We get our first taste of the Jaguar F-Type V6S
The Jaguar F-Type is a hard car to approach subjectively. You only have to look at it to realise that it is one of those cars that doesn’t have to be brilliant to be brilliant. If that makes any sense at all? Difficulty also lies in the fact that so many journalists and bloggers have driven the car and raved about it. This raises my exectations somewhat. Regardless I’ll try and look at the F-type with fresh eyes.
So I’ve got the keys in my hand and roughly 40 minutes to get a taste of the V6S version of the F-Type. The first thing I notice is how compact the car is for a Jaguar. I’ve been face to face with the F-Type at least five times over the last year and every time I think the same thing. Yes, if you park it next to a Boxster then you can see it isn’t really very small at all but the proportions are almost perfect. If you’ve ever driven an XK then you’ll know what I mean by how compact it is. This does cause issues though but we’ll come back to those later.
As I blip the keyless fob, a couple of small handles pop out of the doors allowing access to the compact cabin. As you slide inside you get the imediate feeling that the car is aimed at the driver. The passenger isn’t left out though as both seats are both cosseting and comfortable. Everything is as sumptuous as you would expect from a Jaguar. The quality is superb, not as expertly engineered as an Audi but the Jaguar feels more like a place you’d want to spend a lot of time. I especially like the bronze effect on the starter button and the gear paddles.
The weather was somewhat overcast on the day I drove the F-Type but dry enough to get the roof down. With the hood neatly stowed away I proded the starter button and the supercharged V6 errupted into life settling to a subtle burble. I imediately engaged the active exhausts via a button on the centre console. At rest the difference is minimul but under accelaration the sound is immense and the noise on the overrun is pure music. I found myself constantly accelerating hard in second gear and then backing off just to hear the popping and crackling from the twin rear pipes. Slightly childish but so worth it.
The V6 S is billed as the best option in the F-Type (you can get a lower powered V6 or a supercharged V8) and I can see why. It has plenty of power but not so much that it overwhelms the experience. Power comes in a smooth, linear fashion and is always on tap. I never felt like I was going to end up facing the wrong way despite the greasy conditions. That is not to say that it isn’t fast though, it is fast, very fast. I’d need a bit more time with the car to get a better feel for the brakes but they felt like they had more than enough stopping power.
Once I reached the section of our route with some twisty bits the F-Type showed its full character. Up until this point it had been compliant and comfortable, a real cruiser. In the corners it impressed. Plenty of grip and accurate steering made for enjoyable progress. There is a slight lack of feel from the wheel but that isn’t uncommon these days. It makes a lot of sense this car. 90% of the time owners will want comfort and the image that this car brings but every now and then they may want to have a blast in the country. When they do they will centainly enjoy what the F-Type has to offer. It isn’t as dynamic as a Porsche but has far more character than anything from Audi or BMW. I could imagine living with this car everyday, almost…
The only complaint I have comes from the point of practicality. Now I know this website is about performance cars but I have to view this car from the intended customers point of view. Some people won’t care but the fact that the boot is so small does dent the appeal of the car as a daily driver. Also with the roof down the cabin is a wonderful place to be but with it up it can feel slightly claustrophobic. These are really quite small issues overall though. The looks, the sound and the performance are all right on point and best of all it is British. Well done Jaguar, the F-Type lives up to the hype.