Jaguar’s long anticipated, long overdue E-Type replacement is THE car of the moment. So we had to get our hands on one to see what all the fuss is about. We opted to test the middle of the range F-Type S, its 3.0 litre supercharged engine produces 380 BHP and 460 Nm of Torque. Meaning the 1,614kg, all aluminum drop top shoots from 0-60 in 4.8 seconds, and on to a top speed of 171 MPH.
Our car was specced up to a whopping £76,920 optional extras included: Performance Seats – £1,450, Exterior Carbon Fibre Pack – £2,770, 20″ Turbine Alloys £1,000, Meridian 380W Stereo £850, Auto Lights/Wipers Heated Windscreen £500, Front parking sensors with rear cameras £500, Keyless entry £450, Switchable Sports Exhaust £350, Configurable Dynamics £400, Ultime Black Paint £700, Auto Climate control £350, Wind Deflector £250, and last but not least Heated Seats at £350. Ferrari Enzo said the E-Type was “The most beautiful car ever made” so its next of kin best be a looker. And boy is it that! In many ways its a modern take on the E-Type, the way the front lights are mounted at the outermost corners, and the thin, delicate, slit like brake lights are a certain nod to the infamous classic.
The long wide bonnet has a raised power bulge that guides your eye down to its nose, where two gills sit at each end, aiding airflow to the front brakes. Bright LED running lights are built into the headlamps, accentuating the car’s front lines. This big cats rear haunches bulge out slightly, before pinching upward in a very ’79 Corvette Stingray manner. A low, slightly sloping boot lid features an integrated spoiler which activates at 60 MPH, helping create an extra 120kg of down force. It can also be strategically deployed via a ‘poser’ button near the gear stick.
To make the F-Type Jaguar created a new aluminum alloy – AC600 to be precise – it was developed to allow greater formability, and clarity to the cars feature lines. The boot lid is made from composites, allowing all the cars aerials to be hidden beneath its skin. Clever stuff! As soon as you press the bronze start button the F-Type roars into life, gauges sweep round and the 3.0 litre supercharged engine revs before calming back down to a purr. Press the throttle to the floor, and you are greeted with a deep raucous growl as the revs hit 4,000 and the Jag wobbles from side to side. It’s a bit addictive. Now with this being the S model you have the Sports exhaust as standard – normally a £1,630 option on the standard F-Type. For an extra £350 you can have this electrically controlled; meaning you have a clever little switch that reroutes the exhaust gasses; basically making it a straight through system. Buyers will have this switched on 99% of the time I reckon!
When activated the aural delight that ensues is simply astounding, you feel like you’re Walter Röhrl in a 1980’s group B rally car. With each downshift it crackles and pops, the overrun is simply divine! Leaving the car in manual is best, first and second gear are the real head turners. It’s always worth downshifting just one too many to be swathed in those burbling notes.
However it doesn’t have to be so lairy, turn the Active Exhaust off and you get a more muffled sound when changing through the first few gears; but even with the noisy button set to on, you can find some peace and quiet in the higher gears as the revs drop massively. Some have moaned about the automatic ZF gearbox in the F-Type…personally I wouldn’t have it any other way. With that amount of power, changing gear at the flick of a finger enables you to keep pace and accelerate onward blisteringly quickly. The gearbox even rev matches whilst you’re in manual mode, saves all that heel and toeing! Gear changes are near enough instantaneous, practically on par with a dual clutch setup.
Cruising at 70 on the motorway in 8th gear the Jag is practically on tick over, and engine noise is almost inaudible. This big cat is very refined when it needs to be. If you are feeling lazy and want to leave the F-Type in full auto it’s still an excellent ‘box. Quick to change down at a moment’s notice when you push the ‘Go’ pedal all the way down.
Steering is very direct with great weighting to it, for an even sharper response you can pull down on the ‘Dynamic Drive’ button. This allows you to set the cars parameters to your suiting, we set everything to Dynamic. Throttle response becomes even sharper, along with steering and suspension. This makes the ride harder but not overly, it just feels as a sports car should. You will feel cats eyes, pot holes and the Jag follows road undulations to a T. Weight distribution was high on Jaguars list when creating the F-Type, so much so that the battery and washer bottle are situated in the boot. Helping the Jag to have a weight distribution of 52/48 front to rear, and you really can feel how well balanced it is. Under braking or acceleration the F-Type stays flat, no dipping or lifting at all. Cornering is also pitch perfect with a minute amount of body roll, but the active dampers do a great job keeping the car stable.
With 380 BHP through the rear wheels you’d think this would be a tail happy nightmare, it really isn’t. With the S model you get a locking diff as standard, and in the dry powering out of corners is silky smooth; even when your foot is planted to the floor. In the damp or wet the same maneuver results in a little wobble before the traction control cuts in and sorts everything out.
When topless the cabin is a tad windy, even with the wind shield. Which was a bit of a disappointment, but to be honest you will be too busy listening to the aural concoction being served front and back for you to talk to your passenger.
Oh, and MPG isn’t the best, we averaged 12.1 over roughly 100 miles. Meaning it cost us – near enough – 50p a mile. However i’m sure if you left it in full auto you would get nearer the 22 MPG Urban figure Jag quote, just don’t expect too much more!
Inside the F-Type everything is driver focused, Jag have pitched the car as a 1+1; meaning the passenger is purely along for the ride. The whole dash is aimed toward the pilot, everything is within reach so you can focus on driving.
Our car was fitted with the performance seats, at £1,350 they are a rather pricey option but they really do look the part. You are hugged and held in all the right places, making you feel part of the machine. Quality is great, the two tone leather dash matched the seats, and the matt finish carbon fibre centre console trim was stunning. Jaguar wanted to keep the dash as minimalist as possible, so continued with the disappearing air vents seen on other models. Turn the heater on, or set it to Auto and the middle of the dash rises up, very cool!
If you find yourself wanting to listen to anything other than that exhaust, the Meridian stereo is amazing, ours had the 380 Watt system and even with the top down everything was crystal clear. There are two things I have to criticize though, first being the paddles. In a car costing upward of £67k they could have done something better than bronze effect plastic, our car had covered just over 4,000 miles but already the soft touch coating was turning sticky…either that or the previous driver had been eating toffees…you can pay an extra £300 to have these in Aluminium, but they should come as standard. My second moan is the seat adjuster. On the door you can adjust the height and backrest angle, but to move the seat forward there is a pull lever under the seat? You can make the whole affair electric though…for an extra £400. Clarkson moaned about the boot space on Top Gear, but it’s adequate enough for an overnight bag…maybe not two though.
At £67,000 the F-Type V6 S is rather pricey, if it was £20k less it would be an absolute bargain. But it seems JLR have priced it to attract premium customers only, which is a shame as it could really blow the competition out of the water at £50k.
All that being said the F-Type is superb. That noise simply gets under your skin, you want more of it, you find excuses just to start it up, its infectious. A test drive WILL leave you wanting one.
Jaguar F-Type – Aurally pleasing, lighting acceleration, perfect handling, attention grabbing.
We would like to say a big thank you to Stratstone Jaguar Milton Keynes for the loan of the F-Type.
Northfield Drive, Northfield, Milton Keynes, MK15 0EB
Tel: 01908 350 819 – Email: [email protected]
Owner / Editor of Carwitter – French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter