TEST DRIVE | 2014 Jaguar F-Type S
I’ve been looking forward to driving the eagerly anticipated F-Type for a long time now.
After Jonathon and I extensively test drove the new Porsche 911 at Silverstone in April, I see this new Jaguar as a genuine alternative to the German icon.
Buyers can choose from three engines: 335bhp and 375bhp V6s and a monstrous 488bhp V8. All petrol of course. There’s roughly a £10,000 price gap between each model and I tested the midrange supercharged 3.0-litre V6 which was fun to drive, but one day you’ll pull up next to someone in the V8 and realise you’ve made a mistake.
Even the ‘base’ model can accelerate to 60mph in 5.0 seconds though so it’s certainly no slouch. The 8-speed automatic gearbox as fitted in the latest Range Rover is reliable, smooth and works well with this engine and it can become aggressive when you override it using the steering wheel-mounted paddles.
The interior is one of the classiest, most opulent I’ve seen on a car and lots of the interior components are also from the latest Range Rover, so they are robust and they work fine in the Range Rover so I can’t imagine them going wrong any time soon.
Seating position is perfect – with the seatback upright, you feel as though you’re in a low-slung track car with the controls surrounding you.
Standard equipment is not bad: it includes sports exhaust system and high performance braking kit, but unusually features such as automatic lights/wipers and electric door mirrors are extras.
If going on holiday, I’d advise to pack light. The boot space is small and rather unusually shaped which is a shame.
The ride quality is fairly refined – it sometimes feels as though you are driving a big GT car but when you hit the motorway it becomes slightly unsettled; however it’s never uncomfortable.
The soft top (which retracts in just 12 seconds and can be done at up to 30mph) does a good job of keeping the noise out when on the move and a wind deflector keeps your hair in place when the roof is down.
Stability control, emergency brake assist and four airbags are fitted to help keep occupants safe, while the bonnet pops up in the event of a collision with a pedestrian to cushion the impact. Obviously a soft roofed car will never be completely secure, but the F-type has deadlocks, a good alarm and an engine immobiliser.
If I owned one I’d have the roof down all year round! The deep burbling exhaust note from the big centre-mounted twin pipes is addictive – and this is ‘only’ the V6 variant. Having also heard the snap, crackle and pops from the V8 variant’s quad pipes at full chat, I can assure you it is to die for. Second only to a Maserati Granturismo in my opinion.
Finishing 1st in the 2012 J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey, Jaguar is certainly back in the game especially when it comes to the sports car sector, and any reliability concerns from previous years should be near enough gone.
For its sheer looks, fun and freshness I’d certainly consider one over any German rival.