Jaguar F-Type gets manual gearbox and four-wheel drive for 2015

Jaguar has updated the stunning F-Type coupe and convertible models for the 2015 model year.

The changes centre around two main points of interest: the introduction of a manual gearbox, and a new all-wheel-drive system.

Six-speed manual

Going against the current trend in the motor industry towards equipping every car with efficient automatic gearboxes, Jaguar has introduced a six-speed manual for the first time in the F-Type. The all new unit will be available exclusively in the rear-wheel-drive, V6-powered versions of the F-Type.

Developed purely for the benefit of driving enthusiasts who want “the satisfaction which comes from changing gear manually”, the new gearbox has a very short throw between shifts, and pedals which Jaguar claim are perfectly spaced for heel-and-toe changes (the tricky art of blipping the throttle while simultaneously braking and downshifting).

For a car with such an old-school “hot rod” quality to it, we reckon that the manual will suit the F-Type perfectly. For those who’d rather let the car do the shifting for them, every model is still available with the excellent eight-speed auto.

All-wheel-drive system

In normal driving conditions, the all-wheel-drive (AWD) F-Type sends 100 percent of the power to the rear wheels. When the the Intelligent Driveline Dynamics system (Jaguar’s name for a particular electronic control unit) detects a loss of grip at the back, power will be transferred to the fronts. This allows for four-wheel-drive traction when it is called for, but means that energy isn’t wasted sending power to the fronts when it isn’t needed.

In 5.0-litre V8 R form, AWD helps launch both Coupe and convertible models to 60mph in only 3.9 seconds. That figure is 0.2 seconds quicker than the already rapid rear wheel drive version. Top speed remains the same at 186mph.

The AWD variant features very subtle styling changes to set it apart from regular models. The main change is a new bonnet, with deeper bulges down the centre, flanked by slightly larger air vents – the new bonnet is needed because the engine is a tad higher than in the two-wheel-drive version. Each all-wheel-drive version comes with a unique alloy wheel design – 19 inches in diameter for the V6-powered S, and 20 inches on the R.

Anything else?

Electric power steering (EPAS) is now fitted as standard across the range. A common criticism of EPAS is that it lack feel compared to the more common hydraulic steering rack, but Jaguar engineers have spent five years developing the system to a point where it delivers “the benchmark response and feel expected”. As well as supposedly improving feel, fuel efficiency sees a minor improvement, saving 4g/km of CO2 emissions across the range.

The engines remain the same as before. That means the entry-level model features a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 producing 335hp, the more powerful V6 S offers 375hp, while the V8-powered R variant produces 542hp.

The interior has gained a very subtle refresh for the 2015 model year. There are new dials in the instrument cluster, and the sat-nav software has been improved. The manual version also features a subtly reshaped centre console, to allow a greater freedom of movement for the driver when shifting gear.

For the serious enthusiast (or for those with a few quid burning a hole in their pocket), an optional carbon fibre roof has been introduced. Weighing just 4.25kg, the new lightweight panel will lower the car’s centre of gravity slightly. Finished in a high-gloss lacquer to showing off the bare weave below, it’ll look distinctive too.

How much will it cost?

The manual V6 convertible F-type starts at £56,735, and the all-wheel drive options start at £66,900 in coupe S form. The refreshed models will be available from Spring 2015.

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