MT REVIEWS: Jaguar F-type

Motor Mouth: Jaguar's Porsche-beater is fun at any speed; if it had a bigger boot, it'd be just about perfect, says Sathnam Sanghera.

by Sathnam Sanghera
Last Updated: 02 Oct 2014

Every month, a bunch of numbers are printed at the end of this column, in an attempt to give you a comprehensive sense of what featured cars are like to drive and to buy. But if I had my way, I'd add one more statistic: the speed at which a vehicle is most fun to drive. While in a Ferrari this would be around 140 mph and in a Mini Cooper around 45 mph, in a Jaguar sports car it would traditionally be a plodding 65 mph.

Let's face it, the marque has never really got the hang of making performance cars. It could be due to the fact that, genetically, it is a limousine company, or because it was for some time in the same stable as Aston Martin and therefore prevented from competing, but Jaguar sports cars have long been a contradiction in terms.

However, now that it is owned by Tata, Jaguar has really gone for it with the F-type, achieving a rare thing in motoring: a car which is fun to drive at almost every speed. At 30 mph the F-type is fabulous because Jaguar's innovative tuning of its exhaust systems means the cockpit is filled with an expectant roar. At 50 mph it is fun because the ride is firm, the suspension rigid, and the body so tight that you feel every section of road. It's even fun when you are slowing down from 60 to 20 - the exhaust crackling deliciously as you do so.

I drove the entry-level V6 but it was so ferocious that I often had to put it into the 'rain/snow' mode to tone it down on normal roads, and only risked the lively 'sport' button twice. People have compared the driving experience to that of Porsche's 911 Carrera cabriolet, but, of course, what the F-type has over the German classic is stunning good looks.

Though if writing about music is like dancing about architecture, describing car design is perhaps even more difficult: like doing gymnastics to cookery. Maybe it is best to just say that the F-type was designed by Ian Callum, who also crafted the Ford Puma, the Aston Martin DB7 and the Vanquish - and that the F-type looks better than all of them.

I began the week thinking the car was overpriced, but ended up concluding it was a bargain. But, because the fuel economy is ridiculous, the graphics on the otherwise smooth navigation and entertainment system look decidedly dated and the boot is comically tiny, I've had to ease off with the concluding ranking.

Jaguar F-Type

: 3.0 litre, V6 petrol, supercharged Transmission eight-speed automatic
Fuel consumption: 32.8 mpg (combined cycle)
CO2 emissions: 205 g/km
Power: 335 bhp @ 6,500 rpm
Torque: 332 lb/ft @ 3,500 to 5,000 rpm
0-60 mph: 5.1 seconds
Top speed: 161 mph

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