The 2022 Jaguar F-Type R P575 is not a good sports car. A good sports car is all about the numbers: zero-to-100 km/h in three-point-whatever seconds, a triple-digit horsepower figure that at least starts with a four, lapping the Nurburgring in seven minutes and whatever seconds, tops. You know, spec-sheet fodder that wins arguments on the internet and at car meets.
But a great sports car? The numbers still matter, the performance still matters, but not more than how it makes you feel. A great sports car also has its own personality, flaws, and imperfections to go along with the performance. What good is unwavering acceleration and boatloads of cornering grip if it doesn’t push all the right buttons in your brain? That’s why the F-Type isn’t a good sports car. It’s one of the greats.
It’s hard to believe we’re eight years into the F-Type’s production run, but Jaguar has put in work to keep the car fresh. It heads into 2022 with last year’s rework fresh on our minds, which added a nip/tuck on the outside, a tech update inside, and a whole host of tweaks underneath. The new face is the biggest pill to swallow here; it took us a while to resist the urge to park nose-in, but the overall look and slinky proportions are identical to the original that took us no time at all to win us over back in the day. The F-Type seems impervious to aging; hard to believe that after almost a decade, it still looks this good. Now try saying that about the BMW M4 in a few years.
Backing up its beauty with stellar if not spec-sheet-dominating performance has always been one of the F-Type’s strengths. For this year, Jaguar has cut the base four- and six-cylinder engines from the lineup, leaving the F-Type only available with a supercharged 5.0-litre V8. Phooey. There are two distinct flavours: the base F-Type P450 puts out 444 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque, while the R we have here cranks out 575 hp and 516 lb.-ft. of torque.
Bad news? This flavour of the V8 used to be exclusive to the F-Type SVR, so if you have one of those, our condolences — your Jag just got a little less special. But the good news? No matter how you slice it, the F-Type is not slow by any means. All F-Types are hooked up to an eight-speed automatic, and the R takes it a step further with standard all-wheel-drive. It’s exactly as fast as you think it is — 100 km/h arrives from a standstill in 3.9 seconds. Top speed, if you dare, is 300 km/h. Tipping the scales at just over 4,000 pounds, the F-Type was never really about the numbers, and it still isn’t, but it puts up a good fight.
But a great sports car is more than the numbers. There are precise scalpels out there masquerading as faster and lighter sports cars, but the F-Type isn’t one of them. This is a special car with a special engine and a flare for the dramatic; each windows-down rip to the redline through an underpass or a tunnel will make your spine extra tingly and palms a little sweaty, because this is what a great sports car does. It makes you feel things. It plays with your emotions. It ingrains itself into your brain.
It values the experience as much as the numbers, and the F-Type’s experience is pure chaos and violence. It doesn’t mind a few twists and turns, but not too many: the AWD system and super sticky Pirelli summer rubber lend phenomenal grip, and last year’s laundry list of suspension and chassis tweaks — new springs and dampers, revised anti-roll bars, etc. — lend physics-defying reflexes to the F-Type, but you certainly feel the weight in tighter corners.
The F-Type can be demure enough for your daily commute, but that doesn’t make it happy. It rides firm, there’s a fair bit of road noise, the heavy doors are cumbersome in tight spaces, and the car assaults your ears with noise, even when you’d rather not listen to the intoxicating soundtrack. Still, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Flaws like these make the F-Type one of the few new cars out there with a personality.
You might be used to cushy seats and swathes of wood trim in a Jaguar, but the F-Type is a marked departure, swapping that “old money” feel for an environment that’s much more sporty overall. The stiffly bolstered sport seats are tight and supportive, the steering wheel and yoke-style shift lever fall easily to hand, and the high beltline really makes you feel like you’re being enveloped. Fit and finish is top notch, and physical buttons and toggle switches handle climate control duties. Infotainment is handled by a 10-inch touchscreen running Jaguar’s InControl system; it gets the job done, but wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity would be a helpful plus. Last year, the F-Type’s analogue gauges were swapped out for a highly configurable 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and this carries over into 2022.
Of course, it’s not a perfect environment. Visibility out the sides and rear isn’t great, but the cameras and parking sensors help. The seats are wonderfully tight and supportive, but the bolsters are stiff and high. The trunk is configured as a hatch, but with just under 400 litres of space available, it’s tight for anything beyond a weekend getaway. The F-Type doesn’t try to be an all-things-for-all-people type of sports car; if you want one, it’s up to you to make it work.
The base F-Type P450 starts at $87,200 for the coupe, but load up the options and things skyrocket pretty quickly — our particular F-Type R tester topped out at just over $130,000 as-tested. Go a little easier on the options — we’d forgo the $6,100 Jaguar asks for “Sorrento Yellow” and opt for a far more subtle hue — and it’s possible to keep the F-Type around $120K. Still, that’s not an insignificant chunk of change, considering you can snag a more capable sports car for less money.
Much has changed since the F-Type debuted in 2014. Back then, it was the peak of Jaguar’s post-Ford renaissance, celebrating the latest in a long lineage of truly beautiful coupes (and convertibles) with a lively and soulful engine up front. It was, and still is, a flawed beast that prioritizes pushing all the right buttons over class-leading performance.
But today, eight years into its production run, the 2022 Jaguar F-Type R P575 is shaping up to be the last of its kind. The last few years might’ve been a golden age of modern sports cars, and although it isn’t over just yet, the clock is ticking. If this is how it ends, so be it. The F-Type is here for a good time, not a long time.