Jaguar F-Type - First Ride

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

How much can you tell about a car by sitting in its passenger seat? Not as much as by driving it of course, but the opportunity to take a seat in Jaguar’s new F-Type does provide some early indications of what the most eagerly awaited car of 2013 will be like on the road when it goes on sale this spring.

Passenger rides are a well-established tool that PR departments use to garner more coverage before a new car is given to journalists for testing. The process doesn’t really give a detailed impression of how a car will perform, but it does give an indication and the chance to see Jaguar’s new two-seater convertible being thrown around by Tim Clarke, the firm’s chief power-train engineer, is simply too good to turn down.

Since its launch at the Paris motor show last year the F-Type hasn't been short of publicity, but in the metal and on Welsh roads with a good coating mud, it looks fantastic. It’s a car Jaguar’s design chief Ian Callum admits he’s wanted to design since he was a boy. And like all the best car designs it could be illustrated with one sleek line from its raised rear and spoiler (which pops up at speed) to its flared wheel arches and aggressive front end. Inside there’s not a touch of wood in sight and just the right combination of sharp styling and clever detailing, such as pop-up heaters that emerge when the roof is down.

It’s a pretty car then, but how does it perform on the road? Again it’s hard to tell from the passenger seat, but Clarke is able to push it around with poise and take it to the limits of traction on slippery roads without it misbehaving. It follows the classic rear-wheel drive and front engine sports-car formula and prices will start at £58,500 in April. It will have a three-strong engine line-up; two V6s and a V8. The entry-level engine will offer 335bhp, give a 0-62mph time of 5.3 seconds and hit a limited top speed of 161mph, while the more powerful V8 engine in the S specification will produce 488bhp to hit 62mph in 4.5 seconds before topping out at a speed of 186mph.

These are all just number though, says Clarke explaining that 0-62 mph times have become almost meaningless in modern performance cars. “It’s all about how you deploy that power,” he adds as he squirts the V6 S we’re in out of a damp Welsh bend. And as far as I can tell from the passenger seat that power is laid down well and with precision. The ride is firm as a sports car should be, but it isn't overly tough or unforgiving. It seems that the engineers at Jaguar haven’t fallen for the trap of tuning it for Nürburgring – the demanding German road circuit often used by sports car manufacturers – but have instead carried out much of the development work on the 'real' roads of north Wales. Clarke and I follow the route of the so-called Evo Triangle – a road loop made famous by the motoring magazine of the same name. They are challenging roads with tight bends, hairpins and fast straights and the F-Type acquits itself well in both the V6 and V8 form. We won’t know for sure until getting behind the wheel, but by the sweet note of the smaller engine it sounds like the V6 S will offer the ideal blend of power and noise in the F-Type engine range.

I finish up with Jaguar’s chief engineer Mike Cross to my right for a final B-Road blast. “It’s important that a car drives like it looks,” he says. The F-Type certainly looks (and sounds) the part and by early indications it feels like it will handle and ride well. Beyond that it’s hard to give a full impression from the passenger seat, but watch this space to find out more in April and see if the hype really is to be believed.

Voices
Numbers of complaints about unwanted calls have trebled in just six months
voices
News
people
Arts & Entertainment
Picture of innocence: Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington in ‘Derek’
tvReview: The insights of Ricky Gervais's sweet and kind character call to mind Karl Pilkington's faux-naïf podcast observations
Life & Style
Looking familiar: The global biometrics industry is expected to grow to $20bn by 2020
tech
VIDEO
News
Higher expectations: European economies are growing but the recovery remains weak
newsThe eurozone crisis has tipped many into despair and extremism - this radically altered landscape calls for a new kind of politics, argues economist Philippe Legrain
Arts & Entertainment
Tangled up in blue: Singer-songwriter Judith Owen
musicAnd how husband Harry Shearer - of Spinal Tap and The Simpsons fame - helped her music flourish
Sport
Karim Benzema celebrates scoring the opening goal
sportReal Madrid 1 Bayern Munich 0: Germans will need their legendary self-belief to rescue Champions League tie in second leg
Arts & Entertainment
Paul Weller: 'I am a big supporter of independent record stores but the greedy touts making a fast buck off genuine fans is disgusting'
music
Arts & Entertainment
William Shakespeare's influence on English culture is still strongly felt today, from his plays on stage to words we use everyday
arts
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes has claimed supporters understand the need to look at
sportScot thanks club staff and fans, but gives no specific mention of players
News
Foster and Hedison have reportedly been dating since last summer
peopleOscar-winner said to be 'totally in love' with Alexandra Hedison
News
Strange 'quack' noises could be undersea chatter of Minke whales
science
News
weird news... and film it, obviously
Life & Style
Balancing act: City workers at the launch of Cityfathers
lifeThe organisation is the brainchild of Louisa Symington-Mills who set up Citymothers in 2012 - a group boasting more than 3,000 members
Arts & Entertainment
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Senior Construction Solicitor – Surrey

    Excellent Salary Package: Austen Lloyd: This is a rare high level opportunity ...

    Construction Solicitor NQ+ Manchester

    Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: This is an excellent opportunity within...

    Corporate Finance

    £80000 - £120000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: US QUALI...

    Banking / Finance Associate - City

    Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: Banking / Finance Associate - We have an exce...

    Day In a Page

    Migrants in Britain a decade on: The Poles who brought prosperity

    Migrants in Britain a decade on

    The Poles who brought prosperity
    Philippe Legrain: 'The eurozone crisis has tipped many into disillusionment, despair and extremism - we need a European Spring'

    Philippe Legrain: 'We need a European Spring'

    The eurozone crisis has tipped many into disillusionment, despair and extremism - this radically altered landscape calls for a new kind of politics, argues the economist
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A moment of glory on the Western Front for the soldiers of the Raj

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A moment of glory on the Western Front for the soldiers of the Raj
    Judith Owen reveals how husband Harry Shearer - star of This Is Spinal Tap and The Simpsons - helped her music flourish

    Judith Owen: 'How my husband helped my music flourish'

    Her mother's suicide and father's cancer also informed the singer-songwriter's new album, says Pierre Perrone
    The online lifeline: How a housing association's remarkable educational initiative gave hope to tenant battling long-term illness and depression

    Online lifeline: Housing association's educational initiative

    South Yorkshire Housing Association's free training courses gave hope to tenant battling long-term illness and depression
    Face-recognition software: Is this the end of anonymity for all of us?

    Face-recognition software: The end of anonymity?

    The software is already used for military surveillance, by police to identify suspects - and on Facebook
    Train Kick Selfie Guy is set to scoop up to $250,000 thanks to his viral video - so how can you cash in on your candid moments?

    Viral videos: Cashing in on candid moments

    Train Kick Selfie Guy Jared Frank could receive anything between $30,000 to $250,000 for his misfortune - and that's just his cut of advertising revenue from being viewed on YouTube
    The world's fastest elevators - 20 metres per second - are coming soon to China

    World's fastest elevators coming soon to China

    Whatever next? Simon Usborne finds out from Britain's highest authority on the subject
    Cityfathers tackles long-hours culture that causes men to miss out on seeing their children

    Cityfathers tackles long-hours culture

    The organisation is the brainchild of Louisa Symington-Mills, a chief operating officer who set up Citymothers in 2012 - a group that now boasts more than 3,000 members
    Ian Herbert: Manchester United broken so badly they need a big personality to carry out overhaul

    United broken so badly they need a big personality to carry out overhaul

    The size of the rebuild needed at Old Trafford is a task way beyond Ryan Giggs, says Ian Herbert
    Mark Schwarzer: Chelsea keeper aims to seize unlikely final chance

    Mark Schwarzer: Chelsea keeper aims to seize unlikely final chance

    The 41-year-old calmed his nerves to perform a classic 'Superman act' when he replaced Petr Cech in Madrid. One clean sheet later, he is now determined to become a club hero
    Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home

    It's not always fun in the sun: Moving abroad does not guarantee happiness

    Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home
    Migrants in Britain a decade on: They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire

    Migrants in Britain a decade on

    They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire
    Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

    Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

    The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?