Of modern day sports cars there are few that can make a driver get overly excited, excited to the extent of catching your breath. Of course, if you take away the stratospherically priced super cars such as Ferrari and McLaren you have the mainstays Porsche 911 and Chevy Corvette. But what other entry can invoke the excitement of driving something extraordinary without breaking into the $150-K mark? Obviously, We are not talking entry level sports cars here.
For many that car is the Jaguar F-TYPE. And, the ultimate iteration of that vehicle might be considered the R Convertible; a 550 horsepower supercharged V8 that is capable of setting your senses on edge at every turn. In fact, this automobile can begin to raise the hair on the back of your neck just by pushing the start button.
The fact of the matter here is Jaguar has made the F-TYPE available in a mixture of models so that if a driver wants to stay well under the $100 K mark, the F-TYPE is attainable. New additions include a manual Six-speed transmission available in a V-6 model and all-wheel drive available in the V8 powered coupe and convertible.
Between the V-6 and the V-8 version could be comparable to the difference between stereo and surround sound systems. Both have their following, both satisfy those loyalists and both are exceedingly different. Unless you are a full-tilt horsepower junkie the V-6 F-TYPE will satisfy nearly all your inner needs for speed. This is particularly true if you tick off the six-speed manual option.
This gear box has a smooth shifter and short throw that facilitates flawless gear selections. Jaguar engineers have given the gear changes just the right ratchet feel as the driver moves from first though sixth. During most of our time on the highway, wwe maintained higher revs with fourth and fifth gears because we like the feel of keeping control with the throttle and not so concerned with fuel economy. Which, seems to be the reason for a sixth or higher gearing as most engines barely get out of idle range in these higher gears.
Exhaust resonance is one of the most primal of automotive emotion producing aspects. Give a person who loves automobiles a great exhaust sound and you will be overwhelmed with accolades. While we are sure Jaguar engineers understand this basic knowledge they most certainly also know that designing an exhaust system that assists in producing power and performance will come with the correct exhaust symphony. As it does in the F-TYPE.
We admit we are of the effected. No matter if we were driving the coupe or convertible, the exhaust notes are evident. We will admit the convertible offers the most intimate experience. During our time with the V-8 convertible F-TYPE the top remained down and the eight-speed transmission in low gears with the engine winding up and down the rpm scale just to hear the warble and pop coming from the exhaust. The experience is elevated even more on the S models which are fit with electronically controlled bypass valves in the rear section of the exhaust that open under hard acceleration, effectively providing a free-flowing, straight-through exhaust. This in itself is worth the price of admission. You can keep your whisper quiet electric cars, thank you very much!
In true sports car concept, Jaguar designers gave the F-TYPE a long hood line, a passenger cabin set rearward for balance and a short rear overhang. These design elements are essential in keeping with the heritage of Jaguar design. Character lines or highlights are imperative to direct the eyes to these sharp lines of design. The sharp line over the front fenders draw the eye in, flowing rearward through the door ending just short of the rear wheel. Creating a “Z” like image, the rear fender highlight begins forward and curves gently to the rear deck. The vertical shark gill vents anchor the front-end and lead into the highlights. It all works and culminates in a fine image of the sports car.
Premium sports cars must also wrap its occupants in fine appointments, but they must be functional. While there are a few features that made me tilt my head quizzically they are ones that are expected of Jaguar.
Unique features begin before you slide behind the wheel. The hidden door handles automatically deploy from the doors when the car recognizes the key. It is an invitation to driver and passenger. The start/stop button invites activation. A center dash vent rises out of it resting place as the climate control is activated.
The entire Jaguar F-TYPE passenger compartment envelopes driver and passenger in a fighter jet-like cockpit, comfortable, secure and opulent. The F-TYPE not only wraps the driver and passenger is a most unique automotive experience it invokes pleasure to all who witnesses the car from afar and perhaps a bit of yearning.