When the Jaguar E-Type debuted at Geneva Salon in March 1961 it caused a sensation and with instantly classic lines a British icon was born. Will the Jaguar F-Type live up to the expectation?
The Jaguar F-Type has been a while arriving on the scene. In the 1980’s there was a secret attempt to design and produce an F-Type which then influenced some design features of the Aston Martin DB7(Ford owned both companies at the time). For this F-Type the task of bringing a next generation of iconic sports car to life was very real and put firmly in the hands of Jaguar Director of Design, Ian Callum.
As soon as you approach an F-Type it instantly looks familiar yet new. The body of the convertible smacks of a modern take on a sleek 50’s classic and the Coupe echoes parts of the original E-Type such as the long sloping rear boot. I thought whilst drinking in the lines of the F-Type that Ian Callum must have spent hours thinking about how to make this car become an instant classic and he has hit the proverbial nail on the head.
The F-Type comes in six various flavours, so to speak, there is the standard V6 Convertible and Coupe, then the V6 S Coupe and Convertible, the V8 S Convertible and finally the R Coupe (also boasting a V8 engine). I will use Jaguar’s words to explain the differences.
“F-Type (standard) is designed to deliver pure driving pleasure, it combines effortless, exhilarating performance, instant response and precise agile handling, with everyday refinement and usability. F-Type S adds greater power and an increased range of sophisticated driving technologies. F-Type V8 S offers exceptional performance and even greater levels of dynamic ability and control. F-Type R delivers supercar levels of performance combined with advanced dynamic technologies for the ultimate driver focused experience”
With such a range of models to choose from I selected to test the V6 S as it is seen by many as the sweet spot in the F-Type line up. I was glad I did as on the day Jaguar lent me the car rain was lashing down and a V8 cat may have been far too wild.
Getting into the F-Type it had a nice premium feel, very well put together, easy to find all you need via tactile switches and simple to discover a good driving position in the performance seat. However, the fun really began when I pressed the Gold Start button and the engine burst into life. I am a fan of the BMW M3 V6 models for that burst of energy when you start them up, but this had an aggressive sports car growl which screamed a beautifully tuned engine and a sports exhaust to delight.
Unlike the M cars the F-Type was drivable from the minute you started it up. There was no moody gearbox to warm up or grumpy engine tone. The Jaguar had woken up in the mood to go hunting for some open roads and hairpin bends.
The F-Type’s 8-speed Quickshift double-clutch automatic transmission was both lightning fast to use and refined. Its SportShift selector was also simple and intuitive to use. In normal automatic mode the car is happy to cruise along, but when you want to drive in a more spirited manner there is the Dynamic Mode. This allows you to sharpen the throttle response, increase the steering weighting, adjust the suspension and perform gear shifts more quickly and at higher engine speeds.
When I opened up the F-Type’s 375bhp V6 3.0 litre supercharged engine the sound was beyond stunning. In designing the F-Type acoustics was one of the key attributes Jaguar took into consideration. The Active Sports Exhaust system features active bypass valves which open during performance driving to allow exhaust gases to exit more directly for a deep, dramatic sound. On the upshift the exhaust popped and on the downshift it crackled with a sense of fun. There was also a whirr from the supercharger and lovely induction noise which added to the whole drama.
The Jaguar F-Type is mainly aluminium in construction with the exception of the bootlid, the chassis is very precise and there was no sign of understeer at all when cornering hard. The limited slip differential on the V6 S worked so well to manage the torque delivery and ensure the tyres didn’t spool up on the very wet road surface. The active rear spoiler also rises at higher speeds to reduce lift by up to 120kg and keep the rear planted.
The F-Type is a car to clear the sinuses with a 0-60mph time of 4.8 seconds for the V6 S and a maximum speed of 171 mph. Braking is reassuringly just as quick with one of the most precise systems I have felt under foot. Fuel wise a combined miles per gallon of 31.4 makes the F-Type V6 S not too thirsty to break the bank as an everyday driving car.
Price wise the V6 S is £67,520 on the road, standard F-Type is £58,500 OTR and V8S is £79,950 OTR. One word of advice, if you are after a pure GT car for a long European trip I would opt for the coupe as the convertible does have limited boot space (compared to the coupes 407 litres) and would suit more of a weekend away.
The F-type has allowed Jaguar to shift image from being the Prime Ministers favourite transport, took on the next step from the XK and found a new youthful spirit blended with racing heritage. The F-Type is, under its luxury skin, a breathtakingly raw sports car that has set a new benchmark for the brand and gives a bloody nose to Jaguar rivals.
This new image has been attracting major celebrity interest as well with David Beckham being announced as a brand ambassador for Jaguar. The golden time for Jaguar has well and truly arrived.