It was in March of 1961 when Jaguar unveiled the E type to the world at the Geneva Motor show. Not only did it pack a performance that trumped every car at the show it was also the prettiest from the lot there. So much that Enzo Ferrari himself said – ‘It’s the most beautiful car ever made’. That was then, fast forward to 2013 and Jaguar unraveled the F-Type, the spiritual successor to the legendary E type and the first true sports car from Jaguar in five decades. Designed by none other than Ian Callum the F-Type like it’s predecessor set a new benchmark in automotive design. We spent two days with the top shelf F Type V8S Convertible and realized that the striking good looks are just the tip of the iceberg, it’s all the muscle and technology which makes the car go is what makes the F-Type V8S a truly remarkable car.
Every car manufacturer has an insignia feature or style which makes it cars standout from the rest. Mercs look good from the behind, while Audi’s and BMW’s look good from the front with the day time running lights and the kidney grille respectively. But this is not the case with the Jaguar F-Type Convertible, it looks good and proportional from any angle. Not to sound a bit too carried away but the car looks jaw dropping even from the top. It was a bit tough to not take a glance from my living room window to the gleaming white or as Jaguar calls it ‘Polaris White’ test vehicle.
In the front you have the bold angular Jaguar grille with adaptive Bi-Xenon headlamps underlined by the J Blade LED daytime running lights on either sides. The humongous hood hints at the monster that lies inside, the sports vents add an extra sense of masculinity to the design. Smooth lines flow through the aluminium body from the bonnet to the boot along with elements like the front splitter and gaping intakes that give the F Type a refined yet a menacingly aggressive look. It’s rare to have such opposing elements that are beautifully fused together. The side profile is equally striking with the long hood, the sensually low tail and the imposing 20 inch alloy wheels. On the rear you have quad exhausts and an active spoiler which automatically deploys at 100 km/h delivering stability and panache while gracefully retracting at 65 km/h. And lastly the full LED rear lights that wrap around the trailing edge of the rear wheel arch accentuating the sporty stance of the car.
The F-Type is undoubtedly one of the best looking cars since a decade.
The chief designer of the F-Type Ian Callum wanted the car to be extremely aerodynamic and clean, such that even the door handles are hidden inside the frameless doors. Press unlock and the handles pop out with a soft swish sound and seduce you to step inside. Being Jaguar their designers even embedded soft welcome lights in it.
Draped in black the F-Type interiors or should I say ‘the cockpit’ is a sporty and luxurious mixture of carbon fiber, aluminium and leather. The only color you will find in the cabin is the start button, mode switch and the paddleshifters which come in anodized bronze color. Our tester came fitted with the optional sports seats. Clad in black leather the buckets offered 16 way adjustment and memory function. If sinking in the seats was not enough they also offered side bolster adjustment. Even with low seating the cabin offers ample visibility.
The drivers cabin is separated by the transmission tunnel, center console and an ‘Oh ****’ handle for the unsuspecting passenger. Rotary LED knobs let you control the cabin temperature , flick the AC on and the vents raise dramatically while pleasantly disrupting the clean dashboard. Situated below are a row of Pagani inspired flip switches which control the Hazard lights and air conditioning. And yes, the switches do make that mechanical click sound. Jaguar has thrown in some storage spaces, enough for holding two coffee cups and an iPhone. A series of LED’s are cleverly embedded in the cabin to offer ambient lighting, our favorite from the lot of colors,was red, black interiors with a hint of blood red lighting, did someone say ‘pure evil’? There is also a gimmicky ‘Stealth mode’ activating it simply dims the ambient lighting, come on Jaguar you can do much better.
Jag’s signature rotary shifter has been replaced with a traditional stick. Keeping in sync with everything around, it is leaner and sexier.
With a flick of a switch the soft top opens, it takes 12 seconds to be precise for the mechanical orchestra to vanish the roof at speeds upto 50 km/hr. There is some wind noise but it is not problematic, although top down is definitely the way to enjoy the F-Type.
The three-spoke leather clad steering is perfectly sized, the fancy bronzed paddles at the back are a tad larger than competition and feel great.
Cabin tech includes audio / video playback, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, GPS (the module was not installed in our test unit), reverse camera, park assist and a Meridian sound system with over a dozen speakers. Putting you in control of the system is a 8 inch touchscreen, though not very intuitive, it does get the job done.
Storage has never been the strong point for any performance cars and with the stowed top, battery and washer fluid tank in the F-Type’s trunk, space is limited for perhaps a duffle bag. But then again your butler can follow you with the luggage in the Range Rover.
Driving and handling –
Clean, sophisticated and luxurious or should I say quintessentially British is what the car is, but that is until you turn the engine on, after which it is nothing short of obnoxiously loud. It all begins with a small orange button in the cabin which shines with a soft red blinking light depicting the heartbeat. Press it and the humble button brings to life 495 supercharged horses with a ferocious roar, loud enough to wake half the neighbourhood, after which it settles down to a throaty idle. It’s more like a monster breathing right behind you..
Jaguar offers the car in three variants the F-Type, F-Type S and the F-Type V8S. The first two are powered by a 3 liter supercharged V6 churning out 340 and 380 HP respectively. Our tester the V8S is a 5 liter supercharged V8 which spurts out 495hp and 460 pound feet of torque to the rear wheels. The engine is mated with a 8 speed automatic gearbox manufactured by the folks at ZF, they make some seriously fast transmissions for everyone from Bentley to Maserati to Rolls Royce. This single clutch is phenomenal and easily convincing for a dual clutch automatic. It’s extremely fluidic and shifts without delays, use the paddleshifters and it calls up the right gears with revs perfectly matching the downshifts. Speaking of paddles you would be using them a lot just to downshift a gear or two and hear the loud snarls and pops,
The V8 provides a pull at every gear at any speed.
So how fast is she? Using launch control we were able to go from a standstill to 100 km/hr in 4.45 seconds. Complementing this brutal acceleration is the exhaust note, it is simply brilliant, a big kudos to the engineers at Jaguar. At full throttle she lets out a primal and throaty sound which is nothing short of addictive and mesmerizing. The crackles, pops and the booms even make deceleration fun. The thunderous sound is pure music to a motorhead, it is the best factory exhaust system I have ever head. But we wanted more, and which better place to drive it hard than in a tunnel of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. As she ripped through the concrete, she left a roar, as the amplified roar echoed I could see the motorists twisting their necks, quickly rolling down their windows to enjoy the F-Type with me. A truly priceless feeling.
The F-Type is the best automotive orchestra available at anyone’s right foot.
There is a bronze toggle with a checkered flag on the center console which switches the car to dynamic mode or should I say angry mode. The fiercely loud exhaust gets ever louder, the steering becomes heavier, the dampers harden and the eight speed automatic shifts even faster to match the insane speeds. Combine all these elements with a 50:50 weight distribution, a V8 spitting fire to the rear wheels and you have an extremely responsive machine that commands you to push it to the limits. It’s a pity Configurable Dynamics are not a standard with a performance car like the F-Type V8S, adding that costs an extra 1.2 lacs.
On the right of the bronze toggle is an Eco button too, yes you read it right. It does not change the engine or throttle dynamics but just activates and intelligent start / stop system which Jag claims saves upto 5% fuel.
The F-Type is also an extremely smart car, there are a host of technologies working in tandem to make your ride a pleasant and even an easy one. The Active dynamic damping places a host of sensors around the car which monitor the road induced body motion 100 times a second and steering input 500 times a second and adjusts each damper accordingly. The result – a firm but comfortable ride even on a jungle that is Mumbai’s roads. Then there is the 8 speed transmission which along with the onboard computer uses a series of algorithms and sensors to make it easier for you to tame this beast. It recognizes when the driver is making rapid throttle adjustments and holds on the gear shifts in anticipation of the next move. It knows when you are in a tight corner and holds onto the correct gear when exiting a bend. Lastly there is the Electronic active differential which adjusts torque to each of the rear wheels for optimum power delivery and maximum traction.
It’s pretty, quick and clever. the F-Type makes you a better driver than you are.
The ride is firm but yet comfortable, it’s easy to drive around in the city. The adaptive dampers do a fine job of absorbing the little hurdles that the city roads throw at it, any bump marginally large and it will register in the cabin. On the highway the suspension becomes extremely stiff, but thankfully not back breaking. Remarkably, even with a low ground clearance the car’s bottom was unscathed when maneuvering even over the city’s geometric and illegal speed breakers.
At 1615 kgs the F-Type V8S effectively wears it weight with negligible body roll and dive. It is an excellently damped vehicle and offers a very stable ride. Throw it into a hard corner and you would be surprised of how well it responds. As fast, she is thirsty too, press on the throttle hard and the kitty laps a liter of fuel every 2 – 2.5 kms and one every 4 – 5 kms when cruising.
The hydraulic power steering is extremely responsive, and unlike the BMW’s and Audi’s of the world it is a bit stiff. Nonetheless the steering gives a classic sports car feel, plenty of feedback and keeps you in total control. This combined with a shorter wheel base provides excellent maneuverability. The brakes pack a bite and bring the 1.6 tonne car to a comfortable stop from any law challenging speeds you might be galloping on.
The attention –
Performance cars are attention magnets and Mumbai is no stranger to them. Even for a passing Italian, enthusiasts would rush out their camera phones while crowds would pause with what they are doing to catch a closer glimpse of the racing horse or the raging bull. But things are not this simple when a Jaguar F-Type makes an appearance, the mere sight let alone the symphonious roar of the V8 takes their enthusiasm to a whole different level. We don’t even remember how many times we were captured on camera phones, or how many times our hearts skipped a beat when bikers and even cars came close to us in a stop light just to see what’s inside this beautiful piece of aluminium. You ask traffic cops for directions and even they get inquisitive and throw in a set of questions about the car. Bullet riders baffled with an engine’s roar that makes their bike sound like a radio on low battery give you a huge thumbs up.
Not only the Germans even the Italians should be concerned about the F-Type.
Of all the drama there was one incident which really stands out – Enroute on the curvy roads to Amby valley a trio of biker enthusiasts in their Duke’s and Benelli’s overtook us and to our amazement lined up on a straight road ahead with their hand on their ears. And boy, we did not disappoint them, two gears were downshifted and the pedal pushed hard to release the sound they had been waiting for.
I must admit it does take some time to get used to the attention this car gets. And basking in it’s glory left a huge grin on our faces, but it was not only us, anyone who saw it after being amazed was jovial. And why not, the curves, the lines, the extended nose, the tapering waist line, the muscular stance, the cracking noise, the F-Type is truly a thing of beauty.
A ride in the Jaguar F-Type is also a crash course in being a celebrity.
Also consider – Porsche 911 Cabriolet and Audi R8 Spyder
Jaguar and a host of British villains tell us that ‘It’s good to be bad’. But it’s not about being good or bad or evil. Spend some time with the F-Type V8S on an empty road and it will leave you with a slurry of emotions, and change your perceptions. All of a sudden long straight roads will feel shorter, 140 or 180 km/hour just will end up being a number, your ears and mind will be swooned onto the visceral crackle of the engine, and your eyes won’t get tired of seeing the jumpy speedometer or gazing at the curves and lines of the beauty that is the F-Type. This is what the car does to you, it attacks all your senses and makes you fall madly in love with it. It has it all – a beautiful design, meticulous attention to detail and an outstanding performance you just want to have the car. After the E Type it might have taken some time, but Jaguar, its good to have you back.
|Engine||8 cylinder, 5 liter supercharged|
|Torque||625nM at 2500 – 5500rpm|
|Power||495bhp at 6500 RPM|
|Transmission||8 speed, ZF single clutch automatic transmission|
|City||4.5 kms / liter|
|Highway||2.5 kms / liter|
|0 to 100 kmph||4.45 seconds using launch control|
|Pricing||2.4 crores (On road - Mumbai)|