Colo. likes ’16 Jag F-Type R softtop’s AWD

White exterior, red interior highlight 2016 Jaguar F-Type R convertible. (Bud Wells photos)

White exterior, red interior highlight 2016 Jaguar F-Type R convertible. (Bud Wells photos)

“What a looker,” some might say of this new automobile.

While its 550 horses make it a superstar and six figures ($121,000) give it elite status, a mere three letters on its rear (AWD) lend it added appeal in the Mile High City and hills to the west.

It’s the 2016 Jaguar F-Type R convertible, which was recently voted the favorite on-road driver by automotive journalists at an event at Devil’s Thumb Ranch in the mountains near Tabernash. Forty new cars and trucks were included in the display and drive, sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Winner of favorite off-road driver was the ’15 Ram 1500 Rebel pickup.

I spent a week with the low-slung, two-seat Jaguar prior to the event at the Tabernash ranch. Finished in glacier white, it is of long, sloping hood and big nose out front. With the soft top retracted into the trunk, the red leather header and performance seats are inviting.

The Jaguar’s black softtop is in place beneath threatening clouds.

The Jaguar’s black softtop is in place beneath threatening clouds.

Packed tightly beneath the reverse-opening hood is the 550-horsepower, 5-liter V-8, supercharged and direct-injected for more efficient combustion. An awesome 502 lb.-ft. of torque will shoot the Jag to 60 miles per hour in about 4 seconds. Few competitors develop more horsepower than this one.

The Jag, in those 0 to 60 tests, screams its way down the track (well, actually, it roars and cackles). The driver not only controls the throttle, but also, with an “active exhaust system,” controls the level of decibel-blast out the quad pipes at the back.

The V-8 is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, with near-imperceptible shift points. The choice of gears can be quickened with paddle shifters in dynamic mode (also of choice is use of the other end of gearing performance for rain/ice/snow conditions.

In a plus for Colorado drivers, all-wheel drive has replaced rear-wheel drive in the F-Type R convertibles, pleasing those who venture out onto the roads all winter long. The Intelligence Driveline Dynamics system, which normally sends 100 percent of torque to the rear wheels, will, in an instant of treacherous conditions, redirect as much as 50 percent of torque to the front wheels. The stunning F-Type convertible, in its third year or production, was introduced in these parts at the

Denver Auto Show in 2013 by Jack TerHar, longtime Broomfield car dealer. “I learned of plan for the roadster back in 2004 in a British pub in England,” he said at the car show. “My tablemate, Ian Collum (Jaguar stylist), sketched it on a napkin while we drank beer.” Plans for its conceptual stage began to circulate the following year.

Built in Castle Bromwich, England, the ’16 F-Type R convertible carries a sticker price of $121,345, when equipped with the aforementioned features, along with Meridian sound system, climate pack with heated seats and steering wheel, touchscreen navigation, backup camera, blind-spot monitor, illuminated treadplates and 20-inch wheels with Pirelli 255/35/ZR20 tires.

Here are the specifications for the ’16 Jaguar F-Type R convertible:

  • Capacity 2-passenger convertible
  • Wheelbase 103.2 inches
  • Length 176 inches
  • Width 74.2 inches
  • Height 51.7 inches
  • Curb Weight 3,847 pounds
  • Track 62.9 inches front, 64.9 rear
  • Ground Clearance 3.9 inches
  • Turn Circle 37.8 feet
  • Drivetrain All-wheel-drive
  • Engine 5.0-liter supercharged V-8
  • Horsepower/Torque 550/502
  • Transmission 8-speed automatic
  • Steering electric power
  • Suspension sport, double wishbone
  • Fuel mileage estimate 15/23
  • Fuel mileage average 21.4
  • Fuel Tank 18.5 gallons, premium
  • Wheels 20-inch
  • Tires Pirelli 255/35/ZR20
  • Cargo Volume 7 cubic feet
  • Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles basic, 5/60,000 powertrain

Competitors Mercedes-Benz SL550, BMW M6, Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Assembly Plant Castle Bromwich, England

Parts Content U.S./Canadian 3%, Germany 51%, England 43%

Base Price of Lowest Model $106,450; Base Price of Review Model $109,450; Destination Charge $995; Sticker Price $121,345.