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Driven: Jaguar adds AWD to fearsome F-Type

Kitty has claws: The range-topping 404kW F-Type R coupe can leap from zero to 100km/h in just over four seconds.

New drivetrain and tech for Jaguar’s F-Type sportscar duo grows range to 12


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10 Jun 2015

JAGUAR Australia has rolled out its updated F-Type sportscar line-up, with all-wheel drive now available on 'S' and 'R' variants as well as a series of tweaks across the mode range.

The optional all-wheel-drive is available on both coupe and convertible versions of the S and R, while improvements to chassis electronics and the addition of electric steering have taken the place of external enhancements to the two-year old soft-top and six-month-old hardtop.

The F-Type range now comprises 12 variants, with seven coupes and five convertibles, two drivetrains, two engines and two transmissions.

Jaguar Land Rover Australia marketing director Kevin Nicholls said the British car-maker wants to offer buyers a wide range of options, adding that the all-wheel drive variants should boost the model's popularity.

“We believe sportscar buyers at this level want variety of choice and hence, the new AWD models and manual versions will drive incremental growth,” he said.

“The V6-engined models will obviously take the lion’s share of sales, but we are expecting the AWD to do well.” Mr Nicholls estimates that the all-wheel-drive models will account for 15 per cent of volume going forward, while manuals will account for five per cent of total F-Type sales.

“We're up around 18 per cent in sales with F-Type for the year to date, and we expect these new models to help maintain the momentum,” he said. Jaguar has sold 71 F-Types so far in 2015, compared with an annual tally of 168 for the whole of 2014.

Prices for the two-seaters start from below $120,000 before on-road costs, dropping Jaguar into a sportscar bracket that includes Porsche’s 3.4-litre Cayman and Boxster pairing as well as BMW’s range-topping Z4 3.0 sDrive35is.

The base F-Type coupe, from $119,470, plus on-road costs, and convertible from $138,170, use a 250kW/450Nm version of Jag’s supercharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine, and both can be optioned with either a ZF-developed six-speed manual, or an eight-speed automatic for a $5000 upcharge.

The F-Type S duo runs a hotter version of the blown V6 that is good for 280kW and 460Nm, while the $151,700 manual coupe can be ordered with the eight-speed auto for an additional $5000.

The S is also the entry point for the AWD drivetrain, which can be optioned for the $172,470 automatic coupe – a $16,000 uplift over the $156,770 auto rear-driver. The manual, meanwhile, cannot be paired with the AWD system.

The F-Type S convertible is only available as an AWD auto at $175,470.

The S line sits clear of Porsche’s Cayman/Boxster twins but is positioned well below the $208,600 asking price of a 911.

At the top of the F-Type tree is the formidable 404kW/680Nm supercharged 5.0-litre V8-powered R range. The four-variant line-up is only offered with an automatic gearbox, while AWD adds $15,700 to the ticket on both cars. The coupe is $226,970 in rear-drive and $242,670 in AWD, while the convertible rises to $245,670 and $261,370 respectively.

The R will face off against a range of 3.4-litre, six-cylinder 911s, including the Carrera S ($245,200), Carrera 4S ($260,900) and Carrera 2 GTS ($268,700) coupes and both the 3.4-litre ($229,990) and 3.8-litre ($267,200) entry level 911 Cabriolets. Mercedes-Benz’s $229,000 SL400 Roadster is also in the bracket.

Running changes to the F-Type are minimal on the outside, comprising a reprofiled bonnet and subtle rump badges for the AWD derivatives. Spec-wise, reversing cameras, front parking sensors and a switchable sports exhaust are now standard fare instead of optional extras.

Torque vectoring – previously only specified on the R – has also been made available across the range. There have been minor recalibrations to the F-Type’ s suspension tune to compensate for the fitment of the AWD system along with the addition of an inhouse-developed AWD torque control system, while electric power steering replaces the hydraulic set-up across the board.

2015 Jaguar F-Type pricing*
Coupe $119,470
Coupe (a) $124,470
Convertible $138,170
Convertible (a) $143,170
S Coupe $151,770
S Coupe (a) $156,770
S Coupe AWD (a) $172,470
S Convertible AWD (a) $175,470
R Coupe (a) $226,970
R Coupe AWD (a) $242,670
R Convertible (a) $245,670
R Convertible AWD (a) $261,370
*Excludes on-road costs.

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