Jaguar F-type R 2020 review – supercharged V8 coupe takes the fight to Porsche’s 992

Entry-level P300 still has the sweetest F-type chassis, but the 567bhp R’s appeal is as enduring as ever

Evo rating
  • Worthwhile dynamic tweaks, great looks, improved cabin
  • Other F-types are better value, thumping gearshifts

Not many cars seem to attract the goodwill of a Jaguar F-type. Seven years after launch it’s still the kind of car that attracts admiring glances and positive comments from onlookers, and while there are better sports cars out there, fewer have the same sense of occasion as Jag’s flagship.

While the F-type has been refreshed in the past, with several engine variants coming and going, it’s taken until 2020 for Jaguar to make any real changes to the styling. The new nose will be an improvement for some and a step back for others, but it does serve to make the F-type look a little longer and, by extension, perhaps more elegant.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

This year also sees the old supercharged V6 exit the range and a supercharged V8 badged P450 enter it, while changes to the suspension and steering give each model, from the entry-level four-cylinder P300 to the R tested here, its own dynamic character.

Styling aside though, the F-type R has some tough competition these days, so a drive of the new model in an uncharacteristically damp Portugal has given us our first chance to see whether those changes have been worthwhile.

Engine, performance and 0-60 time

Jaguar’s 5-litre supercharged V8 makes its reappearance in the R, though this time around it’s finally the unit from the pre-facelift SVR, making 567bhp at 6500rpm and 516lb ft between 3500 and 5000rpm.

That, we’re sure you’ll agree, is plenty, and directed through an eight-speed ‘Quickshift’ automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive system (both standard) it’s good for a 0-60mph sprint of 3.5sec (3.7sec to 62mph) and a top whack of 186mph.

A thunderous exhaust note is once again one of the F-type R’s party tricks, though it’s no longer quite so thunderous when you start it up each morning, thanks to a default quiet start function. This can be overridden by pressing the exhaust button before you start, or setting the car in Dynamic mode – and Jaguar was keen to remind us it’s as rowdy as ever at full throttle.

Technical highlights

The R gets new springs and dampers, while both the R and its new P450 sibling get stiffer rear knuckles, tighter bushings and uprated wheel bearings. All new F-types have steering set-ups individually calibrated to their application, with different weighting and even steering ratios – the R’s set-up being mid-way between the relaxed P300 four-cylinder and the P450’s more aggressive set-up befitting Jag’s intention for it to be the purist’s choice.

Otherwise, it’s as per the previous F-type R, with double wishbones all round, electronically adjustable dampers, and a kerb weight that’s curiously heavy for something with so much aluminium in its construction, at a quoted 1743kg – around 100kg more than a 911 Carrera 4S with similar performance figures, and over 200kg more than the four-cylinder F-type P300.

What’s it like to drive?

Quite entertaining. Much of that comes from the delivery and sound of the supercharged V8, which is as boisterous, vocal and responsive as ever. Leaving the line in a hurry is very easy indeed, with huge straight-line traction and strong power delivery thanks to the lag-free nature of the supercharger. Shifts from the eight-speed are brisk, though Jag’s fiddling with the software has introduced a frustrating thump to the changes at high rpms in Dynamic mode. Jaguar deems it appropriate for a sports car, but ‘irritating’ is the first word that springs to mind when driving it.

That said, overall it feels just a little more relaxed than before, as if Jaguar has tuned out some of the overly jumpy nature that could catch out the previous R. It’s still hyper-responsive to throttle inputs in Dynamic particularly, but even on damp roads it doesn’t seem to overwhelm the rear tyres quite as easily as it used to.

Just as the power delivery seems a little less hyperactive, so too does the chassis seem more in tune with your inputs. The new steering ratio is slightly more relaxed than before, and easier on the self-centring than some other recent Jags, including the new P450. The benefits are numerous: better feedback, less muscle required on a twisty road, and less chance of unsettling the F-type’s bulk when you’re tipping it through a tricky turn.

Jaguar has been keen to give the car a rear-wheel-drive feel, and it’s worked – from the moment you turn in the car takes a poised stance, and from there you can get on the power and feel the car pushing you along rather than dragging from the front. There’s plenty of turn-in bite and good mid-corner grip, and while you can feel the weight moving around under braking or when you need to flick from one direction to another, the body is well controlled.

Throw in strong stoppers and a mature ride (not to mention a cabin that has enjoyed a few quality tweaks and improved infotainment, and revised styling that still turns heads) and the F-type continues to neatly bridge the gap between sports car and GT. And the fun factor, thanks to the balanced chassis and monstrous power output, is as present as ever.

Price and rivals

If there’s one real demerit to the revised F-type R, it’s that the price, at £97,280, still feels like a very large pill to swallow. The F-type has always felt like better value at the lower end of the range, where you benefit from the same attractive styling and sometimes an even better chassis, at the expense of some straight-line performance. With the four-cylinder F-type P300 starting at £54,060, that remains the case with the revised model.

That’s perhaps even more the case now that the P450 V8 exists, with its £69,990 sticker price. It loses relatively little to the R in driving dynamics, but will leave you in slightly better standing with your bank manager.

In terms of parity on both performance and price, one fairly direct rival to the F-type R is Porsche’s 992 Carrera 4S. Like the Jag it’s all-wheel driven, but while it makes less power than the Jaguar, lower weight helps it undercut the R by a tenth to 62mph, and best it by 4mph up top. The 911 also offers a pair of extra seats for luggage or small children, and at £98,418 is in the same pricing ballpark. Like the F-type, the latest 911 is a hybrid of a true sports car and a grand tourer, perhaps making them closer rivals than ever.


Jaguar F-Type

2020 Jaguar F-type revealed 

2 Dec 2019
Jaguar F-Type

1000bhp Jaguar Vision Gran Turismo Coupé unveiled

25 Oct 2019

Jaguar Classic begins E-Type 60th anniversary celebrations with tribute edition

12 Aug 2020

Jaguar XJR-9: the anatomy of a Group C racer

31 May 2020

More on F-Type

Jaguar F-Type coupe

Jaguar builds F-type rally car as part of 70 years of sports cars celebration

Thought the F-type Convertible would make a good rally car..? Nor us...
12 Nov 2018
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Jaguar F-Type ‘Chequered Flag’ special edition revealed

Celebrating 70 years of the Jaguar sports car, this special edition comes with styling and suspension tweaks
29 Oct 2018
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Lister Motor Company designates the Thunder as LFT-666 for production

Also announced is a new Lister Tuning Division for standard Jaguar F-types
1 Aug 2018
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Jaguar F-type receives minor updates for 2019

Jaguar’s F-type Coupe and Roadster gain new colour options and more standard equipment
4 Apr 2018
Jaguar F-Type coupe

New 208mph Lister Thunder sports car revealed with Jaguar F-Type origins

Lister Motor Company will build 99 Jaguar F-Type based Lister Thunder models, inspired by its historic motorsport success
31 Jan 2018
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Jaguar F-type review - Stunning looks and still able to thrill on the road

Fast and attractive with a real feel-good factor, the F-type is the perfect alternative to German rivals
3 Aug 2017
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Jaguar F-type four-cylinder review - Can the new 'four cut it?

The four-pot F-type drives better than you'd expect, but it's pricey for its performance
1 Aug 2017
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Jaguar F-type 400 Sport review - sharper V6 nibbles at F-type R's heels

It might lack the punch of the V8 versions, but the 400 Sport is one of the best drivers' F-types yet
12 Jul 2017
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Jaguar F-Type gains four-cylinder engine option

New 2.0-litre Ingenium engine is the most powerful 4cyl Jag has ever built; offers up 296bhp
12 Apr 2017
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Jaguar reveals new, updated F-type

Jag’s sports car gets new tech, a new look and two new models
9 Jan 2017
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Jaguar F-type British Design Edition - now with extra patriotism

Red, white and blue special editions give V6 S buyers extra kit
5 Jan 2016
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Watch - Jaguar Project 7 video and review

Limited edition F-Type showcases SVR's talents. Now updated with a video review.
9 Jul 2015
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Jaguar confirms new SVR model in pipeline: potential faster F-type?

JLR's performance department admits it's working on a new hot model
4 Mar 2015
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Jaguar F-Type AWD vs a jet - comms testing at 650mph for Bloodhound record attempt

Video shows what it takes to prep for a 1000mph world record
26 Jan 2015
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Talking point: Is the manual gearbox living on borrowed time?

Jaguar has given us hope with its manual F-type, but how much longer will the manual survive?
26 Nov 2014
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Jaguar F-type: LA auto show news and pictures

Jaguar's F-type will get all-wheel drive and a manual 'box in 2015. Full details and pictures here
19 Nov 2014
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Jaguar F-type R AWD joins Bloodhound SSC for record attempt

Jaguar announces its new all-wheel drive F-type R, and a partnership with the British Land Speed Record Team
6 Nov 2014
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Inside evo road testing in pictures

Road testing isn't all fun and games, but mostly it is... With Experience Jaguar you can sample the life of an evo journalist
3 Nov 2014
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Jaguar F Type V6 S v Triumph Street Triple R

Jethro Bovingdon is at Blyton Park to see whether the Jaguar F-type is quicker than a Triumph Street Triple R over a flying lap. Video here
19 Sep 2014
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Subaru WRX STI v Jaguar F-type V6 S: drag race

The four-wheel-drive Subaru WRX STI faces the more powerful Jaguar F-type V6 S in a straight line drag race
28 Aug 2014
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Jaguar F-type Project 7 details, specs and pictures

Jaguar has revealed pictures and details of the F-type Project 7, the first Special Operations vehicle
24 Jun 2014
Jaguar F-Type coupe

Jaguar F-type Coupe R review, video and UK prices

The Jaguar F-type gets a roof, and new 542bhp Coupe R model. Video review here.
23 Mar 2014