Not For The Shy And Retiring.
Fabulous Performance, Driveability.
Raucous Noises Might Be A Buyer Turnoff.
“If I owned one, I think I’d remove that “look at me” noise right away”
“the poorest value extra in the history of motoring. Jaguar wants to charge you £500 for a “visibility pack””
For – beautiful driver’s car.
Against – need to remove your embarrass genes, give up golf.
***** out of Five
You’d better be ready for prime time if you get behind the wheel of the new Jaguar F-Type V8S, because if its stunning looks don’t focus the spotlight on you, the amazing shriek and roar of the engine will.
When my F-Type arrived, small boys rushed over to take a look. While filming the car, people gathered to point at it and listen to the rumble of the V8. So if you have £91,000 to spend on a car and it’s understatement you want in your supercar, better visit the local Mercedes or Audi dealership.
Jaguar says the all-new F-Type soft-top convertible is the heir to the iconic E-type of the 1960s. It might catch the eye in the same way the E-type did, but its technology puts it into a different league. It is made mainly from aluminum and the supercharged 495 hp 5-liter V8 engine catapults the car from rest to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. In Germany, or on race tracks, the top speed is said to be 186 mph. The car’s handling is precise and easy. The ride is on the harsh side if you come across poorly maintained roads, which are sadly typical in Britain. The cabin seems to wrap itself around the driver. When you switch the engine on, the engine is programmed to bellow a greeting and remind anyone in earshot that this is a notable and expensive machine. If I owned one, I think I’d remove that “look at me” noise right away.
The car was a joy to drive, not least ambling along rolling English country roads (try the A272 of “ode to a road” fame) with the roof down. Best to turn off the sound system for a while and listen to the music of the eight speed automatic gearbox liaising with the mighty engine. If you floor the throttle, the noise generated is closer to an explosion or a thunderclap and the pickup amazing as all 495 horses are let loose. This model has a so-called Active Exhaust and Jaguar has invested money to enhance and widen a menu of noises that the car will make. You can ask your passenger to see if the rear spoiler does actually deploy when you exceed 60 mph, and slides back down at 40 mph, as promised by Jaguar. The door handles remain flush with the body until you unlock it. The handles then ping out so you can enter, then retract when the car moves off.
You can override the automatic gearbox by using the flippers on the steering wheel to change down or up. Push the gear lever to the left and you will engage Sport mode. The computer will automatically blip the throttle as it moves to a lower gear. If you take the car to a race track, Dynamic Launch Mode is available. When the car is stationary, the driver depresses the brake pedal while simultaneously building engine speed with the accelerator until a message reading ‘Dynamic Launch Ready’ appears in the instrument panel. That signals the traction control has been set for maximum acceleration. This top of the range car also had Adaptive Dynamics suspension which controls vertical body movement, roll and pitch rates.
You can tell British premium car maker Jaguar is deadly serious about moving from being a niche manufacturer to challenging German hegemony. When it launched the car at the Paris car show last year
it not only hired the grounds of the famous Musee Rodin, it also flew in American singer-songwriter Lana del Rey to entertain the media with a couple of numbers.
Jaguar not only lavished money on the launch, it wasn’t holding back on the hyperbole either.
“Jaguar is a founder member of the sports car segment with a rich sporting bloodline stretching over 75 years, and in the F-Type we’ve reignited that flame. The F-Type isn’t designed to be like anyone else’s sports car. It’s a Jaguar sports-car, ultra-precise, powerful, sensual, and, most of all, it feels alive,” said Jaguar’s Adrian Hallmark.
It undoubtedly looks very nice, if perhaps a bit too much like an Italian Maserati from the front.
“We wanted the experience of sitting in the F-Type to be exciting,” said designer Ian Callum, lauding the cockpit-like interior.
Jaguar used to be owned by Ford and is now controlled by the Indian Tata Group as part of Jaguar Land Rover.
Jaguar failed to make much of a dent in its previous battles with Germans like BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Porsche. Its attempt to match the BMW 3 Series with its little X-type four-seater crashed and burned. But with new ownership from India the new F-Type is likely to make potential buyers of small Porsche sports car and cheaper Aston Martins think twice. Jaguar said the F-Type is the first step in its five to 10 year plan to mount a serious new assault on the German leaders, which might even see a Jaguar SUV.
The new F-type is on sale now. You can choose a 3-liter supercharged 340 hp V6, a 380 hp V6 or the V8S. There might a two-litre supercharged version one day. There will certainly be a hard top one. Shrinking violets and golfers need not apply. The trunk is too small for golf clubs.
Worst value extra
And here’s my nomination for the poorest value extra in the history of motoring. Jaguar wants to charge you £500 for a “visibility pack”. This in a car which will probably come first in any competition for most “look at me” factors.
|Jaguar F-type V8S|
|Engine:||5.0 litre V8 petrol
|Power:||495 hp @ 6,500|
|Torque:||625 Nm/460 lbfoot @2,500-5,500
|Gearbox:||eight speed automatic “Quickshift”
|Acceleration:||0-60 mph 4.2 seconds 0-100 km/h 4.3 seconds
|Top Speed:||186 mph-300 km/h
|Fuel Consumption:||claimed combined – 25.5 mpg-11.1 l/100km - WintonsWorld test – 20.7 mpg-13.7 l/km|
|Emissions class:||Euro V
|Suspension:||double wishbone/double wishbone
|Boot capacity:||200.5 litres
|Competition:||Porsche 911, Aston Martin Vantage, BMW M6, Audi R8, Mercedes SL
|For:||beautiful, raucous, driver’s car|
|Against:||need to remove your embarrass genes|