Cat Daddy: Fostering a 2016 Jaguar F-TYPE R AWD for a Week
Calico, longhair, tabby, Himalayan, Turkish Angora – those are just a few of the types of cats I’ve been around in my life. One Wednesday morning, I became the temporary foster parent of a 2016 Jaguar F-TYPE R AWD. Over the course of seven days with it in Austin, I learned about its personality and idiosyncrasies.
-It’s the World’s First Good-Looking Hairless Cat
One of the simple joys in life is running your hand over the soft, silky fur of a friendly feline. Sure, it gets everywhere and is a pain to clean off of your clothes and furniture, but what’s the alternative? A hairless cat? No thanks. I blame “Friends.”
On the other hand, the F-TYPE R makes bald look beautiful. Instead of your hands, you just want to caress it with your eyes. They glide over the new-for-2016 deeper power bulge on the clamshell hood, move to the heat extraction vents, flow along the beltline, then ascend the rise formed by the muscular rear haunches. Those blend into the back of the fast roofline and lead you to the slim, blade-like tail lights on the bobbed rear end. Your visual journey comes to a stop at the pronounced rear diffuser, which is flanked by two pairs of exhaust pipes.
Visually, the F-TYPE R is the most striking, attractive car I’ve driven all year. More significantly, now when I hear the name Jaguar and start thinking of a lithe, athletic, English sports car, I no longer end up picturing the E-Type. I envision its alphabetical successor.
-It Likes Having All of Your Attention
Have you ever been working on an important document on your laptop at home only to have your cat walk in front of you and sit down between your eyes and your screen? If you have, you’ve experienced one of the animal’s dichotomies: that between every cat’s aloofness and desire for attention. The F-TYPE R’s exterior gets the latter effortlessly; the blind spot created by the dramatically sloped roof line demands it. The roof line itself required a sharp tilting of my head to the left in order for me to enter the blacked-out (aka Jet) cabin.
Although the cockpit was largely monotone, its optional $1,000 Suedecloth Interior Pack complemented the smooth leather featured throughout by adding the soft, grippy material to the contoured seats’ facings, the door inserts, and headliner, among other areas. Contrast Cirrus stitching brightened up the interior, but only slightly. Despite the nearly overwhelming darkness, I was able to notice the presence of my review vehicle’s 770-watt Meridian sound system, heated seats and steering wheel, 14-way adjustable performance seats, and touchscreen navigation system. One unfortunate exclusion was a head-up display, a luxury I found convenient and helpful in the 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR.
-It Purrs AND Roars
In suburban traffic and in downtown Austin, the F-TYPE R’s 550-horsepower supercharged 5.0-liter V8 purred gently. I knew it was there, but I never grew tired of having that knowledge. It reminded me of how loudly my late, great fuzzy son Athens would breathe in his old age and how much I enjoyed hearing him and knowing he was nearby.
Pressing a button in front of the lever for the 8-speed QuickShift automatic directed the bypass valves in the Driver-selectable Active Exhaust to open. When they did and I put my right foot down, exhaust gases rushed through the rear pipes with even greater urgency, exiting in a raucous metallic roar and a testosterone-raising pop and burble.
-Playing with It Cheers You Up
The week I spent with the F-TYPE R AWD coincided with the days my girlfriend (now ex) was visiting me from California. Her last day in town was one filled with tension and arguments, both forces and her impending flight back to the West Coast contributing to my cancellation of a drive through the seemingly endless curves of Lime Creek Road in Leander, Texas.
Heading back toward South Austin on Loop 360, I noticed a rear-wheel-drive F-TYPE R coupe ahead of us. I forgot most of my anger as I pulled up alongside it and waved. Even more of it left me as I proceeded to play a game of lead and follow with my fellow Jaguar driver. The two of us took turns pursuing one another down the straightaways and through the sweeping curves of the Capital of Texas Highway. My tester’s dimensions and short overhangs were easy to keep track of and place. Those, along with the all-wheel drive system that diverts some of the engine’s 502 pound-feet of torque from the rear to the front Pirellis only when additional grip is needed, gave me the confidence to chase the tail in front of me with abandon.
-Sometimes It Plays a Little Too Rough, Though
The F-TYPE R AWD’s low-profile rubber and performance-focused Adaptive Dynamics Suspension combined to transform imperfections and joints in the pavement into rattlings of my spine. I wasn’t expecting the hardcore R to coddle my backbone like a luxury sedan. However, those lowered expectations did little to keep me from hating its harsh ride quality as much as I loved its gorgeous bodywork.
Like my time with my dearly departed Athens, my experience with the 2016 Jaguar F-TYPE R AWD ended too soon. In both cases, I enjoyed every second and considered myself lucky to have had as many of them as I did.
My Rhodium Silver 2016 Jaguar F-TYPE R AWD tester had an as-tested price of $131,895. That included a destination and delivery charge of $995 and $24,300 in options, such as a carbon fiber roof ($3,200), Black Pack 3 ($600), Vision Pack 3 (adaptive front lighting, front parking sensors, rear parking camera, and blind spot monitor; $2,100), and the Carbon Ceramic Matrix Braking System (20-inch forged alloy Storm wheels, carbon ceramic brake rotors, and yellow calipers; $12,000).
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