The F Type is the type of car that makes you agree to a test without checking your calendar. Arguably a poster car of our generation, its lines are yet another masterpiece of the seemingly infinitely gifted Ian Callum and although not a true successor to the XK Grand Tourer, the F Type fills in as the sports car in Jaguar’s current lineup. The car has received little criticism since its introduction in 2013 so surely, it must be good. Available now in coupe and convertible (and of course the permanently open project 7), it is one of the few cars that looks good in either coupe or cabrio form. What was presented to us for testing, one day fresh off the boat was an unapologetically beguiling red coupe.
I, and I’m sure you as well, have seen no shortage of pictures of the F Type across various media platforms, but little prepares you for seeing one in the metal. It defines the word stunning as far as motor cars are concerned and appeals to the little kid in you, leaving you drooling outside the showroom. Happily, though, this time we were on the inside. Being a full hour early for the test (no, not eager at all!), I had ample time to take in the car’s lines.
In true sports car fashion, the car has a superbly long nose and a very rearward cabin, finished off with a fastback style hatch harking back to the famed E Type and an electronically deployable rear spoiler. The front end boasts a gaping chrome radiator grille, flanked by two purposeful looking intakes. Bonnet and side vents add to the appeal, with the bonnet vents revealing what lies under the hood through sneaky placement of engine badging.
Those rear haunches can only be described as hips! The car looks hilariously wide from the rear and its unique cut-off looking rear end.. I just can’t. it looks achingly beautiful.
Mechanicals & Technology
Walking around it revealed the “Supercharged” badging through the bonnet vents, much to my surprise, as I believed this to be the new two liter “Ingenium” turbo four pot, given that the recent XJ’s imported were of the same spec due to significantly more attractive pricing. But hey, what’s not to like about a stonking great supercharged V6, pumping out 380bhp. Jaguar aficionados will recognize that this is the same engine in the XF S sedan – must be a rather interesting sedan, that.
Getting in and depressing the now signature start button, the showroom instantly sounded like a pitlane at a racetrack. The friendly staff politely tells me “you should hear the optional SVR exhaust” – I reckon that sounds like nothing short of ammunition rounds on the overrun. The engine drives the rear wheels through an eight speed tiptronic gearbox – a manual variant is available but somehow, I feel an automatic actually suits this car’s hard charging muscle-y engine better. The automatic also happens to be over half a second quicker to a 100km/h, as per the manufacturer.
Other than the brute engine and gearbox, the car has all the usual gadgetry including navigation and dual zone air conditioning for when your passenger gets all hot and bothered about how fast this thing is. Unnecessary on a sports car are motorized air-conditioning vents that rise from the dash but then so are electric seats and a powered tailgate so clearly Jaguar was not looking to build a lightweight track day special.
Rolling out of the showroom and onto the road, you feel every single eyeball in a two-hundred-meter radius on the car, no doubt helped by our test car’s Salsa Red. Unlike most modern sports cars, the F Type is not one that “feels like a sedan when not in sports mode” – it is always in “sports” mode. Switching to dynamic just takes the experience from crazy to full on mental.
Given it is supercharged and not turbocharged, no lag exists and the car feels ever so inclined to do things quickly. Like a riled-up animal, the slightest prod of the throttle makes it bark. Downshifts from the gearbox, though not as quick as a German PDK, are very prompt and send you hurtling toward the horizon in a symphony of supercharger whine and exhaust crackles.
The suspension is decidedly firm and reminds you that this is not a Grand Tourer that you would want to waft around the hills in. Super wide tires on our test car (295 cross section at the rear!) and the firm double wishbone setup give it the handling you would expect from a car in this segment, though one little gripe was that the steering rack could have been quicker for those high-speed corners.
Addictive is the acceleration and noise that the F-type makes that will have you circling the block just to hear it. In an age where the sweet-sounding sputter of un-burnt fuel igniting in the exhausts of carburetor cars are long gone, the F Type is a refreshing throwback, sounding like a lion gargling with Listerine on every upshift. Never has a test drive cum photo shoot garnered as many spectators as this.
Living With It
The F Type is a rich person’s toy. It will find a home in the company of many large sedans and SUV’s and it should, because it is a smidgen too uncompromising for daily use. Yes, this is not the most hard-core iteration of the car on sale, but even in this configuration, the car feels like a beast that needs taming, so keep the traction control on unless you know what you’re doing.
But then this is also the kind of car that does not even need to be driven every day to enjoy it. I would go as far as to suggest prospective buyers renovate their homes and move the garage into the living room because an enthusiast would not be unhappy staring at an F Type over a cup of tea – who needs conversation.
Carrying luggage? There is some stowage space about the cabin such as door bins and a glovebox. The boot in the Coupe body is rated at 407 litres but it’s a wide and relatively shallow space. If you use the load cover, this shrinks to 315 litres. Of course, packing your weekend clothes directly in the boot is an option…if you are a golfer, you will be glad as Jaguar Land Rover UK says that it’s enough for two sets of golf clubs. Don’t overfill it though, or you may risk damaging that rear glass screen and looking rather comedic!
Fuel Economy & Price
Discussing fuel economy is rather pointless in a car like this but I’ll say this – you get what you pay for, and the 70 litre fuel tank should be largely sufficient for extended bouts of enjoyment. Price on the other hand – prohibitive taxes put the F Type as tested at an eye watering Rs.47mn. Shame really as this is largely due to engine displacement. This is where the two-liter version would make a lot more sense. The dilemma – 3.0 F Type or 2.0 F Type and a small apartment. Money no object, the three liter is the obvious choice, but I’ll leave that choice up to you.
Safety is afforded by the usual regiment of airbags, parking aids, blind spot monitoring and a pedestrian contact sensing system that automatically raises the bonnet in the event of an accident involving a pedestrian, to protect not only those inside the car but on the outside as well.
The Jaguar F Type – certainly one of the more memorable cars of our generation. It is Jaguar’s first proper sports car, where the brand only dabbled in grand tourers in the past. What does it have to take on? Depending on spec, anything from a Porsche Boxster to an Audi R8. That’s a rather wide gamut which would require swiss army knife chassis versatility to cope with differing power outputs and drivetrain layouts.
Happily, the F Type does possess the required credentials, courtesy an aluminum structure typical of Jaguar that provides extraordinary structural rigidity. More pronounced than any of this is the sheer drama this car affords. From that design, the lines of which can be achieved thanks to specially developed alloys, to the abundance of power and that noise! Everything about the F Type is an event, one that makes you want another shot at it, over and over. What little it lacks in nimbleness, it makes up for in theatrics and is the stuff dreams are made of.
375bhp @ 6,500rpm
460Nm @ 3,500-5,500rpm
Rear wheel drive
Suspension – Double Wishbone
Brakes – Ventilated Disc
Tyres – 255/35 R20
Suspension – Double Wishbone
Brakes – Ventilated Disc
Tyres – 295/30 R20
Length 4,842 mm