Jaguar F-Type P575 R: Beautiful Brute

In an age of scalable chassis efficiencies and legislation-led exterior styling, thank goodness there are still obvious occasions when car companies simply decide not to give a damn.

On the road, the car’s handling surprises. You might be expecting a distinctly, long-haul, grand tourer, but the F-Type P575 R is more agile than that.

On song, the Jaguar F-Type P575 R’s 4.0-litre supercharged V8 growls addictively; you could never tire of it. 

Beauty, they say, catches your eye, but it is character that catches your heart. In my experience, this is certainly true of cars and I’d even argue that in recent years character has become an increasingly rare commodity within the automotive landscape. 

In these modern times car design is dictated more by frontal and pedestrian impact legislation than an artist’s flourish. Therefore, it is harder and harder for vehicles to differentiate stylistically from one anothersome do it better than others.  

But it’s not just a vehicle’s exterior styling that is controlled by external factorsso too the drivetrain must bend to stringent modern emission regulations and an inherent need to decrease capacity and increase efficiency. You can insert any German sportscar brand here and see that, by and large, they typically achieve this via turbocharging. 

I’m going to make enemies in the office here, but the current offerings of ‘sporty’ turbocharged engines across all brands, be it a four-pot hot hatch or a V8 high performance SUV, are all starting  to feel and sound well, kind of the same. 

And then there is the Jaguar F-Type P575 R. Well now, this is pleasingly different.  

There’s the styling of course; at the front this updated 2020 model now benefits from more horizontally orientated facials, namely the aggressive LED headlights and more angular body lines. The roundel taillights of the previous model are gone, replaced with a sleeker, more contemporary option to better compliment the F-Type’s signature hips. The view from the inside-out is also impressive with the full-length panoramic glass roof above your head. 

But, for me the big story with the F-Type’s top spec model is always going to be the brand’s leveraging of supercharging, not turbocharging, to boost performance to an impressive 575PS (423kW) and 700Nm torque output.  

The method of torque delivery is quite different to anything from German equivalents. It’s more linear with a delightfully analogue feel to the throttle response. This is also amplified by what I consider one of the great exhaust notes of the modern automotive era.  

On song, the 4.0-litre supercharged V8 growls addictively; you could never tire of it in normal conditions, but it’s best enjoyed in a long tunnel, with ‘race’ mode selected, sports exhaust activated and locked in a low ratio of the 8-speed automatic transmission. Liberal stabs at the accelerator to initiate the raucous growl and crackles of the exhaust is – I’ll freely admit – absolutely childish. But it’s also wickedly satisfying in the most unsubtle way imaginable. This noise is heaven for any discerning petrolhead. 

Yes, the coupe might be a little less sophisticated than some of those techy powerhouses from the continent, but it’s less complicated and more enjoyable for it. A simple but stylish 10” Touch Pro infotainment screen allows you to monitor and adjust all of the vehicle’s essential functions without the need for a degree in computer science. There’s a suitably strong suite of safety features onboard too, with blind spot assist, front and rear parking aids, the obligatory rear view camera and a lane keep assist function to name a few highlights. 

On the road, the car’s handling surprises. I was expecting a distinctly, long-haul, grand tourer, but the F-Type P575 R is more agile than that.  

With that supercharged powerplant underpinned by all-wheel drive, straight line acceleration to 100km/h comes in just 3.7 seconds; it’s invigoratingly quick, and there’s a nimbleness that belies the Jag’s beefy exterior.  

The all-wheel drive doesn’t rob the driver of engagement. Again, it adds character where it matters, and the engineers have done a superb job of apportioning the lion’s share of torque to the rear wheels.  

The blend of all-paw traction offers confidence when you needed it, like high-speed sweepers optimising drive exiting an apex. But with more intentional throttle, you could prioritise torque to the rear wheels for those lower speed instances when you want to steer the car on the throttle.  

The Jaguar successfully channels an old-school British sportscar feel through and through. In a category that is shaped more and more by character-killing legislation, the F-Type P575 R still captures the heart. 

Words Steve Vermeulen  

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