People often ask: Of all the cars you've driven, which one is the most fun? Jaguar's F-Type R would definitely be near the top of our list — both for its design and overall sensory excitement. We are especially enamored of the coupe, which we think is one of the most stylish cars on the road. Even better: For 2016, a manual transmission and all-wheel drive are now available on some models.
Appearance: The Jaguar F-Type channels the spirit of the iconic E-Type — long nose, short back — even if it doesn't have that car's classic silhouette. Still, this car is a beauty, especially the coupe, whose roof tapers gently and elegantly down to a bold rear end that has design nods to the E-Type such as liftback hatch and quad tailpipes. Overall, the F-Type, the coupe especially, mimics Jaguar's pouncing "Leaper" logo. We loved our convertible's Italian Racing Red — what better for a sports car?
Performance: We haven't had the opportunity (memo to Jaguar) to drive one of the two V-6 models but we've driven several versions of the big-cat F-Type R, which packs a 5.0-liter, 550-horsepower supercharged V-8 with possibly the most primal exhaust note — all thundering cracks and pops — that's not found on a race track. These cars are a true sensory experience, and their estimated 0-to-60 time of 4 seconds seems like just a bonus. In the F-Type R, the 8-speed automatic is a quick-shifting gearbox that won't leave you longing for a manual. (The new 6-speed ZF manual is available only on the V-6 base and S trims.) The F-Type R's adaptive dynamic suspension hugs curves, but can be stiff on bumpy roads. For 2016, the F-Type R now comes standard with Jaguar's Instinctive All Wheel Drive, which provides better grip than the rear-wheel drive, which gave us some lump-in-the-throat moments when we exceeded our driving abilities.
Interior: With a few exceptions, the cabin doesn't deliver the same wow factor as the rest of the car, but then you'll hardly notice as you listen to the V-8's snarling soundtrack. The two-seater delivers on the basics: well-bolstered sport seats to keep you in place and flat-bottomed steering wheel. Rear visibility isn't great in either model, but then in the convertible you can put down the top in 12 seconds at speeds of up to 30 mph.
The bottom line: If we become lottery winners, Peter would choose the coupe, which he thinks is a modern classic in terms of its sleek, muscular design. Lyra would opt for the convertible, especially when the weather cools off.