The Jaguar F-Type is one of those cars that stun you at first glance. It gives people who have ever considered buying a sports car in their lives an affirmative response that they certainly should.
UPSIDE – Powerful and playful, Stunning design, Terrific sport mode, Thrilling sound effects, Excellent music system
FLIPSIDE – Low steering feel, Stingy storage, Wind deflector hinders rear view on hazy days, Lukewarm manual mode
The Price: AED 429,000
Paraded as the heir to the E Type of yore, the F-Type really compels people to relook at their options – one, for being a Jaguar and two, for being a viable alternative to the Porsche that is as much a cliché as it is a sports car. The F-Type doesn’t warrant the wait for a mid-life crisis to arise. It’s a youthful show off, as verified by the abundant eyeballs to the auditory confirmation of its exhaust pipes. It even comes with a button for enhancing the exhaust output by quickening the airflow and amplifying the boom, bang and sputter.
Of the three variants available, the powerful F-Type convertible V8 S is my first ride. And unlike an Aston Martin or a Maserati track car, this one is eager to lift off. So you ought to be careful with that missile-launcher tucked under your right foot. The car not only snarls but it snarls ahead as well.
While it denies the firm feedback one expects of a sports steering, this is smoothness you wouldn’t complain about because it is quick in its response and reliable in handling. It is good to the grip, sort of thick and rather sport sized. The Jaguar F-Type is, and behaves like, a rear wheel drive with the tendency of slight tail movement but overall it is a well-controlled, well-mannered car if you wouldn’t count in its boisterousness.
The V8 engine is mated to the ‘blockbuster’ 8-speed ZF transmission. The shifts are amazingly quick and before I knew, the speedo was hovering close to 140, with the engine spin still under 1,400 per minute. I didn’t have to downshift or choose the Sport mode to egg the F-Type on; keeping the engine revving was good enough – all the way up to almost 6,500rpms, just 200 below the red line. Each time I pushed the throttle, the response pushed me back in my seat.
Yes, this car is quick. Way beyond its take off velocity due to the powerful low range torque, it can mount from speed to speed without thinking twice. Even with a manual transmission that shifts purposefully and rapidly, the Sport mode is the central point of sports in the F-Type, especially when it comes to the blips and the boosted revs. The Manual mode gets overridden by the auto but then, it’s still fun-a-plenty. Jaguar has concocted a piquant mix of fun, fashion and fantasy in the F-Type. The 0 to 100 came up in a casual five; but even more exciting is the way the F-Type shoots from 100 to way beyond in a flash of green light – the Sport mode is the killer. And if you were to tell me that it could do 100 to 200 in 2.5 seconds flat, I would probably believe you.
Just above the empty space in the rear, where two seats are often pointlessly mounted in a compact sports car, there is a thin meshed screen which is designed to deflect wind with the top down, and helps in reducing the glare from behind. But on the humid evening that I drove the F-Type out of the Jaguar garage, it was a pain. I had to rely on the side view mirrors for a long time because the haze wasn’t helping. The side view mirrors and the overall design doesn’t make the job hard for you, so that turned out fine.
SPECS: 2015 F-Type V8 S Convertible: 5.0L Supercharged all-aluminium engine / 495hp@6500 rpm / 625 Nm torque @ 2500 – 5500 rpm / 0 – 100 kmph in 4.3 sec / Max 300 kmph (limited) / 8-Speed ZF 8HP Quickshift automatic transmission with SportShift / Jaguar Active Differential / Fuel efficiency (test figure) 6.1 km/L
Dimensions: LXWXH: 4470 x 1923 x 1319 mm / Wheel base: 2622 mm / Weight: 1665 kg / Load space: 196 L (148 L with space saver wheel)
It could easily be one of the most alluringly designed Jaguars, with its ‘neither small nor big’ grille, air vents on top and the grill sides and a narrow pair of eyes that could vanish into the prowling dark. The pronounced spoiler and very narrow red rear lamps that extend till the fenders give it a sharp and aggressive finish, with the four bazookas sticking out of the lower rear.
The only aspect this car could be compared to the Boxster S is in the shape of its wide, burly rear. Compactly sized in its entirety, the Jaguar F-Type has muscular haunches especially in the rear while the brawny front fenders remind you of the XKR.
Cabin and Controls
Inside, the F-Type sets itself apart from most other sports cabins with distinct luxury, as exemplified in the textured aluminium on the dashboard, the soft-touch wraparound leather, the armrest and windowsills that feel too cushioned for a sports car or the seats in red leather with their black complement.
The quick Jaguar F-Type is also quick to let its roof down – in a dozen seconds or so. The telematix is directly from the JLR family and so is the hallmark Meridian system. It’s a cabin that’s easy on you with a phone-navigation system that has all the relevant cues. The parking brake disengages itself as you move out, so that’s one thing less to think about.
With a series of rocker switches that governs the controls from air-conditioning to the Dynamic mode, the Jaguar F-Type cabin is absolutely well thought out, but for the storage. A couple of felt-lined niches between the seats and under the armrest are all you have. In fact, with a spare tyre crammed into the smallish boot, our photographer had to abandon his kit altogether!
The Essential Jaguar F-Type
Things don’t get much sportier than the Dynamic mode of the Jaguar F-Type, as much for turning its heavy frame nimble as for triggering the bonus booms of the exhaust. Despite a firm seatback, the two-seater is unusually comfortable for a sports car but the storage is meagre, even by a sporty scale!
Right from how it looks to the way it drives, the Jaguar F-Type is an exciting set of wheels. Every shift feels like it isn’t transferring power to the wheels but electricity directly to your cortex. Priced between a Porsche Boxster S and a 911, the feline roadster is bang for the buck, quite literally!