2015-10-26 11.17.09

REVIEW: Jaguar F-Type S AWD – A Fast, Sure-footed Cat With Soft Paws

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Jaguar demonstrates how to do a personality car the proper way with the Jaguar’s two-seat F-Type S AWD sports coupe.

First, Jaguar starts with a drop-dead gorgeous body.  So good, that pictures don’t do the car justice.  In person, people stop and walk toward it.  The long, low hood makes one immediately know this car means business.  The rear end is so beautifully designed it may be the car’s best side.  Dramatically low, flat and wide, the rear of this car is all muscle.  The center-mounted twice pipes look fantastic, but they sound even better.  All this sex appeal would make one think that the Jaguar F-Type S AWD was the bad boy in the family.  That is the coolest part.  It isn’t.  This is the conservative one, and it is all the better for it.

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The F-Type line starts as a rear-wheel drive, mid-front engine sports car.  Jaguar offers a V8 engine for this beast, and we have sampled it on the race track.  The V8 cars are straight up racers with masculine, heavy-handed, muscle car manners.  This Jaguar modifies that formula by adding all-wheel drive and using a supercharged six-cylinder (V6) engine instead of the eight.  Since the car is a hard-top and not a convertible, we assume Jaguar envisions this as an executive commuter car, weekend car, or date-night car.  If so, bravo Jaguar, this is the best one we’ve ever been in.

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Inside, the story just gets better.  Having sampled a couple of modern Jaguars this year it is clear that Jaguar is at the top of the hill in terms of interior design, fit and finish, and perceived quality.  The colors in our test car were also stunning.  Black surfaces are a mix of smooth and textured.  The grab handle on the passenger side is soft to the touch, and its color adds some liveliness to the interior.  The seats were a light color that brightened up the car inside nicely.  Everything you touch is splendid.  The steering wheel is chunky, and you love to hold it.  It is heated as well, a touch no premium car should ever ignore.  The dash, trim, and ceiling are all soft leather.

The infotainment system was also wonderfully easy to use.  Phone synching is a snap.  The touch screen is intuitive and reminded us of the good things in the Ford and Chrysler systems.  The gear shift is very much like a BMW.  Anything Jaguar stole was worth it.  Look closely and you will see that the starter and the paddles are done in copper finish.  That little touch works and the car’s uniqueness.  As you can see in the image (one the door panel), the seats are adjustable in an almost limitless number of ways.  They are comfortable and also supportive.  Not an easy thing to pull off.  The bolsters are adjustable so the seats can either hug you , or back off and let you be comfortable.  Above the skylight lets in natural light or closes manually.  So much better than another button to push.

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The drive is everything you hope for in a Jaguar sports car.  Most surprising is the ride quality.  This Jaguar does not crash and bang over bad roads.  It is firm, but not overly so.  This may be the best ride quality in any sports car we have felt since the Lexus RC coupe.  Handling is sharp and inspires confidence.  You just know you can toss this car around if you want to.  Brakes are unusually firm.  The pedal depresses about a half inch then stays there.  Your braking force is all in your leg rather than being felt in the foot as it travels lower.  Odd, but you learn to love it.

The eight-speed automatic in the F-Type S is an ideal match for the car.  In auto, it has no bad habits.  Shifts up and down are crisp and firm.  The paddle shifters are excellent.  Jaguar and ZF tuned this car right.  From this writer’s perspective, the automatic is the right choice for this car.  Yes, Jaguar now builds the F-Type S AWD with a manual transmissions for the small number of buyers that will choose it, but this is no Miata.

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There are three drive modes.  Normal is great for everyday driving, but Dynamic mode takes things up a notch.  During testing it rained and we immediately noticed that the car’s rear wheels spin when one starts off normally.  Very odd for an all-wheel drive car.  The AWD kicks in quickly, but that first slippage is very unlike an Audi S5.  The third mode is Rain and Snow.  Using it slows the acceleration of the car noticeably.  It feels very much like Toyota’s snow mode, which simply starts the car off in second gear.  If there was any hint of imperfection in the F-Type S, perhaps this is it.

On the highway, the F-Type S drives so comfortably you have little sense of speed.  80 MPH feels like 55.  To help you keep from getting tickets there is a speed limiter.   At present, Jaguar does not offer active cruise control with auto-brake.  Hopefully that will be corrected soon.

Our test car had adaptive headlights that we loved.  They were very active and swung from side to side quite a bit.  The rear wing that deploys at highway speeds is also neat.  The coolest toy is the dual exhaust note.  Raspy and mean-sounding in normal mode, hitting the loud button makes the car much louder and adds more back-burble when you lift off the gas pedal.  It is addictive.  One feature we turned off is the stop-start.  The thimble full of gasoline it saves is not worth the annoyance.  Plus, the first time the car fired back up after being off at a redlight it scared the bejeezus out of me.  The F-Type S does not just restart; it wakes with a roar.

The trunk space of the F-Type S coupe is huge for a car of this type.  If only Jaguar had found space for a temporary spare.  The can of goo and inflator is not going to help you in winter.



2015-10-26 11.18.03There is one more important part of this review, and you will be reading more about this in reviews at BestRide.  Ownership experience matters to buyers of cars like this Jaguar – a lot.  All the $95K cars in this segment are excellent.  Buyers demand more than just a great car, and Jaguar delivers.  Jaguar now boasts the single best warranty and included maintenance in the industry.  Furthermore, Jaguar has passed Lexus in dealer service satisfaction.  What this means is that the Jaguar F-Type S AWD has a personality you will love, but also an overall ownership experience you will be thrilled with.

2016 Jaguar F-Type S AWD

Base Price: $65,000 (F-Type Coupe, manual transmission, rear-wheel drive)

Price As Tested: $95,345 (Including destination charge)


  • Supercar Looks
  • Perfect Road Feel and Comfort
  • Interior Fit and Finish
  • Dealership Satisfaction and Warranty/Maintenance Plan


  • Goofy Moving Air Vent
  • No Workable Flat Tire Plan
John Goreham

John Goreham