Vehicle Reviews

Jaguar F-TYPE - Review Of The Week

Jaguar describes this improved F-TYPE Coupe as the most capable and involving car it's ever built. A fixed-top version of the F-TYPE Convertible, this model cements the Coventry brand's reputation as an ever more credible rival to Porsche, reviving memories of some of the company's legendary classic coupes. It handles. It goes. And it delivers.

There are now three main engines available to power the F-TYPE, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit with 300PS, a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 and a 5.0-litre V8. Even the 2.0-litre variant has quite a turn of speed, managing 60mph in just 5.4s en route to 155mph. Many though, will continue to desire the silky roar of the supercharged V6, these days available with either 340, 380 or 400PS. The 380 and 400PS models get the option of AWD. With the 340 and 380PS variants, buyers can choose between manual and Quickshift auto transmission; with the '400 Sport', its 'Quickshift' only. You'll also be limited to the auto 'box if you opt for one of the 5.0-litre V8 models - and these potent variants only come with AWD. The F-TYPE R gets this powerplant in 550PS form, while the flagship SVR derivative uses this engine with 575PS on tap. Got all that? I'll be asking questions later.

You're going to want to lower the fabric roof to better hear these engines of course - a process that can be accomplished in just 12s at speeds of up to 30mph - but once you do, you won't be disappointed. Personally, I usually like my automotive sound effects to come from the engine rather than, as here, the tailpipes at the back but even I have to admit that this car hums an addictive tune. Whichever variant you choose, performance is striking. Even the feeblest 300PS model makes 62mph from rest in just 5.7s, while the V8 F-TYPE R covers off that sprint in just 4.2s. As before, the 380PS F-TYPE variant most buyers choose gets a mechanical limited-slip differential, while the V8 gets an electronic item. Across the range, you get an all-aluminium chassis, double wishbone front suspension and a multi-link-suspended rear.

Jaguar F-TYPE - Review Of The Week

The visual changes made to this improved model are small but significant, centring mostly on a front end now embellished by full-LED headlights that sit above a re-styled bumper. Jaguar's distinctive J-Blade daytime running lights are retained, and these now double as the direction indicators, with the lamp's 'eyelid' indexing with the bonnet's cutline to further accentuate the lights' multi-layered graphics. Otherwise, it's as you were. Aesthetically, there are some lovely details such as the pop-out door handles and, inside, the single flying buttress that swoops down from one side of the centre console. Then there's the neatly styled gear selector, the giant TFT display in the dash and the deep-set driving position.

We still think that visually, the F-TYPE Coupe body shape works really well, with its short wheelbase, power-packed set of rear haunches and elegant roof line. It manages to make the Porsche Cayman seem rather hall-of-mirrors in its proportioning and while it's not as instantly beautiful as an Aston Martin Vantage, it looks as if it would thoroughly work the Vantage over in a bar fight. The boot is relatively big, giving the F-TYPE Coupe genuine GT potential. You'll get 315-litres in up to the parcel shelf and 407-litres to the window line. A 72-litre fuel tank gives a realistic cruising range of over 340 miles. You can even specify the car with a panoramic glass or carbon fibre roof.

As before, the F-TYPE Coupe takes all that was great about the Convertible version and builds on it with a stiffer chassis and a more affordable asking price. The result is a very special car indeed, especially in this improved form. Even if you can only stretch to a four-cylinder version. After all, compared to a rival Porsche 718 Cayman S, Jaguar has brought us a machine that's arguably better looking, unarguably better equipped, more powerful and endowed with a greater sense of occasion, inside and out. While it won't match the Porsche's delicacy of response at the limit, the F-TYPE Coupe looks as if it's got its chief competitor's measure in enough areas that count to really give the German brand something to worry about.

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