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The Top Gear car review:Jaguar F-Type
For:Engine noise, performance, handling, sense of occasion
Against:Not very practical, sharp brakes and steering
3.0 Supercharged V6 S 2dr Auto
The F-Type: great-value alternative to the 911, or a seriously pricey Boxster rival? Erm, it’s both.
The F-Type isn’t perfect, but it’s an exceptional sports car, sharp and invigorating and full of life and charisma.
Paul Horrell reports from Scotland’s finest roads on Jag’s first proper sports car in decades…
What we say:
Good news - Jaguar hasn't messed this one up. The F-Type is a real cracker
What is it?
Only the most exciting (and arguably significant) car to be launched in Britain in recent years. Maybe even this decade. It’s possible we’re overstating this a bit, but we’re British after all and want to support the home team, especially when they turn out products as mesmerising as the new F-Type.
After all the concern about prices, the worry about how it will behave, and all the hype, it’s good to just drive it and realise that Jaguar hasn’t cocked up. The range was expanded in 2015 with all-wheel drive and, joy of joys, a manual gearbox. The V8 S becomes the V8 R, too: you can never have too much power. Certainly that’s what Jaguar believes, enter the limited-run 575bhp Project 7.
With the V8, the power dominates the driving experience as you calculate how much of it the car will let you use before a) the traction control cuts in or b) it spits you forcefully into the scenery because you’ve turned it off. It can be a handful in a way that not many cars are these days. Thank goodness the R now comes with AWD.
By comparison the base V6 is a pussycat, but perhaps too much so. It’s a lazier car to drive, and without the clever diff and active damping, can start to jounce around on bumpy roads.
So, in the manner of the three bears, it’s the middle one that’s just right. The V6 S comes with active dampers and mechanical limited slip diff, plus that bit of extra power and control that gives its handling an edge that’s missing from the base car. It’s the one to have.
Who are we kidding. The Project 7 is wild. It’s stonkingly fast, uprated suspension gives it more poise and its bespoke-build, retro-inspired yee-haa attitude is fantastic.
On the inside
Again, it’s worth pointing out that this is a sports car. It’s a strict two seater where interior storage is at a premium and boot capacity is sadly lacking. It’s not just small in size, either: the flat, shallow shape isn’t ideal.
But what an interior it has, though. The driver-centric layout looks fabulous, there are orange-gold highlights and vents that pop out of the dash top. And you can drop the roof at the press of a button, all the better to hear the superb engines crackle and roar: the V8 is truly thunderous, especially with the active exhaust in fully rude mode. One of the very best cars for a night-time tunnel run.
This is an expensive car, real Porsche 911 money, rather than the Boxster cash many expected it to cost before launch. The base car is £57,260, and that’s before nik-naks have been added (the manual has lowered the entry price though). A rich array of tempting personalisation options means self restraint must be shown here. Consider yourself warned. The V6 cars are fairly economical, mind. The V8, erm, not.