IS it possible for a car to be elegant, stylish and beautiful on the outside, classy with a hint of raw on the inside, and an absolute ball-tearing angry beast on the road? Yes it is. And the 2019 Jaguar F-TYPE P380 R-Dynamic is proof.
But unlike many of its fierce rivals, the F-TYPE doesn’t live in werewolf mode, you have to take it there by choosing the sports transmission function and switching to R-Dynamic mode. Otherwise it’s just a cool, calm and collected sports car.
Maybe that means it is actually a werewolf, with R-Dynamic mode its full moon. One thing we do know for certain though, is that the driving experience is something special. It’s grin inducing to say the least.
Fire up the Jag from its push button start and it roars into life, idling noisily until it calms itself. You can leave it there, in ‘normal’ mode, if you see fit, or you can push the shifter to sports mode, and up the tempo a little.
In sports mode, it makes all the right noises and it’s quick on the road. The ride and handling is great in standard form, but it can be greater. And scarily so. Throw caution to the wind and flick the switch to R-Dynamic mode.
This does a number of things, including engage the full excellence of the roar that is the sports exhaust, combined with a supercharged V6 power plant. It’s a noise to behold for the uninitiated. This is the point where vehicle occupants get all smiley. Really smiley.
It’s here that the ride, the handling and the retractable rear wing work to deliver a glorious driving experience. You don’t care how much fuel your burning, or the lazy 4.9 seconds it takes to get to 100km/h.
It corners precisely, pushing its way out of tight turns just the way you expect it to. It’s a performance car, and at this point it wants you to know just how much fun you’re having driving it, and it will show you, with point and click precision.
But it’s also pretty amazing from the passenger seat. To give you some understanding of what that experience is like, we put the boss’s 80-year-old dad in the passenger seat. Don’t freak out though, the man has history.
He learned his driving skills behind the wheel of a Mark II Jaguar with a LeMans race motor under the bonnet. He also raced cars, speedway, back in the day. So he knows a thing or two about going fast.
We took him for a spin through a series of windy roads out the back of western Sydney, where the speed limits are high and there’s a couple of decent straight stretches of road to really make the modern day GT-styled sports car earn its stripes.
For the entire time he was a passenger in the Jag, he was grinning like a little boy on his first ride in a fast car. When we returned home, he uttered, through his smile, “that’s one of the coolest cars I’ve ever been in. Ever”.
That’s what it’s like to experience the 2019 Jaguar F-TYPE P380 R-Dynamic. But for those keen on the actual numbers, it’s fitted with a 280kW supercharged 3.0-litre V6 that delivers a claimed 8.6-litres/100km.
It probably does, if you behave yourself. Keep your boot in, and those numbers are up above 10.0. The genuine 2-seater has a top speed of 275km/h and its impressive power plant delivers 460Nm of torque via a smooth-as-silk 8-speed automatic transmission.
Boot space is pretty damn impressive for a sports car too, at 358-litres. It has a 70-litre fuel tank. There’s some very nice 20-inch alloy wheels, an active sports exhaust, and that retractable rear wing we spoke about already.
Oh, and it’s rear-wheel drive. Did we mention the limited slip diff with torque vectoring?
There’s paddle shifters too, and the grille surround and gloss black bonnet louvres are well, sexy. On the safety front, there’s emergency braking and brake assist, electronic brake-force distribution, driver condition monitoring and lane keep assist.
There’s also pedestrian contact sensing, rear parking sensors, a rear view camera and six airbags. The car has a hook for a child booster seat in the front passenger area, and you can turn off the airbag for child safety.
Inside, there’s two 6-way electric sports seats featuring leather and suede cloth coverings (or performance seats in our case), Jaguar’s Navigation Pro mapping, an easy to use 10.2-inch infotainment system, and a Meridian sound system.
From its electrically adjustable steering column to its chrome instrument cluster rings, the F-TYPE oozes class. There are also twin cup holders, an infrared reflective windscreen, and our test vehicle was fitted with the seat memory option pack.
Stuck in traffic it probably feels a little drone-like because you’re never going to sit in traffic in R-Dynamic or sports mode, rather it will be hiding in its ‘normal’ car form. At a gross vehicle weight of 2,050kg its also heavier than its rivals.
That list of rivals includes everything from the nimble Alpine A110 (with the ‘S’ high performance variant of that car announced today) and Porsche Cayman 718 GTS, to the Mercedes-AMG C63. You might even add the Lexus LC 500 to that.
One of the other things that makes the Jaguar a bit unique is the astounding array of choices available to make your F-TYPE truly yours. Everything from the size and colour of the brake calipers (with the option for ceramic brakes), to some five wheel choices.
There are also some 30 exterior colours. Yes, we really did say 30. These include solid colours like Fuji White and Caldera Red, metallics like Corris Grey, Loire Blue and British Racing Green, and premium metallic colours like Silicon Silver.
But there’s also an SVO Premium Palette offering some 18 colour choices in gloss or matte finish. These include Madagascar Orange, Spectral Racing Red, Velocity Blue, and three different shades of black.
What if we told you there were also 15 different interior choices for your seats (four for the sports seats and 11 for the performance seats), that include colours like Pimento red and Sienna tan, and black or white.
One of the downsides to the F-TYPE, like so many other Jaguars, is that all the add-on bits, like gloss black trims, carbon fibre inserts and a whole host of interior goodies, are optional extras, and you have to pay for them.
Without adding any of them, the base price for a 2019 Jaguar F-TYPE P380 R-Dynamic is a cool $199,000 drive away. Get carried away with the option packs, and you could blow $250K out of the water without really trying. It’s an expensive beast.
It does however comes with 3-year/100,000km warranty, and 12 months complimentary roadside and accident assistance. And despite the cost, despite any historic issues with reliability that Jaguar has had, despite its rivals, it’s one seriously cool car to drive.
Our test vehicle was provided by Jaguar Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Jaguar F-TYPE P380 R-Dynamic, contact your local Jaguar dealer. Pictures courtesy of Cameron Cooke Photography. As this vehicle is a two-seater, we have removed the Family Friendliness category from the ratings below.