The previous generation Jaguar F-Type proved that the world indeed needed a real competitor to the venerable Porsche 911 and this facelifted model is no different in how it goes about being an entertaining yet well-balanced sports car. The recipe is simple and remains relatively unchanged. The new F-Type R still has a large supercharged engine underneath an elongated bonnet with the driver seated low and near to the rear axel. The basic one plus one coupé layout is that of a classic sports car yet the multitude of tweaks on this updated version add up to make the F-Type feel more like an entirely new vehicle rather than a mere facelift.
It’s been cosmetically updated with new surfacing for the clamshell bonnet, has an updated grille with a hexagonal mesh pattern while slim LED headlights and signature J shaped LED daytime running lights complete the look at the front. At the rear the changes are less significant with the lights revised to resemble those on the all-electric Jaguar i-Pace. The 2021 Jaguar F-Type R is arguably the best looking sports coupé currently on sale with its smooth lines, dramatic proportions and typical Jaguar swagger. It sits at the top the British marques diverse model line-up and is as desirable as it is ferocious.
The interior is equally elegant and changes for the refreshed cabin include a new 12.3-inch HD TFT digital drivers instrument cluster that includes full-screen navigation while another 12.3-inch touchscreen serves as the infotainment centre. The system is not the slickest touch operated unit around but it’s reasonably easy to use once you’ve spent some time learning the functions of the various menus. Credit must go to Jaguars designers for keeping the large analogue rotary dials for the cabin temperature settings. The F-Type R’s interior is generally a great place to spend extended amounts of time as it looks expensive and feels special enough to justify the price and provided you’re not freakishly tall it’s surprisingly comfortable too. Swathers of soft leather line the doors and even the roof adding to the luxurious feel.
Once settled into the supportive leather bucket seat it’s time for a quick drive to see what the new F-Type R is all about. Apart from the elegantly purposeful looks and well-appointed cabin the dominating aspect that makes the F-Type R stand out is its supercharged V8. It’s an engine with character and power and has a soundtrack the dominates the experience. This new model has been mildly tamed in the noise department to not upset the neighbours on start up even with the sports exhaust button engaged. It offers a low burble at idle and at slow speeds and as the revs build towards 3 500 rpm and beyond the exhaust clears its throat and crescendos with the sonorous bark we’ve come to absolutely love from Jaguar. From the outside, the sound it makes really creates a spectacle as is crackles and snarls but on the inside the occupants are somewhat cocooned from the theatre.
With the boisterous V8 bark thundering in the distance the F-Type is not an unhinged driving experience once you find yourself on a winding open road. The driving experience is well balanced despite its weight and thanks to all-wheel drive and sticky Pirelli rubber it has high levels of traction. This means that with the right conditions you can actually use some of the 423 kW the 5.0-litre engine has to offer without fear of getting things hopelessly out of shape. Jaguar has done well to calibrate the suspension and steering too and depending on the drive mode they offer good control and comfort.
We know that a price of over R2.5 million before options is a load of money but considering the dramatic looks, high levels of luxury and the immense speed and composure on offer the F-Type R makes a strong case for its self when compared to significantly more expensive rivals in the form of the Porsche 911 Turbo and Aston Martin Vantage. Compared to the Jag the Aston costs R500k more and the Porsche comes in at R800k more. If you’re in the market for an exceptionally fast and luxurious sports coupé the F-Type R represents a unique proposition with its effortlessly effortless looks, potent engine and one of the best exhaust notes in the business. We’d have one in Sorrento Yellow thank you.
In a Nutshell
Jaguar F-Type R P575 AWD Coupé
Luxury, style and speed to rival the best in the business
The loud exhaust only works once the revs are around 4 000 rpm
5 000 cc, eight-cylinder, supercharged petrol
423 kW @ 6 500 rpm, 700 Nm @ 3 500-5 000 rpm
0-100 in 3.7 sec (claimed)
255/35/R20 front, 295/30/R20 rear Pirelli P Zero
11.3 L/100 km (claimed), 15.6 L/100 km (tested)
8-speed auto, all-wheel drive
From R2 543 612