The Jaguar F-Type is back, with a fresh look and an assortment of new bells and whistles. They have, thankfully, resisted the urge to treat it to a new pair of beige slacks and a matching M&S cardigan, although that must have been tough. Alright, there’s a bit more to the update than the above would imply (a modest engine power hike, a new engine derivative, some new suspension componentry and some digital instruments) but perhaps not as much as you might imagine would be necessary to keep a current sports car up to date in what is now – wait for it – its eighth year in production.
Is it entirely fair, then, you may wonder, to pitch the ‘new’, range-topping R version of this car into a head-to-head contest with the only-a-year-old 992-generation Porsche 911? Knowing what we already do about the latter – it’s a group test winner already and was highly commended at Britain’s Best Driver’s Car shootout, don’t forget – is that a contest the plucky Brit can possibly win?
Well, it’s certainly a curious notional position for the fresh meat in one of these twin tests to occupy. Usually it’s the most recently launched car that comes in with all the advantages, yet the Jaguar holds nothing over the lighter, faster and fundamentally newer Porsche that might give it an on-paper head start here – save, perhaps, the peak outputs of its supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine.
But here is the truth you’ll discover having driven these cars extensively and one after another: there are some things the new Jaguar F-Type R P575 AWD does every bit as well as a Porsche 911 Carrera 4S; there are a handful of things it does even better, actually. I must add for the sake of balance that there are also plenty of ways in which the German is quite plainly the Brummie’s superior. And yet what you’re about to read is a contest, trust me, not a pushover. The Jaguar, for all of the long-toothedness that the new styling and interior smartening seek to disguise, has its shout, and for some – maybe even for you – it will be the better car.
Did someone say ‘shout’? My ears are still ringing, as it happens. The first thing I’m happy to confirm is that a range-topping Jaguar sports car with a Welsh-made supercharged V8 engine could out-shout just about any 911 road car it happened to be within a few hundred metres of.