The V8-powered Jaguar F-Type is the glamour model, but could the lighter, more nimble supercharged V6 be a case of less-is-more?
Base price: $140,000.
Powertrain and performance: 3.0-litre supercharged petrol V6, 280kW/460Nm, 8-speed automatic, rear-drive, Combined economy 9.1 litres per 100km, 0-100km/h 4.9 seconds.
Vital statistics: 4470mm long, 1308mm high, wheelbase 2622mm, luggage capacity 196 litres, fuel tank 70 litres, 19-inch alloy wheels on 255/35 front and 295/30 rear tyres.
We like: Still sounds great, better steering and handling than V8 versions.
We don’t like: Interior doesn’t live up to high style of exterior, reversing camera should be standard.
How it rates: 9/10
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW? Jaguar F-Type variants just seem to keep coming. We’ve heard a lot about the V8 supercharged versions and we’ve driven the entry-level V6 convertible, but here’s another: the coupe S, with a more powerful version of the V6 supercharged engine. It makes 280kW, compared with the 250kW of the entry-level car.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? The supercharged V6 still sounds outrageous, partly because that’s how Jaguar does things with the F-type, but also because our test car had the optional $750 switchable sports exhaust. Thus equipped, you could almost mistake it for the V8 model – at least until you heard the eight-pot version in full song.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox is as quick-shifting as ever and the chassis is arguably superior to the V8 version, because it’s carrying less weight up front. The steering feels a bit sweeter and the car turns into corners more precisely than the V8 models. Spend another $850 and you can even add a configurable dynamics package, as per the flagship V8 R coupe.
IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH? If there’s a weak point of the F-Type, it’s the cabin. The driving position is great and the environment is intimate, but the styling is a bit so-so and there are some slightly naff touches, such as the bronze gearshift paddles – allegedly inspired by the cockpit of a fighter jet.
The infotainment system is pretty clunky as well. You get a touch screen and all the functionality you’d want, but the system is slow to respond and the graphics are not attractive.
There’s a new Jaguar system on the way called InControl, which will make its debut on the XE small sedan next year. It’s a brilliant setup with quick responses and a sharp colour display; let’s hope it’s added to the F-Type as soon as possible.
The lack of a reversing camera seems odd in a $140k car with poor rear visibility; you have to pay an extra $1000 for that, but we’d suggest it’s a must-have.
SHOULD I BUY ONE? The head says yes, because the V6 S still sounds great, it has more manageable performance than the heart-stopping V8 versions and the handling is more agile because it’s lighter. Consult the heart and it still beats to the tune of a V8 engine, though.
As an aside, there are even more F-Type models to come in 2015. Jaguar has just announced that it will offer the flagship V8 R version engine in the convertible (previously it was a coupe-only proposition), as well as adding an all-wheel drive option to those V8 R cars. Call it a tyre preservation programme.
There will also be a six-speed manual-gearbox option for the V6 models, which is an intriguing move from a company that originally claimed its quick-shifting eight-speed automatic negated the need for a three-pedal version.
Given the V6 S coupe’s strong performance and more nimble handling, that’ll be a fascinating one to try.
- Air conditioning: Dual climate
- Audio: CD, iPod compatible
- Automatic lights/wipers: Yes/yes
- Blind spot warning: $950
- Bluetooth: Yes
- Cruise control: Yes
- Driver footrest: Yes
- Gas discharge headlights: Bi-xenon
- Head-up display: No
- Heated/ventilated seats: Yes/No
- Keyless entry/start: Yes/Yes
- Lane guidance: No
- Leather upholstery: Yes
- Parking radar: Rear
- Power boot or tailgate: No
- Power seat adjustment/memory: Yes/Yes
- Remote audio controls: Yes
- Satellite navigation: Yes
- Seat height adjustment: Yes
- Self-parking technology: No
- Steering reach adjustment: Yes
- Stop-start: Yes
- Trip computer: Yes
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