The Jaguar F-Type Roadster has been the smash success that the British brand was hoping for. It caught out competitors such as the Porsche 911 and Mercedes Benz SL with a charismatic and highly desirable sports car that made the German offerings look rather dull.
Jaguar aren’t resting on their laurels though, with a major update revealed that will increase the F-Type range from 6 to 14 models.
Top of the range will be the new Jaguar F-Type R Convertible. It will replace the V8 S with a more powerful 550PS version of the same supercharged V8 engine. The result is a 0-60 mph time of only 3.9 seconds and a top speed limited to 186 mph – a match for the V8 R Coupe. This top end model edges closer to the benchmark Porsche 911 Turbo in performance for only two thirds of the price.
At the other end of the range a new ZF manual gearbox has been introduced. Intended for driving enthusiasts the 6 speed manual has a short throw of just 45mm, closely-spaced gear ratios and pedals designed to allow expert for heel-and-toe changes. Available on the V6 and V6 S models only it also reduces the price a little making the F-Type even more appealing.
All Wheel Drive versions of the V6 S and V8 R will also be available. This not only improves off-the-line traction and cornering speeds it also makes the sports car more friendly in poor weather conditions making it a more useable year-round car even in more varied climates. With a system developed from that of the AWD XF and XJ, the AWD F-Type has an Intelligent Driveline Dynamics (IDD) system that sends torque to the front wheels only when it is needed to preserve the responsive precision of rear wheel drive handling while providing maximum control.
The AWD versions gain a a deeper power bulge and vents to clearly identify it from the rear wheel drive versions. Some new diamond-turned wheels also come as standard in 19 inch diameter for the V6 S AWD and 20 inch for the V8 R AWD. All Wheel Drive will not be available in combination with the new manual gearbox.
Electronic power steering is to be introduced across the range. While early efforts to replace classic hydraulic steering with a drive-by-wire system were disappointing more recent attempts such as the BMW 4-Series have been so effective that it is hard for even expert drivers to notice a difference. Hopefully Jaguar’s system will follow this trend. The benefit is an improvement in efficiency and reduction of emissions.
New ‘InControl’ touch-screen infotainment systems will come on the new F-Type ranging from 180W power on the entry-level cars to a 770W Meridian surround sound system. All get an 8-inch LCD display with gesture controls and can communicate with Jaguar’s InControl Smartphone Apps.
The new additions mean that the Jaguar F-Type will appeal to more drivers in more countries around the world without watering down the excitement of the core product. The new options help the F-Type to cover more of the Porsche 911’s established customers.