On recent trip from New York to New Jersey, we had the chance to test drive another extension of the F-Type 2016 model from Jaguar, both manual transmission and all wheel drive versions. The F-type's harsh handling and gorgeous styling makes it an exceptionally anticipated coupe and convertible.
The enhancements broaden the F-TYPE range, increasing the number of models available in the region from the new 340hp coupe and convertible with the supercharged V6 driving the rear wheels through a manual gearbox, to the 550hp F-TYPE R coupe and convertible with the supercharged V8, AWD and eight speed Quickshift transmission. Transmitting the V8's 680Nm to the road though all four wheels helps the R models to accelerate from zero to 100kph in just 4.0 seconds on the way to a maximum speed of 300kph.
All wheel drive (AWD)
The aluminum clamshell bonnet gains a deeper central power bulge. On either side are distinctive new vents, positioned further apart and further forward than those of rear wheel drive F-TYPEs. From behind the wheel, drivers will quickly notice the extra dimension that AWD adds to performance, handling and road-holding in all conditions - and especially on slippery road surfaces.
The AWD system features Intelligent Driveline Dynamics (IDD), a control system designed and developed in-house to exploit the maximum benefits of AWD without any compromise to Jaguar dynamics DNA. IDD is networked to the powertrain, rear differential and center coupling and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system to provide optimum torque distribution.
Operating on the torque-on-demand principle, the AWD system sends 100 percent of the engine's torque to the rear wheels under normal driving conditions. This maintains the F-TYPE's rear wheel drive handling characteristics and also reduces parasitic losses in the drivetrain.
If the system determines that the rear wheels are approaching the limit of available grip, the electronically-controlled center coupling transfers torque to the front axle, improving traction.
Another benefit of AWD is the ability to vary the front: rear torque split to mitigate oversteer during fast cornering by providing yaw damping. Combined with even higher levels of feedback from the new EPAS system - a technology Jaguar's chassis engineers have spent more than five years perfecting - the F-TYPE's performance is now even more accessible and exploitable.
The F-TYPE becomes the first Jaguar sports car to use EPAS. Years of development ensure that the technology is now mature enough to deliver the benchmark response and feel expected. And because the system's electric motor provides power assistance only when needed, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are reduced - by up to 4g/km on the European combined cycle.
The Torque Vectoring by Braking (TVbB) function first developed for the F-TYPE R coupe is now available on all models. Integrated into the DSC system, selectively braking the inside wheels mitigates understeer, helping the driver to take the ideal line through the bend. TVbB also helps to stabilize the car and minimize steering input during maneuvers such as emergency lane changes.
Enhancements are not limited to the chassis and driveline technology. The instrument cluster features new dials and gauges. The infotainment system is upgraded too: navigation routing is much faster than before and SD card-based mapping is available for the first time.
The F-TYPE's six speed manual transmission has been designed to give enthusiasts the most rewarding driving experience possible. The combination of the free-revving supercharged V6, semi-dry sump gearbox and precise, perfectly-weighted shifts deliver enjoyment on a completely new level.
Jaguar's outstanding Quickshift transmission is still a benchmark for shift speed and refinement, but for a select group of enthusiasts around the world, the purest driving experience comes from executing perfectly timed shifts using a manual gearbox.
To meet this demand, Jaguar's engineers have integrated a highly efficient six speed transmission into the F-TYPE's lightweight aluminum body structure, matched exclusively to the rear wheel drive 340hp powertrains.
The manual transmission is paired exclusively with Jaguar's all aluminum 3.0 liter V6. This supercharged direct-injection unit, in 340hp ratings, is defined by its linear power delivery and willingness to rev and the new gearbox makes it even more enjoyable to exploit the engine's full performance potential. And because the manual demands - and rewards - greater driver involvement, the V6 gains a unique calibration to enhance the driving experience while maintaining the F-TYPE's duality of character.
Under hard acceleration, the engine has been tuned to respond even more directly to throttle pedal inputs. Coupled with the reduced rotational inertias, this enables the enthusiast driver to execute fast, precise heel-and-toe downshifting - without the aid of an auto throttle blip function.
The engine ECU provides a speed matching function on upshifts, making each gear change smoother. An anti-stall function makes the F-TYPE effortless to drive at low speed.
The new 2016 model year F-TYPE coupe range will consist of: F-TYPE coupe (340hp, RWD Quickshift/RWD manual), F-TYPE S coupe (380hp, Quickshift RWD), F-TYPE R coupe (550hp, Quickshift RWD or AWD).
The new 2016 model year F-TYPE convertible range will consist of: F-TYPE (340hp, RWD Quickshift), F-TYPE S (380hp, Quickshift RWD), F-TYPE R (550hp, Quickshift RWD or AWD).
So all in all, we laid our hands upon both the manual six speed transmission and the all wheel drive (AWD) models. Jaguar has faith in its four-driven wheels to control the anger of the 5.0 liter supercharged V8, and honestly speaking, they are not wrong. Although I felt that the AWD was for apprentice-type drivers, I still envied the RWD for maximum driving pleasure. RWD releases something appealing, with its tail-happy boldness and somewhat childish acts that take it sideways!
Rivals: Porsche 911 Carrera, Mercedes AMG GT, Audi R8
Pros: roaring engine, impeccable road handling, exterior design, more engaging ride due to the manual gearbox
Cons: expected some changes in the interior at least, not enough storage room especially with the convertible
One word: growth
F-TYPE Coupe (340hp, RWD 8 speed/RWD 6-speed)
F-TYPE R Coupe (550hp, 8 speed/RWD or AWD)
F-TYPE R (550hp, 8 speed/RWD or AWD)