Four-wheel-drive Jaguar F-Type scooped

15 Oct, 2014 11:25am Oliver Kew

Spy shots show finished F-Types sporting ‘AWD' badge, heralding a 4x4 sports car to fight the Porsche 991 Carrera 4

These sensational spy shots have confirmed what we all suspected – a four-wheel-drive version of the Jaguar F-Type will be on sale soon. They show production-ready F-Type Coupes and Roadsters with an ‘AWD’ badge on the rear, and will join the Jaguar range in 2015 aimed at rivalling the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and GTS, and the quattro Audi R8.

One of the spied cars is an all-new derivative: the F-Type R Convertible. A soft-top sporting an ‘R’ badge shows an even faster open-top F-Type is imminent, available with all-wheel drive and a supercharged V8 uprated from 485bhp to 542bhp.

These exclusive images reveal the finished version of mules spied testing over the past year, which showed F-Types with raised front ride heights and curious bonnet humps, denoting new front running gear thought to be derived from the XF and XJ’s all-wheel drive system.

It’s believed the Jaguar F-Type AWD will use an intelligent 4x4 system that biases drive towards the rear wheels, with a higher torque split being directed frontwards when the car is launching off the line from a standstill, or slip is detected under hard cornering.

Aside from cutting the F-Type range’s 0-62mph times, the AWD version is aimed at increasing sales in markets like the Northern US, Canada, Russia and central Europe, where snowy winters kill the appeal of traditional rear-drive sports cars.

At the 2014 Paris Motor Show, Jaguar Land Rover’s sales director Andy Goss suggested there was plenty still to come from the F-Type. He told Auto Express: “We’re just at the start of the story for this car. If you look at what our rivals offer [manual/automatic, rear-drive/all-wheel drive, coupe/convertible], we want to compete, but we will do what’s right for us, not just copy our competitors.”

The spy shots reveal that the AWD system will be available on the 542bhp F-Type R Coupe, and the 374bhp F-Type V6 S Coupe, plus the new F-Type R Convertible. The four-wheel-drive system paves the way for an even more powerful version of the F-Type, thought to be under development by Jaguar’s burgeoning Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division.