Of course Jaguar has released sporty cars since its last two-seater sports car, the E-Type. None, however, have captured the imagination or grabbed the senses quite as much as the E. Until, Jaguar hopes, now.
The F-Type has pressure on its muscular shoulders. Jaguar’s 50+ year absence from the sports car market has made yearning hearts grow fonder, but it’s also given Porsche, Audi, Aston Martin and the like time to catch up, overtake and shine in the gap that formerly contained a leaping cat.
Making a car that’s merely ‘alright’ isn’t going to cut it. Neither is making a car that’s ‘very good’. It’s got to be the absolute shit. Pleasingly, the F-Type hits the mark with aplomb.
Anyone with eyes can see that Jaguar’s design team has done an incredible job on the looks front. Despite not being in step with the design language of Jaguar’s more traditional line up, it’s unmistakably a Jaguar. It’s beautifully balanced and offers cues to its heritage — its rear, for example, is remarkably similar to the E-Type’s…
There’s also a tonne of engineering knowhow in there. The F-Type has to be both light and stiff to give it the performance Jaguar desired. Its bonnet for example, weighs just 15kgs.
Underneath its exquisitely crafted hood there’s space for one of three engines — two versions of a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 (340bhp and 380bhp) or a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 (495bhp). The basic F-Type comes with the 340bhp V6 — it sounds like an old F1 car and its performance is enough to make the hairs on your hairs go all wobbly. The V6 S gets the 380bhp engine and builds on the basic car not only with performance, but with toys. You get adaptive damping, a ‘noise’ button to make its dual pipes sing that little bit louder, bigger brakes and a limited slip differential. The V8 S gets all that and more… largely, though, the V8 S is a draw for its guttural, antisocially loud exhaust pipes. Driving it through Spanish villages early in the morning (as we did during filming) I felt guilty. Even with the car in ‘normal’ mode its quad exhausts were making so much fuss I was expecting to be told off. I wouldn’t have cared, mind…
Thanks to a near perfect 50:50 weight distribution the F-Type is a pleasure to drive. It leaps from corner to corner and doesn’t threaten to bite you as others would. If it does twitch, it’s easy to fix thanks to its frankly awesome steering. You know where the wheels are and can feel everything beneath you. You feel safe, you feel secure, you feel pretty awesome.
No matter which engine you go for, the F-Type will delight and excite you. The V8 S will annoy your neighbours and propel you along like cat with a firecracker up its arse, while the entry-level V6 will delight the old school. The V6 cars, incidentally, are set up for handling prowess, while the V8 is for straight line thrills.
Personally, I’d take the entry-level car — it does everything you need it to and, frankly, my driving isn’t good enough to use all the computer trickery on offer in the higher spec cars.
I’ll leave you with this — the F-Type range can take on pretty much every performance car on offer. The V6 stares hungrily at the Porsche Boxster, the V6 S is eyeing up the Porsche 911 Carrera S and the V8 S? That’s lookin’ at you Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster. If I were them… I’d be worried.
Engine: 3.0-litre Supercharged V6, 5.0-litre Supercharged V8
Torque: 332-460lb ft
Top speed: 161-186mph
Written/Presented: Alex Goy
Shot by: Nick Wilkinson
Edited by: Drew Stearne
What do you think of this car? Can it be a Porsche 911 beater?