There are huge changes in store for the Jaguar F-Type in 2016 that might change how you feel about the car.
Jaguar is giving the two-seat sports car a gaggle of enhancements to further improve it in all forms. Headlining the enhancements is the introduction of a manual transmission and all-wheel drive.
To get a better understanding of why Jaguar chose to change the 2016 F-Type, I sat down the chief program engineer Russ Varney to discuss all things F-Type.
Q:Why was the decision made to eliminate the rear-wheel drive versions of the V8 F-Type?
A: “It was really a market driven decision, especially in the US. It was the best proposition in the lineup as we still have a rear-wheel drive V6, now available with a manual, that we expect will take a large portion of the market. We want to make sure we get the cars customers want to them in the right time frame.”
Q: Why isn’t there a manual option for the V8 F-Type AWD?
A: In terms of all-wheel drive, that isn’t a factor as we did not include the manual. With the V8, it’s 550 HP which is ferociously quick and to really exploit the power, the manual transmission would struggle. There are some technical challenges with 502 lb-ft of torque, there’s not that many manual transmissions on the planet that handle that much torque. We think this is the right combination with a V6 manual rear-wheel drive model is the ultimate for enthusiast.
Q: Why choose ZF as the manual transmission supplier?
A: There are a couple of transmissions on the market we could’ve chosen, but we have an outstanding relationship with ZF and the transmission has some features we like about it like the lubrication system that saves a bit of weight. And there are some different ratios that we can tune best (for the car).
Q: Both V6 versions, the base and the S have the same gear ratios and transmission, correct?
A: Yes, they are the same as the torque curves are very similar. It works equally in the two engines.
Q: Is there launch control with the new V8 R Coupe AWD?
A: No, there isn’t. Launch is only going to be compromised by the amount of road surface friction; it’s not going to be limited by which tires have traction. The only benefit, probably, of launch control on that car would be to spin all four wheels, it wouldn’t necessarily improve performance.
Q: On launch, will the AWD system wait to detect rear wheel slip before the front wheels are engaged or will automatically send power to the front wheels on hard launches?
A: The system’s very clever, so it sort of watches the driver’s behavior and the road surface’s friction. It has in the system a friction estimator that based on many factors judges what the surface friction is and is already prepared. Then during the event, whatever the event is, it responds to maximize traction.
Q: This is the third straight year of major changes for the F-Type. Are more changes in store?
A: Well, in this segment this sort of what happens and it’s what we need to do. Adding [all-wheel drive] and a manual transmission opens [the car] to more customers. Now we’re coming to the point where original owners are coming up on the end of their lease and may want AWD or a manual [in the next F-Type].