a button. For this drive, we’ve decided to go custom, keeping the exhaust note at a respectable level, sharpening up the steering but leaving the suspension in a more comfortable mode to absorb some of the bumps on the road.
Although the car has been partially yet intentionally muzzled for this journey, the interior and overall quality of driving a modern Jaguar means that even when you encounter the inevitable traffic jam rolling through those quaint coastal towns, you’re still enjoying the experience.
Album choice for the mid-morning coastal drive: Tame Impala – The Slow Rush via Apple CarPlay
Life in the Fast Lane
Yes, it is the weekend, and you’re now full of buckwheat pancakes and onto your second latte, but as with most weekends, there’s still work to be done.
Your folks have asked that you stop by on the way home to pick up some of your old belongings that were uncovered during the latest spring clean, so it’s back into the F-TYPE. This time, however, we’ve dropped the scenic route, opting for something a little more exhilarating. Hit the freeway, stick it in Drive and we’re on our way. Better yet, leave dynamic mode OFF.
Pulling into the driveway of your parents’ house, you are greeted with yet another cup of coffee, but more significantly, a pile of outdated sweaters and some of your old CDs. After a solid 20 minutes of explaining to your father why they aren’t a thing any more, you decide to automatically pop the boot of the Jag using the remote to give them the hint that it’s time to go.
Surprisingly, everything fits, despite having to employ some of your ‘Tetris’ skills and you’re on your way home.
Album choice for the Saturday errands: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Up from Below via Apple CarPlay
A Night on the Town
One of the best things about a Jaguar is that it looks just as good parked up as when it’s carving up the roads or racetrack. The R-Dynamic is certainly no exclusion. When it’s time to hit the town for dinner, the F-TYPE jumps out again as the weapon of choice.
It’s no surprise that Jaguar put a lot of emphasis on styling and craftsmanship across the range, but this particular model is even more special. Harking back to the early days of the E-TYPE and other classic designs, the F-TYPE takes more than just a few design cues from the older generation.
The facelifted 2021 model certainly is a big change and represents a super fresh design language for the company, with its much sleeker and modern headlight and front-end design. The F-TYPE has already secured itself as a modern classic which still holds up beyond 2020.
Interior features include super comfy 12-way adjustable seats, a gorgeous leather wheel, dual-zone climate control and a super cool, automated vent cluster that raises up when the air-con is turned on. One surprising aspect of the F-TYPE is that it is quite nimble around town despite its outward appearance being on the larger side. A reverse camera combined with fairly decent visibility (for a 2-seater) make city driving quite manageable on a day-to-day basis.
Album choice for a night on the town: Jamiroquai – Travelling Without Moving via Apple CarPlay
Ok, let’s get serious. Enough errands, enough fancy dinners and enough time with the parents. Let’s open the taps all the way. It’s Sunday morning, the sun is JUST peaking over the horizon and you’ve got a date with a supercharged V6. Let’s talk about how the F-TYPE performs when you can really stretch its legs.
Jump into the driver’s seat, push the ‘start engine’ button and listen for that familiar growl. But before you set off to cars and coffee, slide the gearstick to the left for Sport shifting and pull down the “Dynamic button” in the centre console. Oh, and don’t forget to slide open the HUGE panoramic glass roof to let that morning sun fill the cabin.
In full dynamic mode and the 8-speed gearbox set to ‘sport’ the F-TYPE really comes alive. Once you hit the dynamic button, the exhaust note deepens, the suspension stiffens up, the throttle response sharpens and the steering becomes even more responsive. If you really want to get serious, or at least look like you are serious, you can even raise the rear spoiler by pushing the button in the centre console.
This is why the F-TYPE is a flagship model for Jaguar. Opening the throttle and pushing through the gears on a twisting mountain road, with the snap, crackle and pop of the exhaust behind you is about as close as you can get to automotive perfection.
The car feels wide (and it is) but somehow manages to feel nimble, with handling that encourages you to unleash your inner driving spirit with the occasional loose feeling in the rear-end (of the car, that is) but with the grip to back it up and keep you in line. The gearbox in ‘manual’ sport mode provides a super engaging driving experience with super-quick upshifts but, more importantly, for a lot of drivers, sharp and precise downshifts combined with more pops and crackles than a Kellogg’s factory.
Album choice for a Sunday spirited drive: The Chemical Brothers – Surrender via Apple CarPlay
Look, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Sunday afternoon or a busy weekday, the passion that drives performance is always a mainstay. For us, there will always be something special about a front-engined, 2-door coupé especially when it comes with that Jaguar pedigree that we’ve come to love. The Jaguar F-TYPE R-Dynamic P380 starts at AUD$173,100.