The second day of our summer comparison promises strong emotions. The iPhone alarm is pleasant just thinking that a Volkswagen Golf R, a Mercedes A45 AMG and a Jaguar F-Type R are parked on the hotel esplanade . [Did you read the first part of this report?]
It is a few minutes after 9 in the morning when someone starts the V8 engine of the Jaguar F-Type R, emitting such a clamorous sound that the hotel guests who still sleep will be cursing our mothers.
I leave the hotel at the wheel of the Jaguar F-Type, its exhausts cracking. It is one of our favorite sports cars of the moment. In fact, I think he has captivated a large part of the team. Proof of this is that my colleague David Clavero published a report a few months ago entitled “5 reasons why I will always choose a Jaguar F-Type and not a Porsche 911″, in which he summarized our feelings … except Mario, of course … that every night dreams of an Alfa 4C or one of those strange engines.
- Motor V8 5000 cm3
- Power 550 hp @ 6,500 rpm
- Maximum torque 680 Nm @ 3,500 rpm
- Curb weight 1,650 kilograms
- Price From € 122,470
- 0 to 100 km / h 4.2 seconds
Jaguar F-Type, the sports car that conquered us all
Apart from rare exceptions, the reasons the F-Type won us over when we first tested it were simple. They could be summarized in three: an exquisite and fresh design, a successful formula – two-seater, front V8 engine and rear wheel drive – and a sound more typical of a Ferrari, capable of making any trip, no matter how short, make you smile. .
While we go to the nearest gas station to give breakfast to our three creatures we comment that the F-Type R is a sports car with a sensational design. The elongated bonnet, the far back position of the passenger compartment, the slanted taillights, the retractable spoiler, the two large exhaust pipes on each side, the large front grille or the hidden door handles … All together make a very good cocktail. sensual. It’s hard not to like it.
In the company of the Volkswagen Golf R and the Mercedes A45 AMG it is impossible to go unnoticed at the gas station. With onlookers throwing furtive glances, others taking out their mobile phone to immortalize the moment and some who come to ask.
To be honest, the Jaguar F-Type is the first “real” sports car from the English firm in recent years, although it sounds cruel. Gone are those bourgeois and comfortable Jaguars that lacked true sportsmanship on the asphalt. Finally, an exciting project culminates with its production model. Above it hides a duality between Gran Turismo and a very well achieved sports car.
Back on the A395 , the cabin of the F-Type is elegant and enveloping. You are sitting low, close to the ground, like in a racing car. It has retractable air conditioning vents, which only emerge when the driver activates the air conditioning. A series of semi-bacquet seats that take your breath away just by opening the door. A moderately thick rim steering wheel with gold colored paddles behind it. As if that were not enough, the belts, in red to match the bodywork, give it a spicy touch.
The tunnels that give way to the Sierra Nevada highway are approaching. The Jaguar shows adorable behavior in comfort, but when you press the Sport button, things change. It’s time to open the windows. You reduce two or three gears with the paddles and, once inside, you press the accelerator fully. A theatrical sound deafens left and right. Then it continues with immense backfire. “Bruuuuuuu”, “pa pa pa pa pa”, “Bruuuuuu”, “pa pa pa pa”. Brutal! Victor and I say to each other as we look at each other laughing. The melody of their exhausts is fierce … but the best thing is when you cup the accelerator and then there are endless explosions and backfire.
It sounds like a Ferrari and, on paper, the coupe has improved on the cabrio in all its facets. Now it accelerates a tenth faster, brakes earlier, the stiffness increases and the general balance also, although, in reality, it is difficult to perceive it, so to speak … Come on, we have not found any difference. The benefits improve -in theory-, but the sensations decrease in practice.
Blame it on being a coupe. The Jaguar F-Type V8 S Cabriolet we tested was more spectacular . The impression of speed in the open air, with the sound of the V8 and the roaring exhausts, increased the perceptions behind the wheel. The five-liter V8 is still fabulous. It has supercharging, has 550 hp and 680 Nm of torque. Yes, a supercharged vee eight cylinder means you don’t have to wait for the needle to hit the red line. At 3,500 you have all the available pair under the shoe.
I don’t want to run away from my companions, but I can’t resist the temptation to stomp on the gas to check the kitten’s onslaught and the sound of its escapes. The F-Type is the perfect companion to enjoy. It perfectly fulfills that maxim that said that a good sports car must also transmit sensations at low speeds. English conquers you without having to move fast, when you only dedicate yourself to walking.
The Sierra Nevada highway has no loss. Once in it you just have to go straight. So it is time to squeeze the Jaguar like a lemon. When I decide to ride at a good pace, even with the controls disabled, I feel confident in fast corners. The F-Type is very stable and won’t get out of hand if you do your homework right. In the worst case, you will find yourself with a very light crusade that is easy to solve and quite rewarding.
The road is constantly uphill, with two very wide lanes and very good visibility. The sun and heat are still not pressing, but the dry asphalt builds confidence to enroll more vehemently in the turns and not be afraid to open the gas promptly.
In the F-Type you have the feeling of going much faster than, for example, in the Golf R. It is a car that requires “driving” to get all its essence. It makes my hands a little sweaty as I grip the steering wheel hard. That’s a good sign: it means the Jaguar engages in driving and increases my heart rate. After a while, I come to the conclusion that it is impossible to leave the Golf and the Mercedes behind. They come out of tight turns faster, are somewhat more agile and pull very well. But it has been very entertaining. The Jaguar won’t be faster on a curvy road like this, but I’ve had a lot more fun than them.
The F-Type feels comfortable in any section: slow or fast, which is a very good sign of agility and stability. However, the Jaguar is not perfect because the dynamics can be improved. It could be faster and more effective. But the fun is total, the excitement is superlative and it has everything you want in a good sports car.
Two compact-sports ready to stand up
Clavero arrives aboard the A45 AMG at the Hoya de la Mora. “Mechanically it is far superior to anything in the segment. A propellant that pushes without faltering and an all-wheel drive that corrects only when it is really necessary. The train distribution always seemed perfect to me, ”he explains while stroking the bonnet of Affalterbach.
While my colleagues have a juice, I try to get away for a bit and try the A45 AMG again . Clavero takes the keys to the F-Type for the umpteenth time and decides to accompany me. We go down to the old road, which has a few more difficult turns. The Mercedes allows you to speed up the braking a few more meters, because the brakes bite well and the set is 100 kilos lighter. However, the tightest turns do choke a bit. The Mercedes has a shy understeer in them, something that was not the case in the Golf R. It is not a worrying thing, but it praises once again the excellent tuning of the Volkswagen.
In the meantime, I watch the Jaguar F-Type lurch out of every corner. It seems my partner David is having a great time. The A45 AMG , with a price of 55,750 euros, may seem excessively expensive but, on the road, it is able to keep up with an entire Jaguar F-Type R Coupé with 200 more hp and a price of 122,000 euros. Think about it carefully: you have identical features to a great sports car but for half the price, with four seats and a boot. Seen like this, anyone looking for good value for money is not wrong with an A45 AMG .
Back at our meeting point, Óscar points out that “the brakes of the F-Type are quite delicate and scarce for a car that asks for much more”. With the keys to the Volkswagen Golf R in hand, I decide to take one last ride. Five kilometers is enough to remind me of excellence in the way of maintaining decorum and poise. Both compacts are all-wheel drive, but both feel like a front-wheel drive with plenty of grip. The Golf R is brutally effective, but it lacks feel compared to the AMG . Both are equally fast in real life, but Golf leaves you a little cold. It involves you less. You know little if just before you have driven the AMG .
Conclusions, a matter of fun
The difficult moment comes to choose a winner. We assume that they are all here for being great and fun vehicles. All three touch our little hearts. Otherwise, we would not have invited them to spend a vacation with us … but choosing one is an arduous task because, as we have said, it is not a typical comparison. This is a road test with three vehicles of different powers and approaches, which have in common involving the driver sensually and amusing him.
The Golf R is the third classified. The design of the seventh generation is discreet and the interior is bland. In favor we have to say that he is the fastest of the trio, the best set-up and the one with the best dynamics. You can see that Volkswagen has improved a lot over the previous generation. Now it is much more agile and lightweight. The problem is that it isolates you. You know you are the fastest, but you don’t feel it. And a good sports car should make you feel. The sensations are, after all, the most important thing … that is the problem with the Golf R. Volkswagen will be able to play its second card with the Golf R400 next year, but it will take a “sensation car” to overshadow the fun A45 AMG. To be honest, I would not spend my money on a Golf R. And, if I was infatuated, I would probably choose a Golf GTI Performance, with a not inconsiderable 230 hp. Not only would it save me 7,000 euros, but also all-wheel drive.
We have awarded the silver medal to… Jaguar F-Type R. Surprised? The F-Type R Coupé is an excellent vehicle. It has a superb design – with high power of representation – although to be the most radical version of the F-Type it lacks differentiation. Its engine is sensational and it sounds outrageous. The dynamics can be improved since, despite having 550 hp, it does not manage to transfer all of them to the asphalt, so it is not as fast as it should be. In any case, his entire technical approach is brilliant. It would certainly be one of the cars I would have in my garage. However, its convertible version is even better and doubles the sensations of those who drive it. For that reason it has remained in the second drawer.
The winner is the Mercedes A45 AMG ! It has been the great surprise and the reference of its rivals. Just by looking at it, you know that it is a special vehicle, that it has something… something difficult to explain. You just have to zoom in to notice that it transmits charm, magic … Then you open the door and notice the buffers, the air conditioning vents, the red seat belts, the gear lever knob with the AMG logo… It is worth that the exterior design is not for all tastes and that, like the appearance of Lewis Hamilton, many will call it a “caní”. But that the “canis” buy sports cars, does not mean that sports cars are for “canis””. It is true that it is not a car for all audiences but, when you drive it, it is great. There is little to criticize as long as we forget the price. 55,750 euros may seem like a lot … or a few, if we consider that it is half that of the F-Type. The A45 AMG is the convincing reason that proves that driving sensations are not only capable of being provided by expensive sports cars. That is why it is our winner.