Vijay Pattni22 July 2014

First drive: Jaguar F-Type Coupe V6

It’s the entry-level, base V6 Coupe with ‘only’ 335bhp. Can you live with that?

I know we're used to seeing the Coupe now, but sweet lord, is it a beautiful car.

You're entirely correct. It is a very, very good-looking car, one that - when you drive it - rewards you with much attention from the people of earth. Not only does it enjoy pouting for the camera, though, it also wants to be your friend.

Excuse me?

If the certifiably insane V8 R Coupe is ready to charm you into submission before spearing you off into whichever direction it deems fit, this entry-level, V6 Coupe wants you to live to see another day.

It's the least-powerful F-Type Coupe you can buy, but don't think it's without charm. The basics are all here: that supercharged 3.0-litre V6 produces 335bhp and 332lb ft of torque. It drives the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox and is capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in 5.1 seconds, before hitting a top speed of 161mph.

That's not too shabby at all.

Nope, nothing wrong with its performance, nor - fundamentally - in the way it delivers it either. It's linear and more than quick enough day-to-day. It starts with a bit of a gruff idle, and you'll have to work the engine to hear the good-hearted nature of the V6, but it rewards with a pleasing, mellifluous top end. It's nice.

And it'll do all the off-throttle pops and chunter heroics just like its V8 brother, though of course in this instance, everything feels a little muted.

And to drive?

Very, very sweet. This base model does without the adaptive damping and mechanical/active diffs of the V6 S and V8 models, but it's fundamentally a well-sorted car. The ride is comfortable, no doubt thanks to a smaller set of alloys, pitching the right side of firm but remaining supple, as any Jaguar sportscar should. The steering is linear, accurate and quick to turn in, and the nose feels ever-so-slightly keener because of that lighter V6 up front, and - again - those smaller wheels.

It's refined inside, too, because the only time that engine intrudes is when you really wring its neck. The gearbox flicks through the various cogs with ease, too, while the switchable ‘Dynamic' mode makes everything a bit sharper, faster.

So... it's a big tick?

Of course. It looks fantastic, sounds good and feels poised and confident on faster, flowing roads; the kind of roads helmsmen get enthused about on forums.

But there is a small problem. If you've driven the V6 S, you'll be wanting that car's extra bit of fizz, that extra slug of power and depth of character. And if you've ever driven the V8 version, you'll never want anything else. The sound from the supercharged 5.0-litre eight-pot is one of the finest noises made by man, and you'll never tire of it (though your neighbours might).

The V6 S is probably the most balanced F-Type, but because we're Top Gear, we'd recommend you bet it all on oversteer and go with the manic, heroic V8. 542bhp is our favourite flavour of window, thanks. But, there's nothing wrong with this entry-level V6. Prices start at just over £51k, too, making it £9k cheaper than the V6 S, and a whopping £25k under the V8.

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