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27 September 2012

It’s here: this is the Jaguar F-Type

The smallest Big Cat finally lands in Paris as a drop-top. Form a disorderly queue

TopGear.com
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To paraphrase the lyrics of legendary 60s soul singer Sam Cooke, it's been a long time coming, and we all know, a change is gonna' come. Well Internet, meet that change: this, finally, is the brand new Jaguar F-Type.

Unveiled at an exclusive event at the Paris Motor Show a year since that gorgeous Jaguar C-X16 lit up Frankfurt like a crazed aluminium firework, the new F-Type takes Jaguar back to its roots of small, rear-wheel-drive two-seat coupes in the vein of the old XK120 and E-Type. As Jaguar itself notes: "The F-Type isn't designed to be like anyone else's sports car, it's a Jaguar sports car."

And being a Jaguar sports car means it gets a rather lovely set of engines slotted underneath that all-aluminium body (and what a body). You get three flavours of F-Type; a 335bhp entry-level version and 375bhp F-Type ‘S' featuring a supercharged 3.0-litre V6, and the range-topping 5.0-litre V8 with 488bhp in the ‘V8 S' variant. Tick this box repeatedly.

That said, the supercharged V6 is pretty nifty. In 335bhp form, it'll hit 100kph in 5.1s, 80kph-110kph in 3.3s and hit a limited top speed of 260kph. The F-Type S does 0-100kph in 4.8s, 80kph-110kph in 3.1s and a top speed of 275kph. But you'll naturally veer towards the V8: 0-100kph in 4.2s, 80kph-110kph in 2.5s and a top speed of 300kph. Fruity. There's even an ‘Active Exhaust' as standard to make it even fruitier.

As is well documented, these engines come mated as standard to an eight-speed automatic - albeit with ‘quick shifts' - powering the rear wheels on a chassis that gets a mechanical limited slip diff in the F-Type S, and an electronic diff in the V8 S. It's stiffer than the XKR-S, uses double-wishbone suspension all-round, and features the quickest steering rack ever fitted to a Jaguar. Budding ‘Ring smiths, begin polishing your helmets.

Jaguar has deemed it prudent to fit the V8 S and F-Type S models with Adaptive Dynamics - allowing control of body movement, roll and pitch rates - along with a ‘configurable dynamics' option that probably requires something more than a hammer to operate, perhaps a degree in computational mathematics. But if you're able to, you can set up such nuances as steering weight and throttle response. Handy if you're on a track, or heading to Asda.

As you would expect of a sporting Jaaaaag, there's a TFT display inside, lots of leather, satin chrome, dark aluminium and a driver-focused cockpit. Choose from one of three audio systems, and neighbouring counties will be able to judge your music tastes too: 770W sound outputs are possible.

Oh, and the more follicular-challenged among you can rest assured that soon after this cabrio launches mid-2013 in the UK, a coupe version will follow. Tempted?

Tags: paris 12, jaguar, f type

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