To undertake the task of redesigning a successful car acclaimed by many fans is a challenge for any manufacturer, especially for one with such heritage as Jaguar and its F-Type.
I thoroughly enjoyed the “old” F-type on UK country roads (which we compared reviewed back to back with the Eagle E-Type – you can read more about it here). This time, I went for a drive in Portugal to try the three new versions and one of them, in particular, stood out. More on that later.
Proportions of the F-type were already beautifully balanced and the latest design does not disrupt that but instead, it further emphasises Jaguars key design values. It looks more dramatic, focused and contemporary all while being more elegant than its predecessor. This new look has some serious presence, especially the convertible which I feel has a stronger connection with Jaguar’s sports car DNA. Being Jaguars Hero car, I would not be surprised to see these lines and details on future models. Jaguar enthusiasts will be glad to hear that the bonnet appears longer than the first edition, despite the dimensions being similar.
The interior has also had a refresh, albeit not as obvious as the exterior. Most of the changes are focused on the technology rather than the ergonomics and design. The steering wheel could do with fewer buttons but other than that, the usability of the controls and onboard technology are pretty straight forward.
Engine configurations are now reduced to a 2.0L four-cylinder and two 5.0L V8. The V6 is no longer available which does not really bother me, to be honest. The P300 (300BHP 4-cyl) and the P450 (444BHP V8) comes in RWD and AWD respectively, while the Type R (575bhp V8) is AWD only, which makes total sense once you get in the driver seats on twisty roads. Thanks to this, the car is easy to handle, making you confident in no time. (Young driver danger alert!!)
“What is this car made for?”
We are at a time where driving fast cars is more and more exciting due to their performances and handling capacities but also frustrating as roads are overloaded on a daily basis. Traffic is a part of our lives now. To me, driving is about escaping all that, meditating, contemplating and enjoying the journey more than it is about the destination. I am a cruiser driver, with a rush of speed here and there but generally speaking, I try to find peace behind a steering wheel.
What you get from the F type – and this is true for any model variant – is a well-balanced car that provides a very good sensation, especially the all-wheel drive on wet roads. The RWD delivers smooth and firm power. I have never enjoyed the dynamic mode as much as I did in Portugal. The feeling between the comfort and the dynamic mode is huge, the car goes from being sweet to wild in a simple click. I was sincerely staggered by this change of character. But make no mistake, this doesn’t make it any less accessible.
The Type R and the P450 would be my pick from the range with a slight preference for the P450 convertible. This is the configuration that best encapsulated the enjoyment from a true Jaguar. Cruising in a V8 with the roof down cannot be more British in my opinion – this car really makes more sense to me.
What the Type R presents over the P450 is simply the kick at the change of gear when you put the foot down. It’s a deeply exciting feeling that is backed up by the sheer noise of the exhaust. It is brutal – I love it!
I believe the new F type is a great product, the ratio usability/price/fun is there and progress is very much appreciated.