To appreciate the beauty of the Jaguar F-Type, you don’t need to be a gearhead; all you need is a pulse. This is the kind of car that draws attention everywhere it goes – the kind of car that says, “I ate a Prius for breakfast.” What’s even better is everyone can see you as you prowl the streets in your F-Type because it’s a convertible too. You better start hitting the gym so you look as sexy as it does.
The first question that comes to mind when you see a dramatic sports car such as this is, what’s under the bonnet? There are three petrol engine options available to broadcast through the exhaust pipes; the entry level 3.0-litre V6 rated at 340PS and 450Nm of torque, the 380PS 3.0-litre V6 and the top of the line 495PS V8 engine. None of the options are slouches; the 340PS V6 is good for a 0-60 time of 5.1s and a top speed of 161mph, the 380PS V6 gets to 60mph in just 4.8s on the way to 171mph, and the V8 tears up the tarmac to 60mph in just 4.2s while rocketing toward 186mph.
The F-Type’s top can be lowered in just 12s at speeds of up to 30mph, giving you the ability to smirk in the face of onlookers in no time flat. Once the top is down you will hear the soundtrack of Jaguars unique active exhaust system – no stereo required. The Jag’s weight distribution is nearly 50:50 which is reflected in the exceptional handling. The F-Type also has a remarkably low centre of gravity to help it stay put. Despite the squat ride height, climbing in and out won’t leave you uttering curse words thanks to the well-designed door sills. The Jaguar only seats two, so you better decide now which of your contacts would look best in the passenger seat. Anyone with long, flowing blonde hair is a shoe in with the top down. You’ll have to wait until your destination before getting lovey-dovey though – the sweeping centre console separates the bucket sets, putting an end to any in-car romance.
You don’t need to have a money tree in order to purchase an F-Type, but you will need a pretty healthy income. Pricing starts at around £60,000 for the “cheapest” model and can climb all the way up to £80,000 for the top of the line V8. That makes the F-Type a little more costly than a Boxster but less than a 911, if you were wondering. Even £60,000 isn’t chump change, so it’s rather obnoxious that Jaguar charges extra for accoutrements that are usually standard on high end vehicles such as rain sensing wipers, keyless entry, heated seats and a wind deflector. In an attempt to compensate for these missing trimmings, Jaguar has thrown in the auto slush box, electric roof, 18″ alloy wheels, sports suspension, Bi-function HID Xenon headlamps, sports seats with electric controls, a leather-trimmed paddleshift steering wheel, Bluetooth ‘phone compatibility and a 6-speaker 180W sound system with DAB digital radio and USB, Aux-in and iPod connectivity. Yeah, we know. Some of that stuff comes standard on your £10,000 supermini.
One item you certainly don’t want to skimp on is the switchable Active Sports Exhaust. It does tag an extra £1,600 on to your bill but hey, you didn’t buy a Jag to count every pound, right? If you’re an audiophile, you could consider upgrading to the Meridian stereo system, but with an exhaust not as sweet as the F-Type’s, that just isn’t logical
The collection of safety equipment on board will keep you from emulating a crash test dummy, should you ever need it. This assortment of devices includes a Smart airbags system, electronic assistance for traction and braking and an Electronic Stability Control system with a ‘Trac’ mode
How much does it cost to keep one of these big cats domesticated? Well, mileage is pretty decent for a sports car; the 340PS V6 model achieves 31.4mpg on the combined cycle while manufacturing 209g/km of CO2. If you opt for the 380PS V6S model you won’t be spending your life savings at the pump either, as it delivers 31mpg and 213g/km. Even the biggest of the big cats – the V8S F-TYPE with 495PS – returns a respectable 25.5mpg and 259g/km. Of course, when you get to flogging the F-Type in the real world, you will likely be hard pressed to achieve anywhere near the advertised numbers.
You can crunch the numbers to decide whether the F-Type is a sensible buy, but then you would be defeating the purpose. This is not the car for people who fasten the top button on their collars and think the early bird special is a night out on the town. This is a car for those who skydive from Cessnas – or at least have enough money to convince you they do. In other words, if you want to look sexy and go fast, then you may want to consider putting an F-Type in your garage.
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