Motoring review: First drive - Jaguar F-Type S

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Few new cars have carried such a crippling burden of expectation

Price: From £67,520 (F-Type range from £58,520)

Engine capacity: 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol

Power output (PS @ rpm): 380 @ 6,500

Top speed (mph): 171

0-60 (mph): 4.6 seconds

Fuel economy (mpg): 31.0

CO2 emissions (g/km): 213

Few new cars have carried such a crippling burden of expectation as the F-Type roadster. There’s the name, for a start; it immediately invites comparisons with Jaguar’s greatest ever hit, the 1961 E-Type, which wasn’t directly replaced when production ended in 1974.

The message is clear: the F-Type is supposed to represent nothing less than the company’s return to the business of making sports cars after a gap of 39 years. And there’s something else, too. The F-Type is only expected to sell in small numbers but it has to play the leading role in defining what Jaguar is all about. If the F-Type hits the mark, thousands of buyers will feel better about buying an XF, an XJ or one of the new Jag models in the pipeline. But if it doesn’t generate the right sort of magic, it will have failed, even if it meets its sales targets.

Jaguar has also raised the stakes by stoking interest in the F-Type to fever pitch with an almost two-year extended tease of a launch that kicked off with the unveiling of the C-X16 concept car at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. At least we’ve known from the start that the F-Type is a stunning looker, an outstanding effort, which, like other recent models prepared under the leadership of Jaguar design chief Ian Callum, manages to capture the grace and power of past Jags without the slightest hint of retro.

Now, I am pleased to say, we have at last had the chance to drive the F-Type and can finally say that it really is as good as it looks. In particular, it sounds as good as it looks; as soon as you press the starter button, you are rewarded with one of the most appealingly fruity and characterful engine notes to be found on any modern car. Subjectively, it’s pretty loud, an impression that’s apparently created partly by making other noises the car produces quieter. Strictly speaking, the F-Type offers a choice of soundtracks, rather than one, because each of the three engines on offer – two 3.0-litre V6s and a 5.0-litre V8, all supercharged – has its own distinctive aural character, but they all sound great.

Each of the three engines provides pretty decent shove as well. If you came to the base 340 PS V6 after trying the more powerful 380 PS version or the 495 PS V8, you might feel slightly short-changed but by any normal standards, they’re all very quick indeed. One area of pre-launch doubt, Jaguar’s decision to offer the F-Type only with an automatic transmission, is banished once you experience the eight-speeder’s super-quick sporty paddle shifting. In terms of the rest of its on-road behaviour, the F-Type is certainly a proper sports car, taking up a nice sweet-spot somewhere between Jaguar’s own softer XK roadster and hard-core alternatives such as Porsche’s 911. Hopes that it would be priced against cars such as the Porsche Boxster or BMW Z4 turned out to be incorrect, but when you drive the F-Type, you immediately understand that it belongs in a higher bracket with a price to match – although it’s still usefully cheaper than a 911.

In short, the F-Type is a triumph. One thing it isn’t, though, is a super-car to take on much pricier Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Bugattis and the rest. Jaguar did have plans in that direction with its fascinating but now cancelled C-X75 project; perhaps the success of the F-Type will give the company the courage to have another go.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Mystery man: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in '‘Gone Girl'
films... by the director David Fincher
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
stoptober... when the patch, gum and cold turkey had all faied
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
people
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Welsh Year 6 Teacher required in Barry

    £100 - £110 per day + Plus travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job:...

    Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

    £40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    Welsh Teacher Year 2 required in Caerphilly

    £100 - £105 per day + plus Travel Scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job:...

    Year 4 Teacher

    £100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to work in ...

    Day In a Page

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?