Test Drive: The New Jaguar F-Type
Ian Lamming enjoys a metaphorical breath of fresh air in Jaguar’s latest F-Type
THE ice caps are going to have to look after themselves, I’m done with trying to save the planet, well at least for a week.
A string of electrics have left me frustrated, not so much with the cars, but the lack of infrastructure, the constant charging and reliability issues (of the chargers not the vehicles themselves).
Not a problem this week as it marks a welcome return to the internal combustion engine in spectacular fashion.
Eight cylinders, 5.0 litres and 450PS of lustiness – oh yeah, leave your electric in the garage and remember what motoring used to be like. Hello Jaguar F-Type.
While EVs also feature quirky futuristic looks this quintessential sports car boats fantastic lines, stunning proportions and is a work of art, penned by someone who actually loves cars.
It is just so black that it could be a rent in the space time continuum; body-coloured front splitter in black, gloss black grille surround, gloss black side vents, body-coloured side sills in black, of course, gloss black side window surround, black rear venturi, gloss black rear valance, black Jaguar script, black F-Type badge, black engine badging, black side vent leaper. ‘Black’ 20in wheels, though they are listed as dark grey.
Black enough for you? No? Well, step inside. Black trim, black leather, black fascia. Ooh, hang on, there’s a bit of silver on the black steering wheel, how radical.
Black, dark, but never dingy, thanks to a glorious panoramic sunroof and surprisingly generous windows. Light on dark, the perfect contrast; it’s lovely.
People look and stare – they haven’t done that for a while – and it feels good, even better when you know the observers. One dropped his window at the traffic lights and said he had been following me through town. “Gorgeous,” he tells me. “Even more gorgeous with you at the wheel.” I love that man, I love this Jaguar.
Press the starter button and the big cat roars into life. Strangely, after driving all these instantaneously responding electrics, with their hair-trigger throttles, initial responses feel muted so you step harder on the pedal. Then whoosh! The power rushes in, the back end steps out a smidgen and you are off feeling alive.
Nothing to worry about, nothing dangerous and the all-wheel-drive and electronic gizmos would never let things slide out of control, but the Jaguar makes you feel exhilarated and interested in driving again.
Now, it’s an automatic but it has paddles too and the driver in you is never going to let a journey go by without playing with them to whiz up and down the box F1-style, to hold a certain gear or get the roar of the over-run when slowing down.
It goes without saying that the F-Type is fast – 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds, top speed 177mph, on the track, of course – but it is rapid in real-life situations. Getting off the mark, rapid; doing safe overtakes, rapid; climbing hills, rapid. It is all effortless too so you never tire of being behind the wheel. It sounds good, the V8 magic filtering through without being too obtrusive. If you want more noise there is a little button on the transmission tunnel sporting the moniker of exhaust pipes. Press that and the aural quality increases.
I never thought I’d say it of an F-Type but it feels retro, but in a very good way. It feels like a proper sports car with dials, knobs and buttons, superb bucket seats and sporty dynamics. The ride is surprisingly forgiving and handling is brilliant, steering responses sharp, with bags of feel coming through the chassis into the seat of your pants. It has the swipey touchscreen, which modern car wouldn’t, but it is easy to use and never annoys because primary functions are still controlled by knobs, buttons and switches, which suits this particular Luddite just fine.
I know what you are thinking. Mid-life crisis? Selfish man? Destroyer of the planet? Perhaps, but only a bit as amazingly the F-Type will return almost 30mpg, which is very welcome as we continue to be held to ransom by the oiligarchs.
So there’s not too much guilt involved in driving the F-Type because I have fallen under its spell and I promise to plant a tree when it’s gone.
Model: Jaguar F-Type R-Dynamic
Engine: 5.0 litre, V8 Supercharged AWD
Drivetrain: eight-speed auto
Top speed: 177mph
0-60mph: 4.4 secs
Miles per gallon: 29.6
CO2 (g/km): 259
Price £83,695 with options, £72,980 without