Recently, I spoke about a certain car that was essentially all look and no substance. This particular car had the right exterior qualities to grab all the necessary attention, but sit behind the wheel and that excitement quickly deflates.
The 2016 Jaguar F-Type S AWD excels where the above vehicle fell completely flat: the exterior is but the sinfully delicious icing on the equally delectable cake beneath. Not only does this two-seater convertible look absolutely stunning, but it’s also an absolute blast to drive (and I’m not even talking about the R here). Sometimes you really can have it all, apparently.
I know I’m not alone when I admit to dirty, blush-inducing thoughts each time I gaze upon the Jaguar F-Type’s curvaceous outer shell. There’s something ridiculously sensual about the whole thing, and it makes you stop, take a deep breath and desperately want to touch it. Lightly brushing your fingertips from its seductively accentuated rear flanks to the sculpted hood brings to mind excerpts from erotica novels and the like …
Central-mounted exhaust pipes balance the F-Type’s rump beautifully, as do the sly, aggressive taillights. Up front, the feline-esque slopping headlights with LED daytime running lights are both intimidating and sexy.
The Jag F-Type might be the best looking car in the auto industry right now. Sexy, sophisticated and sensual all at once, this kitty can make even the most hardened critic purr with delight as soon as they lay eyes on the gorgeous sheet metal.
Unlock the Jag, and the deployable hidden door handles pop out with a solid schlick. Curl your eager fingers around the angled handle with Jaguar written across the top, and open the door onto an interior that’s as inviting and sensuous as the exterior. Slip into the bright red leather sports seats (in my particular tester, there are a number of colour combinations at your disposal when the time comes to purchase, and you will purchase) that hug and hold in all the right ways, and the love affair continues.
Everything in the F-Type cabin is at-hand, easily accessible and oh-so snug. The thick and chunky, flat-bottom steering wheel is perfectly sized, and it’s all driver orientated. Even the passenger handle seems to create a barrier between the driver and the rest of the cabin. This is all meant for the driver. So, let us drive.
Press your finger against the gently pulsating start/stop button and the 2016 Jaguar F-Type S AWD barks to life. The potent 3.0L V6 supercharged mill is more than enough to get your heart pounding and your pulse racing. Sure, there’s an R version with well over 500 ponies, but the 380 on offer here are every bit as thrilling.
The 8-speed QuickShift ZF automatic transmission is just that, quick, and fun to manipulate. The engine and tranny work together in harmony to keep this kitty balanced and poised to attack at any moment. Steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters ensure you’re always at the ready to select just the right gear. Slap it into Dynamic mode and the throttle response is more intense, gears are held longer (if you choose to let the car do the gearing for you) and everything is tightened up and made more virile.
Oh and that exhaust note button. I praise the Jag engineers who opted to add one of those glorious little buttons. Press it and revel in the glorious symphony of growls, snorts, barks, and the full-on knee-weakening cacophony of sound that erupts from the twin tailpipes when the throttle is prodded. It. Is. Amazing.
Driving the 2016 Jaguar F-Type S AWD Convertible is an experience in itself. After covering close to 2,000km on a road trip with a girlfriend in the feisty feline with no top, I came to realize something profound: Looks truly mean absolutely nothing unless there’s substance beneath the pretty surface.
I’ve had the extreme pleasure of experiencing the F-Type on a track as well as on the open road, and it is as at-home in both settings. Just as tight and taught on the track with its sport suspension and adaptive dynamics, and riding on 19” alloy wheels, the F-Type S is a pleasure to drive on the open road, as well. With nothing but gently rolling hills on smooth open highways, the Jag performed to perfection with nary a problem or hiccup. The added stability of the AWD came in handy during heavy rainfall. The Jag stayed steady and true to its course, even when pushed in the wet conditions, as its Instinctive AWD system registered the road’s surface and adapted accordingly.
Let’s take a moment and talk about AWD. One of the questions I was asked most while driving the F-Type AWD Convertible was: “Why? Why have an drop-top with AWD?” My response? Well, why the hell not? It offers more stability year-round (should you wish to drive your Jag in the snow), as well as more grip in general, so why complain about it? It doesn’t feel particularly heavy compared to the RWD version, nor does it hinder the interior space or design. Seems win-win to me.
Despite being a two-seater with limited trunk space, we were more than comfortable for our three days away (with a shopping trip thrown in for good measure). As long as your passenger doesn’t mind terribly holding things occasionally at their feet, the cabin is accommodating, and the little cubbyhole storage space between the two front seats is ideal for snacks/phones/water bottles/passports (when crossing the boarder, as we did).
Of note, the electronically controlled soft-top is efficient and quick to use. In just 12 seconds the top can be retracted or put up, and at speeds up to 50km/h. This proved immensely useful as we drove in and out of humid, hot and sunny weather mixed with thundershowers and sudden cloudbursts.
Dirty never seemed so proper
Of all the cars I’ve driven over the years, few have made me feel the way the Jaguar F-Type S AWD Convertible did. You really do feel a bit like royalty behind the wheel, and it gets a ridiculous amount of attention -- and with good reason. Look at it. And listen to it. The combination is downright orgasmic and you’ve got to be completely numb and devoid of any sort of emotions or feelings if you don’t think so.
When you realize that it’s also got the substance and guts beneath that pretty exterior to complete the package, the attraction only grows more. Of course, the F-Type R jacks everything up a few notches, but truthfully, the V6 is more than enough and can be yours for just under $100k (base). I’m not even going to talk about the competition because as soon as you share a moment with the Jag F-Type S AWD Convertible, you’ll forget anything else exists.