Jaguar F-Type: The ravishing rebel

Updated: 22 December, 2014 09:47 IST | Amit Chhangani |

In an increasingly meek world of modern sports cars, the feisty Jaguar F-Type brings heartening relief

The F-Type has already asserted itself as a worthy successor of the iconic E-type in most enthusiasts’ hearts and minds. It’s been loved for its design and character by critics and commoners alike. An unusually striking shape, along with a boisterous attitude and a divine exhaust note has made the F-type possibly the most emotional sports car of our times. We drive the top of the line V8 S version, and come back absolutely enamoured.

Jaguar F-Type
Jaguar F-Type Price: Rs 1.75 crore ex-showroom

Looks and appeal
The F-Type doesn’t as much grab attention on the road as it changes the dynamics of the traffic around you. It’s a tricky car to drive on the oomph-deprived, pothole-ridden Indian tar that some very invidous mortals commute upon. The F-Type is laced with seduction at its rear. In isolation, those slim tail-lamps are akin to a pair of splintery slashes in the skin by a honed razor. They ooze unsullied lust. The squat, aggressive theme has been executed in a beguilingly simplistic way. It’s like Coldplay’s music, bewitchingly easy and accessible, yet incredibly complex and masterful. That rump is a sheer visual festivity. And simple and uncluttered as it may look, only the designers at Jaguar would know the exact volume of the midnight oil they burnt before attaining that superlative expression.

Jaguar  F-Type
The all black cabin is accentuated by chrome inserts in places. Motorised central AC vents emerge out of the dash in a dramatic fashion. PICS/AMIT CHHANGANI 

In side profile, the alluring simplicity continues to dazzle. The clean, uncluttered surfaces with the mildest of creases endow the F-type a tightly curvaceous waist. It’s not the shape you achieve by feasting on steroids while having dedicated your life to pumping iron. The F-Type’s shapeliness is more akin to that of a ballerina or an acro-dancer — athletic and firm, yet virile and sensuous. For once, there’s a genuine sports car that could well afford itself as a trophy for the English, corroborating their greatness in the industrialised world. We love that Maserti-sque snout, hosting the legendary Jaguar face. Those swept back lamps lined with boomerang-shaped DRL’s, however, aren’t quite in line with the horizontally-themed, razor sharp virtuosity we witnessed at the rear. There isn’t taking an ounce away from the overall appeal of the F-Type though. It’s epic. British items aren’t of the sterling quality they once used to be, and the F-Type is a rare exception. They should put this one in a museum. It’s going down in history as an all-time great.

Jaguar  F-Type
The big 5.0-litre supercharged engine delivers thundering power. The throttle response is crisp across the rev range

The heavenly sound
Let us credit, congratulate and felicitate the sound engineers at Jaguar for creating the acoustic enchantment the F-Type is. For the gagged world of sports cars we live in, the F-Type is an automotive equivalent of Mozart’s symphonies. The F-type’s exhaust would take you back to the ’70s, to a world where Freddie Mercury was alive and kicking some competent behinds. The F-Type is Black Sabbath’s heavy metal, turned up to full volume in a packed live concert. We sampled the V8 S, the most fire-spewing, incensed, rambunctious variety of the F-Type variant troika that Jaguar. And you should listen to it as it spits the fire out!

Jaguar  F-Type
Yup, that’s the way the F-type pops its bonnet. It’s hinged at the wrong end. Makes it look glamorous, even in troubled times

As all of those eight massive cylinders, displacing 5 big litres of volume make a deluge of burnt and unburnt vapours gush out, a quartet of big, round, chrome-tipped exhausts pulsates and felicitates the phenomenon with a thunderous applause.

And then, just the way you have a lasting rumble following a big thunder, you get to hear those gases break out in desperation with a snap, crackle and pop. It’s like a bunch of crackers bursting every time you lift off after a thrust, to celebrate the delights you just treated your every sense with.

Jaguar  F-Type
Beautiful 10-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels add immensely to the appeal of the F-type in profile

Powertrain and handling
That V8 engine powering the F-Type is a feral being. For today’s paranoia stricken automotive world, obsessively curated by electronic minions, the F-Type is akin to a heroic warrior fable from the medieval times. Sure, it’s got its own safety net with a very functional electronic limited slip differential and all sorts of control obsessed paraphernalia. None of that, however, matters, with near 500 of those British Bloodhorses prancing in unison to snap apart any shackles that even those wide 295/30 Pirelli P Zero tyres, shod on monstrous 20 inch wheels may try to tie it down with.

To our bafflement, however, the F-Type V8 S handled some of the most punishing Indian speed breakers with nonchalance. We have seen pretenders costing a quarter of the F-type’s price getting their underbellies scraped. Like that didn’t astonish us enough, the ride quality is phenomenal for a hardcore sports car.

Push the start button and the F-Type snarls to life. It’s a rumbling, angry note that makes onlookers aware of its evil intent instantly. And yet, the F-Type is a perfectly driveable car for the city. It will gracefully pull up its designer gown to tiptoe over the atrocities hurled at it by the Indian tar. It’s a high maintenance girlfriend, though, and you’ll have to live with a fuel efficiency of less than 4 kmpl. The F-type spews unburnt fuel in even in the ECO mode. This girl loves throwing wads of crisp notes to the beggars while on a shopping trip.

Dab the right pedal with some disdain, and the F-Type warns you with a growl, a scowl and a jiggle. It loves to shake its booty. Thanks to the big, bad supercharger, breathing through its gigantic snout from under the hood, all of those 650 pails of torque can be fetched from as low as 2500 rpm, all the way to 5500 revs. So even at slow speeds, a slipshod movement of the right foot would have this baby wiggle her shapely rear with a flourish.

The new ZF 8-speed automatic transmission plays the perfect foil to that delightful engine, allowing lightening fast kickdowns and equally swift upshifts. A lazy transmission would have been a big downer on this sort of a setup, and the 8-speed auto astonishes with its alacrity.

The top speed, unlike the more civilised counterparts, can hit a triple ton without much ado. Thanks to the 495 PS and 625 Nm of supercharged madness, ton comes up in a lightening quick 4.2 seconds. The F-type is a startlingly fast car for those not used to this kind of performance, for it not just goes fast, it feels fast, too. Sitting amid that monstrous power monger and the driven wheels, you get a front-row ticket to its theatrics. It’s an involving, immersive, captivating experience.

The F-Type presents itself as an incredibly easy machine to break traction with. Into the corner, a flick of the wheel, a dab on the throttle, and the F-Type would start swinging her tush. Rear wheels spinning with abandon, you just need to apply the opposing lock to be going sideways. The stiff, balanced chassis, the chatty steering and the well-honed suspension come together to create a thrilling amusement park on four wheels for you.

Our verdict
The F-type isn’t the luxury yacht you park in the bay on a sunny day and have a drink with your playthings in. It’s the expedition liner which would take you into roughest deeps, and let you know what the salt in the seawater tastes like when the waves hit you in the face. The F-Type is a Hitchcock thriller, an anomaly in the Matrix, Fight Club’s Tyler Durden, Dylan’s raspy voice – an imperfect perfection.

Technical specs 
Jaguar F-type

Engine: 5.0 litre supercharged V8
Power: 495bhp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 625Nm @ 2500-5500 rpm, 0-100 km/h 4.2 seconds
Top speed: 300 km/h

Top-down options

Porsche Boxster S

Porsche Boxster S
The Boxster is the stepping stone to the Porsche range of sports cars, and is widely touted to be among the best handling convertible cars in the world. With 315 hp at 6,700 rpm from its straight six motor nestled behind the front seats, the Boxster S isn’t no slouch, with the PDK gearbox equipped variant hitting the 100 km/hr mark in just 5.0 seconds. There’s a manual transmission option available too, for those purists out there, but it’ll hit the ton a smidge late, at 5.1 seconds. The Boxster is available in base, S and GTS trims, although we only get the S in India.
Price: Rs 91.51 lakh*


the Bavarian charm on this one rides high. Straddling a classic roadster shape (long bonnet-short rear), the Z4 comes with highly delectable curves inspired by the wind, an electric folding roof and a 2,979cc straight-six motor which makes an impressive 306 horsepower and a hefty 400 Nm of torque, endowing the Z4 to hit the 100 km/hr mark from a standstill in just 5.1 seconds. The Z4 is a modern classic by every definition. Although, by virtue of its open top construction, it might lack the coveted BMW/M sharpness to the dynamics and performance, but the way it turns heads will make up for it.
Price: Rs 70.90-71.90 lakh*

Audi R8 V10 Spyder

Audi R8 V10 Spyder
If Ironman uses it, it’s certified coolness. The R8 V10’s Lamborghini sourced FSI V10 generates a pulse-pounding 525 horsepower, allowing the canvas topped super-car to demolish the 0-100 km/hr dash in just 4.1 seconds.  The watertight soft top retracts in 17 seconds and its lightweight design helps keep the car’s center of gravity low. There’s a 430 hp 4.2-litre FSI V8 engine for the R8 Spyder as well, but the performance pales in comparison to the V10’s, and Audi India doesn’t even sell one of those in the country. The Audi R8 range has been around for a while now, and a worthy replacement is expected sometime early next year.
Price: Rs 2.12 crore*  *Ex-showroom

First Published: 07 December, 2014 08:12 IST

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