KING OF SPORTS CARS?8
Handling & Interior score 8
Engine & Performance score 8
Pricing and Exclusivity score 7
Features & Experience score 9
So you’ve had a good innings in the last 5 years and you feel that a reward for your work is in order. You’re contemplating purchasing a new car. Immediately your mind goes to the German marques and at this point, they’re all the same. This car is far more suited to your discerning tastes. The brand itself has enjoyed increased interest in the last 3 years (owing the the XK & XJ models of late) and its become the next ‘in-thing’ to drive a Jaguar. But this cat’s beauty is more than skin deep…
Having driven the roadster version, I expected nothing less than total amazingness when I walked over to the body-in-white coupe featured here. The F-Type is quality. From the key fob and obligatory Jaguar lunging-cat-form keyring, through to the well appointed interior, to the engine under that long bonnet. This car is actually ridiculous (in a good way – you’ll note that I use that word a lot on this site and even more in person-just letting you know).
The Roadster version I drove about 6 months ago was a supercharged V6 producing 280KW and retails now for around R900k. Even that car was particularly special. Id advocate that its more ridiculous to drive than the Porsche Cayman of Boxter models. When you order the V8 version though, thats when things change. Suddenly, the F-Type is a 911 and top-of-the-range Merc SLK contender. In truth its a raunchier, sexier Aston Martin Vantage V8. That is a fairly inspiring statement to make since this car is more affordable and easier to equip. Real Value for money here. Its a GT cruiser with a mean streak and a beautiful face. Perhaps this is Brad Pit in Fight Club.
The Coupe in R spec is a V8 Supercharged version producing 405 KW, equipped with an 8 speed ZF paddle-shift gearbox as standard and a choice of either steel or carbon ceramic brakes as an option. The White car pictured here also came with the uprated Meridian 12 speaker 770w sound system and a panoramic roof (its glass outside, usual sunroof trim inside-not totally exposed, which was a little bit of a let down). Our F-Type coupe tallied a few laps around the Roy Hesketh circuit near Pietermaritzburg, followed by an afternoon’s driving in the KZN midlands. Unsurprisingly, we experienced a surfeit of cabin comfort and cruising refinement, the latter courtesy of ZF’s outstandingly calibrated eight-speed automatic transmission. This is a Jaguar, remember: grace and pace are supposed to collaborate, without one being present at the cost of the other.
That Exhaust though.
The exhaust note deserved its own damn paragraph. Its intoxicating, addictive and hypnotic (yup, all of them). You WILL spend your purple notes just keep that sound alive. The purpose crafted exhaust system with setting to make it even more raunchier is definitely the livelihood of the car. At 170km/hr on the highway (er… I mean 120km/hr officer), the car completely attacks your sense. But even through the gears and on overtaking, that pop, fizz and bang on the overrun makes for a permanent grin on my face. Im sitting in the well appointed, comfortable & inviting cabin, just thinking about how good it must be to look at this car charging by – from the outside – with me smiling in it and that makes me smile too. This car is beautiful, by Jaguar standards and by Ze German standards.
But does it trump the Porsche products?
The Cayman and Boxter have nothing on this. Even though the entire range has been facelifted and tweaked to keep relevant, this car just feels better. it feels warmer, less clinical and less German. It has a more brutish personality and is a beauty to look at. We were jonesing for it since those first concept drawings come in. The car was homologated for actual production and didn’t change too much from the concepts shown at the Motor Shows internationally – which is always a good thing. It was launched at a time when the competition isnt doing anything particularly spell-binding. With the rate of stratification in the motoring industry (brands are diversifying too much – releasing to many products for too many target audiences) this car has come in at a good time. And where other brands do the hardtop version, and then the roadster a few months or a year later, Jaguar has played their cards really well.
Brimming with technology, traditional front-engined/rear-drive setup, hot-rod muscle car sound from the 60’s … all the right moves at a price point that makes this car the more valuable option. As decadent as it seems, this is spending your money wisely. The Jaguar F-Type R Coupe. Do best.