2014 Jaguar F-Type – Review

The height of aural pleasure as the new sportscar from Jag pushes all the right buttons

By Noel Ebdon

[Read the first Middle East local drive of the new Jaguar F-Type V6S here]

Jaguar F-Type launch drive

Brakes! I really wasn’t ready for that to be a hairpin, but in Spain’s Northern San Cristobal Mountains, you quickly learn to expect the unexpected. A quick pull on the bronze paddle shifters and the car drops a cog, sends a lovely ‘barap’ out of the exhaust pipe and slows enough for me to twirl the perfectly weighted steering wheel and make the bend.

Jaguar F-Type launch drive

The next bit’s straight, giving me the chance to open the taps on what is by far the best sounding V6 on the market since they stopped making the Alfa Romeo GTV way back in 1987. The sound echoes off the rock wall to my left and resonates deep into the valley on my right.

Jaguar F-Type launch drive

With such aural pleasure available from the driver’s seat (ahem) has Ferrari decided to drop two cylinders and build a V6? Nope, this is a Jaguar F-Type and it’s probably their most important car since the 2007 launch of the company-saving XF.

Jaguar F-Type launch drive

Based around a lightweight aluminium chassis, the new car gets the choice of a V6 or V8 engine at the front, rear-wheel drive and a folding soft top. Hang on a minute, lightweight, two-seater, soft-top, rear-wheel drive? Where have we heard that before? It’s the British swinging 60’s all over again and frankly it’s about bloody time.

Jaguar F-Type launch drive

In an age of dulled down, grey man cars, Jaguar has gone and released a loud, obnoxious and frankly, downright fun sports car to bring the joy back into motoring. There’s even an ‘Active Exhaust’ button to make the F-Type louder or quieter.

Jaguar F-Type launch drive

And the figures don’t fail either. The V6 will romp to 100kph in just 5.1 seconds, whilst the V8 will be there with its feet up in just 4.2. But it’s the mid-range that’s most impressive, with more than enough power to satisfy. Add to that an eight-speed gearbox (where will it all end?) and you’ve got a seriously fast car. The slightly irrelevant top speed is 260kph and 300kph respectively for the two cars.

Jaguar F-Type launch drive

Of course, in this region snobbery rules and most people will probably opt for the 5.0 litre V8. But the 3.0 litre V6 (especially the S model) is almost certainly enough for most people, as the only real difference between the two on the road is that the V6 needs you to play with the gearbox more often to keep it fizzing.

Jaguar F-Type launch drive

With a weight difference of just 51 kgs the handling feels almost identical. On twisty roads the nose goes exactly where you point it and the traction control isn’t too intrusive, depending on the setting you switch into. Drive out of the corners is also highly impressive, especially as you get to enjoy that addictive exhaust note even more.

Jaguar F-Type launch drive

The interior of all the F-Types I drove were a little too black for my liking, but the dashboard is certainly well laid out. I’m sure a more colourful pallet is available via the dealers. Just to underline the sporty nature of the car the passenger gets a well-placed grab handle in the form of a flying buttress, cocooning in the driver controls like a fighter jet cockpit.

Jaguar F-Type launch drive

On the steering wheel the uber-cool bronze anodised shift paddles rotate with the wheel, so quick changes in corners are a breeze. It also gets an excellent Meriden 10 or 12-speaker stereo system, despite the two-seater layout.

Jaguar F-Type launch drive

There’s no rear shelf to speak of and not much in the way of storage. There’s a shallow boot under that pert rear end, but hey, this is a sports car. Who needs luggage anyway?

Jaguar F-Type launch drive

Although volumes will be fairly low when compared to the XF and XJ, the F finally gives Jaguar a true successor to the E-Type and allows the XK to stop trying to be jack of two trades and master of none. The big GT can now be just that, leaving the punchy, rorty fun to the new kid on the block.

Jaguar F-Type launch drive

I guess my only problem with the F-Type is finding a worthwhile fault to report back on, but to be honest I’m struggling. With Jaguar still living off its now ancient racing heritage I so wanted this car to be good and thankfully it is.

Jaguar F-Type launch drive

Yes, they could have been bolder with the front end and of course I’d love a manual option, but that’s something that’s dying out with age. Jaguar has bucked the trend and built a proper British sports car once again. Add to that one of the best soundtracks on the market and the F-Type adds some serious bite to the big cat.

Jaguar F-Type launch drive

Specs
2014 Jaguar F-Type

F-TYPE V6 – AED272k ($74k)
Engine: 3.0-litre, V6, 340bhp @ 6500rpm, 332lb ft @ 3500-5000rpm
Performance: 0-100kph 5.3seconds, 259kph, 9.0L/100km
Transmission: eight-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Weight: 1597kg

Jaguar F-Type launch drive

F-TYPE V6 S – AED 313k ($85k)
Engine: 3.0-litre, V6, 380bhp @ 6500rpm, 339lb ft @ 3500-5000rpm
Performance: 0-100kph 4.9seconds, 275kph, 9.1L/100km
Transmission: eight-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Weight: 1614kg

Jaguar F-Type launch drive

F-TYPE V8 S – AED 398k ($108k)
Engine: 5.0-litre, V8, 495bhp @ 6500rpm, 460lb ft @ 2500-5500rpm
Performance: 0-100kph 4.3seconds, 299kph, 11.1L/100km
Transmission: eight-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Weight: 1665kg

Let us know what you think of the all-new Jaguar F-Type below

 

One response to “2014 Jaguar F-Type – Review”

  1. Nick says:

    Fabulous.

    Does it come with those racing helmets too?

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