All New Jaguar F-Type Road Test

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ITS ALL ABOUT CORNERS


If Jaguar's latest F-Type adverts are to be believed, the F-Type is all about corners and becoming the owner of them. The next step along from the incredibly successful XK, the F-Type is yet another of Ian Callum's perfectly blended designs. Besides continuing on from where the rather aged XK left off, the F takes the practicality and desirability of its immediate predecessor yet melds the beauty of the legendary E. Sportscar, grand tourer, everyday transport, the F-Type had a serious list of requirements to live up to even before a sketch was made or a computer was switched on.

First launched as a convertible in 2013 the coupe followed a shot time after. But irrespective of roof and profile type, the F instantly elevated Jaguar back into the must have sportscar leagues. From the single chrome bar, black honeycomb grille that carries the infamous growler, deep air cleaving splitters, deeply flared Bi-Xenon twin headlights and clamshell, front hinged engine cover, small grilles allowing the supercharged script to peep out, the F-Type's countenance is refined aggression. Taking their inspiration from the cat from which the marque takes its name, muscular feline arches shroud the 10-spoke 19" alloys and 245/40ZR19 Pirelli P-Zero rubber, the huge diameter vented discs and red callipers casting glances from within their lair.

Mounted on an all-aluminium chassis and riding on double-wishbone front ands rear suspension, further refined by active dampers, the F's profile is emphasised by the high tapering waistline, the chromed surround sweeping up and away as it finally meets with the falling roofline, narrowing angular tailgate and bluff rear quarters. Individually, each part of the F's external appearance is unmistakably that of the new range of Jaguar.


Flush-fit door handles pop out when the fob comes within range or by depressing the small button located in each. Open the doors and each occupant climbs into their own individual cockpit, the high backed contoured seats separated by the wide transmission tunnel. A considered combination of finely stitched leather, deep carpets and small piano black inserts compliment the sports 3-spoke steering wheel. A deep set central screen takes care of the satnav, connectivity and infotainment whilst neat rows of controls located around in this case the stubby gear lever, take care of the traction control, dynamic settings and, if you're so inclined, the noisy exhaust setting.


Apart from two small door bins, reasonably sized glovebox and a small bin between the seats, cargo is restricted to the 480 litre boot. However, with the space saver spare in situ, you can more or less halve the space. Perfect long-distance transportation for two, with no form of rear seat, the most minimal space behind the seats and luggage space that is pinched, the F-Type is a two small soft bags affair but at least it means you won't over pack!


All supercharged, power is derived from a pair of V6 and V8 engines with horsepower ranging from 340 as tested all the way up to 575 for the AWD SVR Coupe. But unless its your intentions to hit warp drive at every opportunity, the 340hp Coupe or convertible should prove more than adequate for most buyers. Refined to an impressive level with a supercharger that delivers the moment the throttle is depressed, the least powerful engine still propels the F-Type along with enthusiasm. And whilst most buyers will opt for the automatically transmission, the 6-speed manual will be the choice for those who still like ultimate control. Digging in whilst sending out 450 Nm of torque, 0-60 comes up in 5.5 seconds and onwards to 161mph where permitted of course.


As per the power steering, the clutch and shift are well weighted, my only criticism for me at least was the physical placement of the gear lever. With the seat and steering column where they needed to be for me, the satin polished knob was about two inches or so to far back. Not a significant problem and one that over time will subconsciously be eliminated, even after a week living with the F-Type, the shift still wasn't exactly where I needed it to be. Economy wise, whilst the factory claim a 28.8mpg average, general daily motoring returned a more than tolerable 22.7mpg, the 70 litre tank providing the Jaguar with a useful range per refill, the start/stop facility helping keep consumption as frugal as possible.


If there's one little party piece the F-Type performs that cannot be disengaged its the fact it rev's itself when started. Entertaining at first, when early morning departures are necessitated, the sonorous rasp can prove to be unwelcome. Ironically, once the F-Type has cleared its throat, it'll then slide silently away from its temporary lair.


On the road the, even with performance at its heart, the F-Type is still sufficiently pliant to give a comfortable ride over the now deplorable road surfaces we all have to endure. Easy to manoeuvre and undemanding around town, the 10.7m turning circle making what is a large car very placable even in tighter confines. Out on the open road the Jaguar takes on quite a different persona, the more or less neutral attitude and well defined balance, the fact the F-Type has been designed by a driver for a driver more than self-evident. With 340hp under your right foot, acceleration is brisk rather than savage whilst the manual transmission means the driver has ultimate control over how the car reacts, use of the torque often more useful than out and out punch.


As tested the F-Type is all yours for £52,265 rising to £110,000 for the fire breathing 5-litre V8 SVR. Add £1,800 for the automatic transmission, 4WD requires £4,850 more whilst the convertible option bumps the price up by £5,845 irrespective of model. Prices aside, two questions have to be asked about the F-Type. Is the car a worthy successor to the cars that preceded it and does it qualify as a grand tourer?


Taken in order, yes the F-Type is more than the natural evolution of the E, XK and possibly XJS models. The fact Jaguar's latest sportscar pays visual homage testament to the fact and something that driving the car more than confirms. As to being a grand tourer, the F-Type would probably be best classified as a light tourer. Yes, it will absolutely demolish vast European mileage, that is whilst we've still permitted to go there and yes it'll maintain three figure speeds with disdainful ease.

 

But as previously mentioned, you will have to travel light and apart from a few bottles of red and white, your souvenir hunting will be noticeable curtailed. But as a Jaguar to just enjoy for the sake of it, Ian Callum has created a car more than worthy of the name and more than the equal of its supposed competitors. Does it mean you now own the corners, the F-Type means you now have to decide which ones you actually wish to own!


By; Mark Stone


Model Jaguar F-Type
Price £52,265 as tested
Engine 2,995cc V6 Supercharged
Transmission 6-speed manual
Performance 0-60: 5.5 secs / 161mph max
C02 234
Economy 22.7 average



The Jaguar F-Type On Road Test