It sounded nothing like the Formula 1 car, weighed twice as much, and took almost double the time to fly past the 100 kmph mark. Still, this Jaguar was rather quick to get there, went almost as fast and sounded absolutely fantastic! And if you consider its name, the F-Type sounded ridiculously similar to the F1! So it was simply the perfect vehicle to transport me to Yas Marina Circuit on the F1 weekend.
THE SPECS: 5.0L V8 supercharged (Aluminium engine), 550 hp, 680 N-m torque, 8-speed ZF automatic with paddle shifts, Active sports exhausts, 8” Full Color Touch-Screen, Meridian Surround Sound System
THE DIMENSIONS: l x w x h 4470 x 1923 x 1311 mm, wheelbase: 2622 mm, weight: 1665 kg, Boot space 207 L, Fuel tank 70 L, 20” Gyrodyne Alloy Wheels
THE PERFORMANCE: 0 – 100 in 4.2 sec, 300 kmph top speed, Jaguar super performance brakes – red callipers
THE SAFETY: Front and side airbags, Gloss Black Roll Over Protection Bars -Gloss Black Bonnet Louvre, Front And Rear Parking Sensors & Reverse Parking Camera, Navigation System, Blind Spot Monitor, Closing Vehicle Sensing, Reverse Traffic Detection
THE PRICE: AED 526,000 onwards
UPSIDE: Sounds good, trusty brakes, quick drive, plenty of fun
FLIPSIDE: Boot space eaten up by spare tire, heavy for a sports car
I should start with a correction right away. What I was driving wasn’t merely the F-Type. It was the F-Type R – one extra letter that made a difference of over 170 hp and two roaring cylinders. The F-Type in its 2018 version is available in 3 rather closely placed power variants. The 3.0 L Supercharged engine tuned for 380 PS and 340 PS and the new 300 PS 2.0 L turbo-charged 4-cylinder ingenium version that is yet to arrive on our shores. While I appreciate choice, the close interval of power options honestly beats me! Now, what stands way apart is the 5.0 L Supercharged engine that straightaway delivers 550 PS in the R and 575 in the F-Type SVR.
So, I had 550 PS or over 542 hp to drive me to Yas – these are the kind of figures that compel you to put an eye out for speed traps. The eight-cylinder sports car gathers momentum like the west wind, as the spoiler unfolds against the fleeting wind. 680 Nm of torque is available at 3500 rpm and the thrust generated is immense that moves you ahead like a projection. And the Jaguar F-Type R moves gracefully, and emphatically. What is equally impressive is its braking – as expected of a track-equipped baby. The F-Type R could drop down 30 km in less than half a second. The way it seemed to sweep the speedo made 300 km a very close and possible top speed. In many years, that was just how fast F1 cars went! The convertible F-Type R promises to touch 100 kmph in 4.1 seconds. Yet the power is so overwhelming it sets off on a snaky start with a screech and sputters upon downshift – Sound effects are an integral part of the F-Type drive, and there is a button with the icon of a dual exhaust that starts the fireworks. Needless to say, the 2017 model I was driving was a rear wheel drive but the 2018 F-Type R is an all wheel drive. While rear wheel drive versions are available elsewhere, Jaguar has promised that we won’t have to miss the drift!
The F-Type R can rev high. But it doesn’t have to, as power flows freely from early revolutions. Now, the 8-speed transmission does the serious job of keeping the cruise smooth and returning impressive fuel economy. I got 6.7 km per L, which is massive for a 5.0L 500+ hp car. As an upshot, don’t expect anything beyond sleeping speeds from the engine in top gear. Pluck the paddles four times, and the F-Type R is shooting over the horizon in no time.
The steering is well weighted though there isn’t tons of feedback. The F-Type handles rather well and yields excellent traction to keep its extraordinary power on leash. The sport mode adds to the exhilaration but shifting to the dynamic mode (the racing flag icon) puts the F-Type R in character though it gets slightly too stiff.
Jaguar F-Type R doesn’t pocket half a million dirhams and say ‘no tech’. Blind Spot Monitor, Closing vehicle sensing, Reverse traffic detection… it is all there. The clearly segregated 8” Touch screen makes easy work of climate, telephone, radio and navigation. The sat-nav might not be the most comprehensive but it got me home from all kinds of places.
The Jaguar F-Type R has 270 L of boot space for the record but the huge centrally placed tyre leaves very little provision outside its diameter for a camera bag or weekend shoulder bag. The F-Type is quick to take off its cover and put it back on. Despite being a convertible, the sound levels while travelling is well within the comfort zone.
The Jaguar F-Type R plays music from the Meridien system, which is really sweet. Just that I haven’t fancied mixing wind noise with one of the best music systems in motoring-dom. But seriously, you wanna impress that girl watching you from rooftop? There is no better sound to serve out of your plush, red and black leather cabin! By the way, this could be among the last cars to allow you the freedom to play CDs.
The essential Jaguar F-Type Convertible
Top down and tired of spitting fire, the Jaguar F-Type R was parked in the huge lot, looking accomplished. After all, my F-Type R from the edge of Dubai to Yas Marina circuit, and the F1 car through its 55 laps in the circuit, covered the same distance that weekend.