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Jaguar F-Type S Convertible review: manual V6 F-Type tested (2015-2017)

£65,320 when new

Car specifications

Budget
£65,320
Brake horsepower
380bhp
Fuel consumption
28.8mpg
0–62 mph
5.30s
CO2
234g/km
Max speed
171Mph
Insurance Group
50A

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A manual gearbox? How very old-school…

True, a six-speed manual complete with three pedals in the footwell and no paddles behind the steering wheel hardly counts as cutting-edge tech. What’s driven the decision to equip the Jaguar F-Type Convertible with stick shift is America.

Isn’t it weird that a country that invented and so embraced the automatic remains the only country in the world with the clout to demand - and appetite for - a manual?

Surely they won’t sell many?

Well in the USA, 20 per cent of V6 F-Types (the manual isn’t available on the V8) are expected to be ordered as manuals. On this side of the pond the figure is likely to be about half that.

Relatively small beer, but what it does for the F-Type is extend the car’s reach (a little) and convince people the F-Type is a car for Real Drivers (a lot). It’s further evidence of Jag’s desire to be a serious rival to the Porsche 911. Together with convertible and 4WD versions, it means there are now 15 different F-Types to choose from.

Tell us about the manual, then.

It’s a six speed ZF gearbox, saves £1,800 over the eight-speed auto and does without the fashionable rev blip software favoured by Nissan and Porsche. Here you have to blip your own revs, heel’n’toe styley.

That sounds like a right faff.

Isn’t. I was concerned that the manual was going to be one of those clunky, heavy, ponderous ones that sucks all the joy and speed out of sports cars. That it would judder getting off the line and that you’d look like a rank amateur as soon as traffic built up. Not so, thank god.

It’s light in lever and pedal, with an easy, smooth clutch and fast, shortish-throw gearbox. Apparently it has anti-stall software, which might explain why I didn’t. The pedal weights are all nicely matched and it does a very good job of convincing you that the manual gearbox still has a place in a car like this.

Harder work than the auto, though?

Yes, and if you’re the type who likes to drive their F-Type while resting an elbow on the door, then the standard eight-speed auto remains sublime. It’ll change gear faster than you ever can, has paddles and is wonderfully responsive.

The manual is for the owner who wants to be more involved with their car. I’ll admit it isn’t perfect. The shift action may be fast, but it’s a bit woolly around the edges, the lever not slicing through the gate with the precision of a manual 911s.

But there’s so much torque in the supercharged V6 it’s not like you need to be constantly fidgeting with the lever. Around town it’ll easily pull third from 20mph, and while the middle ratios are stacked pleasingly close together, you can just settle for fourth and let the engine dig deep.

Does it suit the F-Type?

Yes it does. Simple as that. It’s satisfying to use and gives the F-Type an extra dimension. It’s more interactive, demands more of you, but rewards more, too.

Just watch your knuckles don’t trigger the hazards on those hasty fourth-to-third downshifts, and be warned that official fuel economy drops by 4.1mpg, and CO2 emissions rise by 31g/km. If I was ordering an F-Type and I’d resisted the pull of a 4wd V8 R, then a manual V6 S would be the car for me.

Before we go, doesn’t the F-Type now have electric power steering, too?

It does. The best thing I can say about it is that I didn’t notice it. The F-Type didn’t have good steering feel before and it still doesn’t. At least the set-up is accurate, well weighted and relatively keyed in to the road. That’s as much as we can hope for these days…
 

What do you think?

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