8

10

Model

V8 S Convertible

Price

$201,945

The Numbers

5000cc, supercharged V8, RWD, 364kW, 625Nm, 11.1L/100km, 0–100km/h in 4.3secs, 300km/h, 1665kg

The Topgear Verdict

Looks good, sounds good, and is even easy to drive fast. Jaguar’s greatest sports car yet – and at home on Aussie roads.

2013 Jaguar F-Type V8 S Convertible

It’s quite uncommon to burst out laughing when first driving a car. Unless you’re driving a Great Wall and glimpse your reflection in a shop window, but that won’t be happy laughing. That will be sad laughing.

During our first Aussie kilometre in the V8 version of Jaguar’s new F-Type, we were cackling like the earth’s atmosphere had turned to nitrous oxide. There’s a button on the centre console, and while it boasts a little white cartoon motif of some twin exhaust tailpipes, it should actually show a face grimaced in laughter.

Once pressed, a valve deflects delicious exhaust noises around blasphemous things like mufflers to incite cheek-bruising giggles as if tickling fingers have sprouted from the seat’s side bolsters.

The exhaust is no longer connected to an engine. Instead, it’s plumbed to an Alice in Wonderland-sized chamber where a sabre-toothed tiger, suffering terrible laryngitis, bellows for help through a drainpipe, attempting to be heard over a racket of old Spitfire engines and firecrackers.

In fact, the F-Type’s exhaust note sounds so hilariously good, you’ll want to have the roof welded permanently in the down position. You’ll also want to take up residence in a tunnel.

We drove through many tunnels, with the roof down, in first gear and with a greedy accelerator foot, while testing the F-Type on Aussie roads for the first time.

The best bit about the F-Type is that, provided you’re on a smooth stretch of bitumen (which can be a tricky thing to find in Australia), it’s not that scary to drive fast like some other sports cars of its ilk. It suits the less confident driver – there’s abundant grip but you don’t feel scared to visit the limits, and gently exceed them, where the F-Type will gently push into understeer. Or, if you’re feeling a little bit more provocative, you can unsettle its bum – but in a playful way, not a scary way.

The F-Type dispenses with the trend towards electric steering, but while it uses the super-sharp old-school hydraulic type, it could have more feel for a sports car. Not that you’ll notice if you order up a main course of throttle. The V8 is awesomely fast, hitting 100 in 4.3 seconds, on its way to 300km/h. (The base V6 does it in 5.3secs.)

Three models are coming to Australia. The base 250kW, supercharged V6 kicks off at $138,645. The next model up, the S, has the same engine but tuned to 280kW, and costs $171,045. Sitting above that is the halo model, the V8 S, with a 364kW supercharged V8, yours for $202,945. All come with an eight-speed auto, but expect those gear-changing muscles in your left arm to atrophy – there aren’t any manuals.

If you end up going for the V8 version, make sure you tick the $260 box that says “Switchable Active Sports Exhaust”. Trust us.

Reviewed by: Dylan Campbell

Driven: September 12, 2013