Jaguar F-Type Coupe AWD 16MYJaguar has swelled the F-Type model range from six cars to 14 for 2015 with the launch of all-wheel drive and manual gearbox options.

The new AWD system means Jaguar can now challenge Porsche’s success with all-weather 911s, and is expected to become a big draw for F-Type buyers.

Jaguar F-Type AWD review: 2015 first drive

Indeed, in the US, all V8 models are immediately now AWD-only.

Jaguar F-Type manual gearbox

The manual gearbox option is more of a surprise though – Jaguar admits it doesn’t know how the market will respond to it, but says it’s being rolled out after demand from both enthusiasts… and motoring journalists!

“You lot are part of the reason we’re doing it,” joked Jaguar Sports Cars chief programme engineer Russ Varney at a briefing on the eve of the 2014 LA Motor Show.

“It’s also important for the car’s credibility – you really do need a manual transmission in the sports car world.”

Jaguar F-Type 16MY manual gearbox

The new F-Type manual gearbox is a six-speed unit supplied by ZF, and is similar to the gearbox on the new Jaguar XE. Varney says it has been designed to give a direct, positive and precise shift feel (it has a short throw of just 45mm) and, in a nod to purity, “there are no electronic blips on downshifts”.

“It’s one for the driving purists,” added Jaguar vehicle line director Ian Hoban.

F-Type V6 and V6 S rear-wheel drive models will be offered with the manual gearbox option; they’re £1800 cheaper than the eight-speed ZF auto equivalent.

Jaguar F-Type AWD

The AWD option is something that the F-Type was engineered from the outset to offer, admitted Varney. It will “extend the car’s performance in all conditions,” he said, allowing the car’s performance to be used in all weathers.

The Jaguar-developed Intelligent Driveline Dynamics (IDD) system uses a switchable centre coupling and electronic limited-slip differential. This means the F-Type AWD usually runs in rear-wheel drive mode. Only when slip is detected – or predicted – is variable torque sent to the rear wheels.

With 10 per cent stiffer front springs and bushes, plus recalibrated dampers, Varney says the driving experience will be a little sportier and “on a track, I expect people to be faster in this car than the standard rear-wheel drive F-Type”.

Porsche’s 911 Carrera 4 models are immediately identifiable from their wide-arch rear bodywork, but Jaguar hasn’t chosen such an obvious identifier for the F-Type AWD range. There’s a small badge on the rear as a standout, plus a subtly reprofiled aluminium bonnet with deeper power bulge and bigger air intakes for extra cooling – otherwise both versions are identical.

In the UK, the F-Type AWD will carry a £4850 premium over RWD models.

Jaguar F-Type R Convertible

Jaguar F-Type R Convertible

Despite the range more than doubling for 2015, Jaguar has actually deleted an F-Type variant for 2015: the 495hp F-Type V8 S Convertible makes way for the 550hp F-Type V8 R Convertible.

Offered either in rear- or AWD guise, the new F-Type R Convertible matches the R Coupe with a 3.9-second 0-60mph time, and is electronically limited to 186mph. Again, as with the coupe, the AWD model is actually faster than the rear-drive car…

Jaguar F-Type 16MY updates

There are other sometimes exhaustive detail changes for the 16MY F-Type range that show Jaguar’s engineers have not let up on developing the sports car range. All models are now available with Torque Vectoring by Braking, which was first reserved for the F-Type R Coupe. This cuts understeer by braking an inside wheel in corners.

Jaguar has also switched all models to EPAS electronic power steering. This is a more controversial change, given the firm’s insistence on ultimate steering feel, but Varney is adamant the time is right. “Hydraulic steering has reached the peak of its development.

“In 2013, when we launched the F-Type, we said EPAS wasn’t ready. It now is; it’s more tunable, adaptive, capable and effective. It has more bandwidth for tuning and calibration, and will deliver a higher level of steering than hydraulic ever could.”

The new electronic power steering can even compensate for differences in ambient temperature, said Varney, and enthusiasts will particularly appreciate its on-centre feel and linearity of response. Given how the Jaguar XE will use a similar steering system, this is a key test for Jaguar’s chassis engineers.

Other changes for the 16MY Jaguar F-Type range include:

  • Torque vectoring by braking now available on all variants
  • Sport Design Packs with splitter, sills, venturi and, on coupes, a fixed rear spoiler
  • InControl Touch telematics
  • New instruments
  • Faster sat nav routing and SD mapping

Jaguar has also followed a trend set by BMW and launched a carbon fibre roof option for the F-Type Coupe. It weighs just 4.25kg so is lighter even than the standard aluminium panels (lowering the car’s centre of gravity accordingly), and has a gloss lacquer finish that leaves the carbon fibres exposed.

Jaguar F-Type Coupe 16MY carbon fibre roof

Jaguar F-Type 16MY prices

F-Type Coupe

3.0 V6 340 RWD manual: £51,250

3.0 V6 340 RWD auto: £53,050

3.0 V6 S 380 RWD manual: £60,250

3.0 V6 S 380 RWD auto: £62,050

3.0 V6 S 380 AWD auto: £66,900

5.0 V8 R 550 RWD auto: £86,800

5.0 V8 R 550 AWD auto: £91,650

F-Type Convertible

3.0 V6 340 RWD manual: £56,735

3.0 V6 340 RWD auto: £58,535

3.0 V6 S 380 RWD manual: £65,735

3.0 V6 S 380 RWD auto: £67,535

3.0 V6 S 380 AWD auto: £72,385

5.0 V8 R 550 RWD auto: £92,285

5.0 V8 R 550 AWD auto: £97,135