There are cars that give good driving experiences, bad driving experiences and then there is the Jaguar F-Type, which leaves your jaw dropped for as long as you can hold the throttle.. then the exhaust burbles, and your mind is blown.
I was presented with the V6 Coupe or the V6s Convertible, and although the temperature is north of 40 degrees Celsius right now, I just knew the convertible was not to be missed. The F-Type has been around since 2013, but people here still look at it like its a rare super-car, a definite compliment for a city filled with them.
Huge thanks to Jaguar & Weber Shandwick for this amazing weekend ride. I have recently been driving quite a few cars with similar performance from Affalterbach, Germany and I definitely have not yet forgotten my experience with the Porsche Cayman S. My Orange (Firesand according to Jaguar) friend from the United Kingdom had a lot to prove!
Jaguar F-Type Introduction
The F-Type comes in 8 variants but don’t look away yet, 4 of them are convertible versions. Before I get to engines, let me excite you with the fact that all variants are supercharged, grinning yet?
The F-Type starts with a Supercharged 3.0L V6 with 330HP, a V6s (As reviewed) with 380HP, a Supercharged 5.0L V8 with 495HP and a range topping V8s with 550HP. For the review model, I got the Firesand Convertible Supercharged 3.0L V6s with 380HP, a top speed of 275KM/H and a 0-100KMPH time of 4.9 seconds, which by any comparison, makes this a fast car! Power shoots to the rear wheels via the 8-speed Jaguar Quickshift automatic transmission.
As expected, the F-Type V6s comes with high performance brakes with 380mm front & 325mm rear discs, sports suspension with active dynamics where body movements are measured 100 times a second, active sports exhaust, deployable rear spoiler to reduce lift and a completely configurable dynamic-i display where the driver can adjust the dynamic mode to his liking.
In a hurry? Not a problem, the Convertible Roof can be lowered or raised in 12 seconds – Which might just be one of the fastest i’ve ever come across.
The F-Type on the outside
The question is, where to begin? Unlike what i’d usually do, I am going to start from the rear. This has been quite a debatable topic; some people consider it a classical look where the rear wheel arches have a little curve that elevates higher than the rear trunk along with flat tail lights, while others think it is modern, sleek and elegant.
To me, they are both wrong as I believe the F-Type has a unique look, especially from the rear, which is in-line with the current design language. Admittedly, it is not my favorite part of the car and without the rear spoiler raised, it does look a tad bald. Fortunately for this review and for the sake of my pleasure, there was a button to raise it and we all can tell how I left the spoiler, all the time.
My favorite part of the rear would have to be the centered exhaust tips, which look menacing and that is way before you even hear it! Think of a subtle mix between a Maserati and an Aston Martin, with an explosive upshift and lift-off burble of a CLA45 and enough loudness to wake up the neighborhood, that is, if you leave the active exhaust enabled. Which I did. Starting clockwise from the top left, the rear spoiler raises at high speed (roughly 100KMPH) to reduce lift but do me a favor if you’re in this car, just manually raise it and keep it that way. The front of the car has two beautiful HID Xenon headlamps with active cornering lights and dual stage LED accented lighting. They have good range, are clear and gives it a stunning stance.
An engine like this will be pushed to its max, and that is why Jaguar made sure there are plenty of air vents on the front hood and side fenders to let the heat out. Covered in glossy black across the models to keep it distinct. How do you know it is an V6s? There is identifiable S badges on the front grille and rear bumper to let you know, it means business. There is still one more party-piece worth mentioning, the deployable door handles. I believe this is one of the coolest little features on the exterior of the F-Type. When locked, the handle slides in and the surface is essentially flat and when unlocked the handle will slide out to be opened. Very cool Jaguar, very cool.
All this coolness, orangeness, loudness and unlimited headroom does come with a little price, a little boot but if you’re going for a car like this, boot space is the least of your concern! The front, again a debatable topic; some say it looks a lot like the Aston Martin Vantage while others think it looks ill-proportioned. Once again, I disagree with both and think it is absolutely stunning! They have done an incredible job with the bodykit, front slits, air intakes, the lights, everything was done well.
The hood even opens backwards where the opening is from the windshield – talk about classic thinking. While I am talking of the front, I dislike the parking assistance systems on Jaguar since forever and this has not changed with the F-Type. The rear camera (and there is only one camera) looks overly stretched and needs time to get used to, and the rest of the car has sensors which either do not read will enough or are just truly slow. The front lip is quite low and the sensors are useless at detecting pavements, an issue I also faced with the XFRS! Come on Jaguar, get your act together! While we’re on the topic of the exterior, the convertible roof of the F-Type is quite good! Not only does it fold up in 12 seconds, it is very well built, blocked 40+ degree heat and looked quite decent. I wouldn’t know the lifespan of a soft top in the UAE heat, but for my test, it kept the heat out! I’d expect to see more Coupe’s than convertibles in the UAE, but if you’re eyeing the convertible, you’re good.
The F-Type on the inside
I should have told you to stop reading if you’re anywhere over 6 feet tall.. A comment I had on the Jaguar XFRS was that the interior felt a little outdated, and clearly Jaguar made sure that was not the case on the F-Type! It looks beautiful and it is incredible how the entire cockpit is targeted towards the driver, as it should!
A major improvement is definitely the design, but putting that aside, the interior actually feels expensive. Every surface is soft, and any leather covered surfaces is padded. Getting in or out is a tiny challenge as the seating position is fixed. The seat does not move forward or backward but sinks in deep or comes up, which would be a hassle if you’re tall. If you can get in though, the F-Type has one of the best seating positions i’ve ever seen. You feel and know you’re bang in the center of the car. The seats offer great support and are surprisingly comfortable. The steering wheel is thick, soft and flat-bottomed for an increased sporty feel and on all S models, the paddle shifters, starter button and mode selector is in a bronze/copper color to remind you that you’re dealing with a true sports car. The info-tainment system is typical Jaguar/Land Rover with ample options to customize your vehicle, manage your radio, auxiliary and navigation.
There are two unique apps added to this system on the F-Type; one is the ambient lighting, where the driver can select the interior lighting options (Switching the car into Dynamic mode, turns all interior lighting to red) and the second is the Dynamic-i where the driver can select various settings for the steering wheel, suspension, etc along with a few additional goodies like a stopwatch and G-scope.
The throttle and brake pedals are one of the nicest as well! They are firm and accurate enough for you to really know how much pressure is being applied and its effect. If at this point you care about things like keyless entry, sound system, navigation and size of the screen, they are good. irrelevant to this type of car, but good. Moving on…
How the F-Type Drives
Are you ready? I have been waiting to talk about this since I started! This is really hard. I have driven a lot of cars, and quite a few within this type or power range and I got to admit, this was the most incredible. This is as good as small sporty cars can get and if another car can do better, i’d be shocked and pleasantly surprised. A lot of people would compare this car to its German rivals, especially in the region, but once you try it, you probably wouldn’t bother.
Let me start with the engine, it is simply beautiful. The power is delivered smoothly via the ZF 8-speed gearbox that is super responsive and the power is available from low RPM for the biggest punch when needed. A 0-100KMPH time of 4.9 seconds means this car is quick and although people will not consider this speed super fast today, my only response would be “You get to enjoy a lot more of the power, shifting, exhaust noises as you’re always near or at the limit compared to a V12 pumping out 700HP with half the 0-100KMPH time” I posted a tweet once, after driving this car like a hooligan saying “Such a well balanced car!” and I was not exaggerating at all. This is one of the most balanced cars out there, with the most simplistic structure ever; perfect weight distribution, front engined and rear wheel drive. Pushing it to the limit is a pleasure and if you do reach the limit, the car is so well composed that bringing it back to order is as simple as can be.
Adaptive damping monitoring your steering and motion of the car several hundred times a second make sure you’re always in control. This car, will make you look like a professional driver, with minimal effort.
A lot of drive but does it stop? Incredibly well! Those huge brakes with standard black brake calipers are not all for show. The brake pedal is a tad rough, but with some getting used to, smooth braking is doable. Brilliant brakes and boosts your confidence in driving fast more than the power itself.
To sum up the F-Type, I would say this is one of the most lively cars I have ever driven. It has a super fun personality that is funny, cool, short-tempered and perhaps a bit cocky – 100% best friend material.