by Sebastian Cenizo
If you're the type of person who doesn't like following crowds but still likes to attract their attention with a loud exhaust, the Jaguar F-Type R may be the sports coupe for you. Despite its subtle and elegant looks, the British beast is something of a monster, packing 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque under the hood. This is thanks to a supercharged V8 with five liters of capacity. Fear not about how to get that power to the ground - this speedster features an all-wheel-drive system that allows you to scrabble from 0-60 mph in under four seconds. While competitors like the Porsche 911 may be more common, it's cars like the F-Type R that offer a unique way of getting from one point to another fast, and that's part of its charm.
For 2020, all Jaguar's new models come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. You also now get front parking sensors on the F-Type R, adding to those already existing on the back.
5.0-liter Supercharged V8 Gas
The classically styled F-Type R is curvy in all the right places, with a long sweeping hood featuring LED headlights at the end of it. Larger side grilles than those on lesser F-Type models feature, along with standard 20-inch wheels. At the short back end, LED taillights and a quad-exit exhaust finish off the look. That sweeping roofline can also be had with panoramic glass or even a full carbon fiber panel.
The F-Type R's dimensions measure 176.5 inches in length with a wheelbase of just 103.2 inches - par for the course if you want an agile sports car. Width measures 74.2 inches across, while height is 51.6 inches. Curb weight starts at 3,814 lbs. This makes it heavier than any lesser variant, as the 2.0-liter models weigh around 3,400 lbs while the V6 starts at around 3,500 lbs.
You're spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a paint finish for your F-Type R. Fuji White, Narvik Black, and Caldera Red are your solid paint choices, but if you want a bit more sparkle in your life, metallic options include the classic British Racing Green of course, along with Yulong White, Santorini Black, Indus Silver, Ultra Blue, Eiger Grey, and Portofino Blue. Premium Metallic paint costs extra, with Carpathian Grey and Silicon Silver setting you back $1,550 each. Then there's the SVO Premium Palette, a range of 15 different $4,900 finishes that includes, but is not limited to, Mescalito Black, Verbier Silver, and the incredibly striking (if a little OTT) Madagascar Orange. But wait, there's more! If you really want to splurge, you can spend $8,500 on one of three Special Effect finishes: Spectral Racing Red, Valloire White, or Meribel White and matte finishes are also available at an extra charge. You can also opt to have the standard red brake calipers painted black for $510.
The R is a standalone model, sitting above all non-V8 variants and just below the hardcore SVR. Its supercharged 5.0-liter V8 produces 550 horses and 502 lb-ft of torque, with an all-wheel-drive system maximizing grip and off-the-line traction. As a result, the F-Type R accelerates from 0-60 mph in just 3.9 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 186 mph, or 300 kph in the Queen's English. Coupled with an active exhaust system, the R sounds absolutely mental and blows away any preconceptions that the sumptuous body design may have given you. It may look pretty, but it sounds raucous and goes like absolute stink. Where turbocharged rivals are often muted and less responsive than their unassisted counterparts, the Jag gets up and goes, snarling all the way up and down the rev range. Your neighbors may resent your acquisition of one of these, but the smile it will put on your face will be good enough reason to justify living with their abuse.
Just one engine and transmission configuration is available for the R. Sadly, the manual gearbox is all but dead over at Jaguar, but the ZF eight-speed automatic that resides in its place is a tried and tested workhorse that changes gear effortlessly. In hard driving, the transmission changes up (or down) quicker than you can blink, with none of the delay associated with automatics of yore. When you're sitting back and relaxing, the shifts are equally delightful, with a smooth and delicate transition between ratios that will make you forget it's even happening. Naturally, you can take control yourself and shift via the steering-mounted paddles too, but the calibration of this setup is already near perfect in automatic mode. Porsche's PDK is even better, but at its lower price point, the Jag holds its own.
The engine is just as satisfying, with plenty of grunt and a willingness to rev that encourages spirited driving. The 5.0-liter V8 is supercharged to produce 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque, so although the R is heavier than its V6 siblings, acceleration in any gear is sharp and shocking. Thus, overtaking is just as effortless as changing gears, and the overall package is a good one.
Although not as crazy as the top SVR model, the "entry-level" V8 F-Type is still a pretty hardcore machine. Despite adaptive dampers, the R's focus is an emphasis on agility and handling prowess, with suspension that minimizes body roll at the expense of comfort. The large brakes are also highly capable, but a touch too grabby at lower speeds. If you really want to pull the make-up and lash extensions off your partner's face, carbon ceramics are available too. In terms of steering, you get that direct and sharp turn-in ability that you'd expect from a true sports car, but since its electrically-assisted and hasn't been perfected yet, the wheel lacks true feel. Essentially, the F-Type R coupe is a much more visceral and focused vehicle than you'd expect from something so pretty, but while this has its downsides from a daily-driving point of view, the result is an incredibly grippy sports car that clings to the tarmac with dogged determination, and only the most ridiculously ham-fisted driving or lack of interest in seeing the dawn of a new day will see an F-Type owner get the R to understeer. Thanks to a rear bias on the all-wheel-drive system, you can also feel strong propulsion out of corners and a level of agility that the car's weight belies. Daily-drivable? Probably not. Fun? Definitely.
The F-Type R's thirsty engine won't win the hearts of any environmentalists when you start it up and they hear all that so-called noise pollution. When they see the economy figures, they'll actively begin to hate it. It's not the worst in its class, but it's no eco-warrior either. Official EPA estimates are rated at 16/24/18 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. Thanks to an 18.5-gallon gas tank, its range is a respectable 333 miles with mixed driving.
The F-Type R gets a V8 but also special treatment in the cabin, with Windsor leather as standard. In addition, you get a large ten-inch touchscreen infotainment display that is now standard across the range, along with 12-way power-adjustable seats and even a solar attenuating windscreen to help keep the cabin cool on hot days. However, despite strong build quality and a good mix of premium materials, the R is not the greatest place to sit, particularly in standard form. Single-zone climate control is equipped, and you have to pay extra for features like dual-zone or heated and ventilated seats. On the plus side, the design is attractive and an excellent sound system is standard.
So, those seats. They're 12-way power-adjustable and swathed in rich leather. They're also supportive and relatively comfortable, but those over six-foot will find a shortage of headroom and legroom. You won't be hunched over the steering wheel, but you can't properly relax either. They're called R Performance seats, and as the name suggests, they're designed to keep your body firmly in place rather than in luxury. The view out the front is fairly good, but the back window is tiny and the optional blind-spot monitoring will be worth shelling out an extra $500 on. Overall, this is a confining cabin that you'll not want to spend a lot of time in unless you have masochistic tendencies or a resemblance in size to your average garden gnome. If your passenger has a contagious illness, a trip to your local hospital would be well-advised since the pair of you will have exchanged the contents of your lungs repeatedly. At least then you can get your back checked out too, since the suspension has probably thrown some shapes there.
As standard, the R coupe comes with Windsor leather upholstery, with a choice of either Ebony leather with Ebony stitching or Ebony leather with Ivory stitching. Ebony leather with either Siena Ran or Pimento red stitching is also available. Ivory leather with contrasting Ebony or Pimento leather with the same contrast can also be had at no extra cost, as can Siena Tan two-tone leather. Alternatively, you can fork out $1,020 for Ebony leather with suede inserts, or $2,550 for a choice between Pimento or Siena Tan leather with extended interior coverage. The headlining can also be played with and you can have suede there for $970 or Ebony leather for $2,245. Three different aluminum trim finishes for the center console can be had at no cost, while carbon fiber costs $765. Red seatbelts can also be specced for $360, while brushed aluminum accents feature throughout the cabin as standard.
The F-Type R coupe offers a 14.4 cubic-foot trunk but if you think that means plenty of space, you're unfortunately mistaken. The trunk is long but shallow and very narrow, which makes it near impossible to carry anything more than an overnight bag or two. Even a golf bag, something quintessential to the typical Jag-owner stereotype, won't fit.
In the cabin, you get narrow door cards and a tiny glovebox, along with a pair of shallow cupholders. Essentially, this car is all about its performance and offers little practical ability.
The F-Type R coupe features a number of the standard features you'd expect in a vehicle at this price point, including keyless entry, an active exhaust system, configurable ambient lighting, heated mirrors, and rain-sensing wipers. Its windscreen also features solar attenuating glass, which helps reduce heat from sunlight passing through. In addition, you get adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, adaptive dampers, a driver condition monitor, a rearview camera, and advanced safety features like lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition, and forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking. However, the air-conditioning is single-zone, requiring you to shell out extra for dual-zone. Other options include a panoramic glass roof, automatic high beams, heated or heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, a power tailgate, a heated windscreen, park assist, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
If you're hoping that the infotainment system makes living with the F-Type a little easier, you're about to be disappointed again. Yes, for 2020 Jaguar has gifted us with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, and you also get navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, HD Radio, Bluetooth, and a USB port. However, the system doesn't respond particularly quickly and is confusing to navigate. Fortunately, the ten-inch touchscreen InControl infotainment setup is at least hooked up to a powerful ten-speaker Meridian sound system, with a 12-speaker upgrade available.
Thus far, one recall has been issued for the 2020 model, with the announcement coming in late September of last year. The recall was for an incorrect tire placard label, and no other issues have since been unearthed.
Should anything go wrong, the F-Type R is covered by an excellent five-year/60,000-mile limited warranty, with roadside assistance and complimentary scheduled maintenance included for the same period too.
Neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA has crash-tested the F-Type, although that is not uncommon at this price level. With a number of standard and available safety features, we expect the coupe would perform well.
As standard, the F-Type R comes with lane-keep assist, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and adaptive cruise control with traffic sign recognition. You also get brake assist and a driver condition monitor as standard. Six airbags are standard too, with frontal, side-impact, and curtain airbags fitted. Forward-collision warning with autonomous emergency braking is also included, but a park assist system and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert will cost you a little extra.
The F-Type R is a monstrous, rabid machine of raw power, noise, and breathtaking acceleration. Its brakes are strong enough to stop world wars and its suspension is stiff enough to remind you of the days when you were young and virile. Unfortunately, if you can afford a car like this, chances are that you've been through enough in your lifetime - possibly a world war or scurvy. If that's the case, the last thing you want from your sports car is to contort your body into shapes that it was not created for, just to fit in it, and once seated you don't want to have to drive directly to your nearest chiropractor or be so close to your passenger that you can taste the flavor of their chewing gum. The R is a fine machine for the track-day enthusiast, but if you attempt to use it for anything else, it'll provide more irritation and unpleasant discomfort than any top speed claim is worth. Rather get a Porsche. You may struggle to stand out, but at least after driving one, you'll be able to stand in the first place.
Pricing for the 2020 Jaguar F-Type R coupe starts at the considerable sum of $101,800, before a delivery and destination charge of $1,025. Fully loaded with almost $39,000 worth of options, we specced an R in the online configurator to the final price of $141,669.
The F-Type R is a standalone V8 model, with a supercharged 5.0-liter engine producing 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque. No manual gearbox is available, with an eight-speed automatic as your only transmission option. As standard, you get 20-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, R Performance seats with 12-way power adjustments, and Windsor leather. You also get keyless entry with push-button start, configurable ambient lighting, and an active exhaust system. Adaptive dampers, adaptive cruise control with traffic sign recognition, parking sensors, lane keep assist, and single-zone climate control are also standard, along with a ten-inch touchscreen infotainment display with SiriusXM, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD Radio, and ten Meridian speakers. A Wi-Fi hotspot and navigation round out the basic standard equipment, but if you're willing to pay extra, this all-wheel-drive sports car can be fitted with additional amenities including dual-zone climate control, heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, and a power tailgate. Also available are features like carbon-ceramic brakes, a panoramic glass roof, park assist, and blind-spot monitoring. If you like carbon fiber, bits of it can be applied to the exterior vents and other accents, or you can even have the roof made from the composite.
The R Coupe can be extensively upgraded, and one addition we'd consider is called Climate Package 1. This costs $1,125 and adds a heated windshield, a heated steering wheel, and dual-zone climate control. Carbon-ceramic brakes are also available for the whopping fee of $12,240, but features like a power tailgate are more affordable, at $410. The upgraded 12-speaker Meridian sound system costs $870, while park assist and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert are standalone options at $510 and $500 respectively. Heated seats are also $500, while heated and ventilated chairs will set you back 800 bucks.
The Jag F-Type R comes in a single variant, so your choices will be limited to what options you choose to add. We would definitely recommend Climate Package 1 for its heated steering wheel and dual-zone climate control, and we'd also think that opting for heated and ventilated seats would be a smart choice. We would also highly recommend the affordable options of park assist and blind-spot monitoring, as rearward visibility in the F-Type coupe is rather poor.
The SVR is the R's hardcore sibling. As if it were possible to consider the R Coupe as soft, the SVR turns the discomfort and noise up even further. With 575 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, the SVR's upgraded engine allows it to take further advantage of that all-wheel-drive system, resulting in a sprint from 0-60 of just three and a half seconds. Top speed is improved too, with this model capable of 200 mph. In supercar territory, the SVR has an appropriate price that is over $123,000. For this extra cost, you get numerous carbon-fiber add-ons including a large rear wing, but you also get quilted leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel as standard and even better handling ability. If you really want to decimate lap times, the SVR is perfect, but if you intend to risk some daily driving discomfort, the regular R will be marginally easier to live with.
Thanks to its price and performance, one of the F-Type R's chief rivals is the Porsche 911 Carrera. Although Porsche is infamous for an extensive and expensive options list, it's worth noting that the base model starts at under $100,000. With a twin-turbo flat-six producing 379 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque, the 911 doesn't automatically outdo the Brit, but as any Porsche nut will tell you, the figures only tell half the story. The way this thing takes corners, and even more critically, the way it feels when doing so is what has made the German sports car an icon. Its interior is also far more modern and luxurious, thanks in part to a redesign for 2020 that has made every aspect of the 911 even better. The fact that you have four seats, usable trunk space, and a supple suspension setup further cements the 911's place above just about any other sports car. Sorry, Jaguar, but hopefully 2021's F-Type will be better.