A week with the F-Type
People think I’m a cat person, and I am. Mostly. I like cats but not all cats. There are some types I like better than others, and so it is with jaguars – the car variety, that is.
I loved, adored and coveted the glorious iconic E-Type. It was sex on a stick, if I can say such a thing. So I really, really, really wanted to feel as passionate about the F-Type. But I don’t.
Perhaps part of my issue is because there was an E-Type in my past that was very special, and when I think about the marque, there are so many happy memories associated with it.
That’s just my thoughts, though, and it is not to say that the F-Type is a bad car or doesn’t do what it should do. Because it isn’t at all, and it does, absolutely. Certainly, in the week I was driving it, there were plenty of people who loved it, and coveted it too! I just wasn’t as passionate as they were.
Maybe, for me, it’s just because the original was so good. Maybe with something that iconic, in my opinion, you should not do an F-Type or a G-Type or an H-Type, because you can’t improve on perfection. Then again, many of today’s potential sports car owners may never have even seen the original!
Stunning piece of design
However, it’s not just about my memories. The E-Type is generally acknowledged as a stunning piece of design and so different from everything else on the market at the time. Maybe the F-Type doesn’t stand out from the crowded sports car market these days as much as its much-loved predecessor did because there are so many more to choose from.
Having said all that, there is no doubt it’s a gorgeous piece of machinery and that, for most people, Jaguar has got this one right. First launched in 2013, the F-Type was designed to give the brand a boost, and it seems to be working.
For sure, potential customers are spoiled for choice if they want one in the garage. It comes with several options in choice of engine (from four-cylinder turbo through to supercharged five-litre V8), body style (coupe and convertible) and either AWD or rear-wheel-drive.
My test car was the 2.0-litre turbo-charged petrol RWD coupe variant, the most recent arrival in the family, and the baby of the range in terms of engine, but not missing anything from a design and finish perspective. There’s no arguing that it is a beautiful car. All swooping lines and needle-point edges on the outside, leather and fine craftsmanship in the cabin.
Ah yes, the cabin. One thing that became very obvious immediately is that slipping behind the wheel of a Jaguar sports car is not as easy as it used to be! The driver is not as young or as flexible as when she was when she drove the E-Type, and so it was a task that had to be done carefully – unless I wanted to spend the afternoon with the physiotherapist! It’s fair to say, though, that I am probably not the target market!
It should be said, however, I do have a few ‘structural’ issues these days, so it’s probably my ‘design fault’ that made getting in and out rather tricky, and it was probably also my design fault that made me struggle to get a really comfortable position in what are excellent seats. Other reviewers seem not to have had the same issues.
A fun car
Out and about, while my heart may not have sung the way it did for the original ‘Type’, it was certainly humming. It’s a fun car, made for both open roads and twisty stuff.
The punchy little two-litre engine is perfectly well managed by the eight-speed auto transmission, but if you do find some twisty stuff, do yourself a favour and play racing driver with the paddle shifters. Very satisfying. Steering and suspension play their roles to perfection too – point where you want to go, and go there, while the underpinnings seem to be a perfect blend of comfort and sports car stiffness, if that makes sense. Not too hard, not too soft. Just right.
Purists might argue in favour of a larger power plant, but because this model is around 50kg lighter than the V6 it has plenty of punch for Australian roads where speed limits can be savagely enforced. Your licence is safer with this one, than any of its higher-powered siblings!
As to practicality, well, it’s a sports car. It’s quick and beautiful. It’s about want, not need, and it doesn’t have to be sensible. I always say cars like this offer enough boot space for a naughty weekend away, but you would have to be a seriously good packer – and travelling in hot weather – to fit in two day’s worth of gear for two people in this one.
You will love it
So don’t even start thinking about a weekend at the snow (in terms of all the clothing needed), or packing golf clubs. It isn’t going to happen. But if you just want to jump in this car and have some fun, you will love it. I loved it – but I’m not in love with it.
The test car, in full specification, was priced around $115,000 at time of driving. As of January 1 this year, Australian prices across the F-Type family start around $112,450 (entry level on a similar car to that tested) through to $314,650 for the range-topping five-litre, 423kW, all-wheel-drive convertible.