Jaguar’s little gem

The Jaguar F-Type is a pretty little car. Now available as a coupé, its lines are even sharper than those of the convertible. From the purposeful Jaguar face to the dainty tail (with slightly naughty large twin exhausts) it has gained considerable attention while on test.

Further delights

Superficially viewing the car, the panels and their shut lines give the F-Type a bold and pleasingly simple shape. It is only studying the car’s form more carefully that further delights show. There is a smooth crease along the lower edge of the door leading to a slightly pinched waist, emphasising those purposeful, E-Type-esque rear arches. The initially controversial, shark-like gills at the front in fact reduce the visual weight of the nose. Then, revisiting the tail, the slender lights sit neatly beneath the boot edge. The true attraction is that while this car maintains a family and historic resemblance, it is like no other car on the road.

Inside, there are many familiar Jaguar Land Rover components. The design, though, manages a successful balance of higher volume build quality with its exacting standards and the feel of a more bespoke-built car. The switchgear is pleasingly simple and easy to locate and use on the move. This might sound surprising, but unfortunately, it is rather common for fiddly controls to spoil a driving experience.

Of the engines, there are the wild and rapid V8 S and R models and two outputs of the V6 three-litre. Having initially sampled the convertible versions of the V6 S with its 380 PS output and base 340 PS, while there is a small performance difference, the lower output never feels lacking. In fact, with slightly less power, it’s possible to enjoy some pedal-to-the-metal driving for marginally longer – to savour the remarkable sound – before reaching the speed limit. Our base model lacks the limited slip differential and dynamic handling package; of these, the diff makes the most difference when putting the power down. The ride in our car is firm and certainly well-enough controlled for fast road driving.

Barks and pops

Now, let us dwell on that sound. How on Earth did Jaguar get away with building a car which barks, pops and burbles so magically with current, stringent noise regulations? Those clever people at Jaguar have engineered adjustable baffles in the exhaust pipe and so in Sport mode, everyone in the vicinity is treated to the wondrous sounds. Not only that, there’s a button which enhances the sound even while in the gentler Drive mode.

It isn’t often we can state this but every journey in the F-Type has been a delight. The intimate cabin, the perky V6, the raw sound and those striking looks all contribute to the overall delight.

Smiles

In terms of attention, this car has received more interest than some costing four times as much. I have lost count of the number of occasions I have spotted people whip out their smart phones to take a snap. This attention has – without exception – been positive, usually accompanied by large smiles. While there are more powerful variants, the basic (and it seems slightly wrong to use that term) model at £51k delivers a truly super balance of looks and performance. We’re certainly struggling to fault it.

Jaguar F-Type Coupé, from £51,235. (S model pictured)

Power: 340 PS (@ 6,500 rpm), torque: 450 Nm (@ 3,500-5,000 rpm), emissions: 205 g/km CO2 (band K), 0-62 mph: 5.3 secs.

Motor Writer rating: ●●●●●





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