Launching a new segment in an automobile manufacturers lineup has always been a massive undertaking. But these days Jaguar is flushed with cash from the Indian corporate juggernaut “Tata” and with that a bold and innovative new direction takes center stage in its rise. Behold the new F-Type V8 Supercharged, the halo of Jaguar’s all new 2-seater roadster. Many journos have already started comparing it to the Porsche 911/Boxter S, the Mercedes SLK and BMW’s Z4. But truth be told this is Jaguar’s own interpretation of what a roadster should be, it’s their story created by the beautiful mind of Ian Callum.
2014 Jaguar F Type V8 S Review
Our tester is the boldest F-Type (it also comes with a V6 and a V6 Supercharged variant as well) and comes with a V8 fed by a Roots-type twin vortex Supercharger and produces 488 Hp and a massive 625 Nm of torque, all that for a car that weighs at 1665kgs. To give you all the significance of this, it’s way more powerful and torquier than the Audi R8 V8 (though slightly heavier), has more horses and torque than the Ferrari California and the Audi RS4 Avant (while being lighter this time). We had great things to say about the particular models in our previous reviews and when we got a call from JLR to pick up the F-Type V8S, my heart started racing knowing the impeding assault my internal organs would experience over the weekend.
The first impression of the car was not the looks, I had not laid my eyes on it just yet but the sound of fireworks which seemed to engulf the entire underground parking lot. There were crackles and deep burbles and behold I could see the “J” shaped LED lights coming towards me, quite stealthily as its graphite gray blended in against the dark background. It looked somewhat like a restraint dobermann, menacing, growling but at the same time awe inspiring.
Getting into the F-Type is a bit of a squeeze for someone who’s close to 6 foot in height, but once inside it’s snug and comfortable. The instrumentation layout is clear and uncluttered and the rest of the audio and A/C controls are right were they should be, free of any obstructions. Jaguar has ditched the rotary gear selector knobs in favor of a lever (similar to the unit now available on the new Range Rover Sport) and has used an analogue tachometer, quite a different step in design direction from its LCD displays used in their other models. The instrumentation is fresh with the contrast gold colored rubbery feel on the paddle shifters, start/stop button and the lever to switch between rain/normal/dynamic modes. If you really think about it, Jaguar has color-coded the instruments that matter to the driving dynamics of the F-Type.
Our tester seems to be spec’ed up quite a bit. Two toned red/black interior with leather roofline (till the vanity mirrors) and alcantara lined steering wheel, which is actually handy in this case, I will mention why later on in the review. The rims are matt gunmetal in color and have carbon-fiber inserts on its spokes. It screams the attention on its details. The rear is finished off by what looks like the end of a double-barrel shotgun on each side with the end of a very aggressive rear diffuser in between.
So how is the drive? Well for one, your cheek muscles are sure to ache after constant grinning from ear to ear. Yes, it’s an emotional experience. We are also thankful that the roads in the UAE are pretty smooth. The ride is firm and at slow speeds, the F-Type seems to amplify the bumps. But it’s not a rough feel like that of a Nissan GT-R, it has a smoothness to it while feeling firm. To experience the F-Type in its element is to drive it hard. The exhaust note alone would entice anyone in being, shall we say spirited? The 1665 kgs of Birmingham aluminum has a dual personality. We can flick the car rapidly along the chicanes and it holds on to a negative camber turn while being heavy enough so not to wiggle its tail the moment it senses a curve. This delicate balance is a step towards motoring nirvana.
Jaguar is retained the use of a regular 8-speed automatic gearbox instead of a dual clutch setup and hydraulic steering column, while the rest have opted for electronic units. The result suits the cars characteristics though, as the rpms increase and the next gear is engaged, the automatic 8-speed unit manages to keep the crescendo up without much delay. It’s not as sharp and precise as a Porsche or the Audi but it does not hinder the performance or the comfort of the shift in any way. The F-Type, like the Audi R8 V8, is user friendly to novices as well as petrol-heads alike. For someone who is more experienced, can really benefit from the well-sorted chassis and the firm suspension. The brakes are large; in fact the F-Type V8S boasts Jaguar’s largest brakes ever on a production vehicle. The stopping power and feel were confidence inspiring and so is the handling. The F-Type can corner the bends and at the same time the torque is available and preferably used after the apex to shoot out like a cannon ball. Liberal use of the accelerator at the apex would straighten out the line with a controlled drift. The alcantara lined steering wheels always kept my palm free of sweat as I exercised the handling limits of the vehicle.
Highway driving felt firm but not too much as to have repeated coffee breaks and stretch our backs. This can be used everyday as long as outings to the local grocery store are not on the cards. The storage space is really not much and we could squeeze one or two large bags inside the trunk.
The F-Type is a noisy beast. But it comes with the push of a button. Located next to the “traction control” button lies an icon, which resembles the end of a double barrel shotgun. I would strongly advise you to switch it “on” each time you start the car. By default it’s switch off. This opens up the exhaust system and the noise that comes out of it is nothing less than a howling mechanical symphony. But the moment you let go of the accelerator it crackles like fireworks or to the petrol-heads out there, the sound is more akin to that of a modified 500cc two-stroke motorbike backfiring. Music to my ears, yes very much so, and music to the ears of people on the road. This always turned heads followed by an appreciating nod. Finding a tunnel in Dubai had become an obsession, and with the roof down and the gas pedal depressed, the sound reverberating in the tunnel was intoxicating. It felt like the XKR-S which is a welcome relief. Jaguar should have this option on all its V8’s.
So how do I sum up the F-Type. Well it’s expensive for one. But one should truly appreciate the feel to actually justify its price. There are other options, true; but cars these days are built by individuals and they have different characteristics. We, as people are different and our likes are different. I cannot compare the F-Type with other roadsters and say that yes its similar. They are all different, but the F-Type has a lot swaying the vote in its favor. It has the looks, the muscle power and great handling, the incredible noise and also the brand behind it all. It’s Jaguar’s honest and credible interpretation of the E-Type for today’s personalities. If there was another roadster I would compare it to, then it would be the SLS Roadster. It’s the SLS’s much younger “brother from another mother”. I couldn’t find a more appropriate compliment than this.
|2014 Jaguar F Type V8 Supercharged|
|Rated Output||488 HP @ 6500 rpm|
|Rated Torque||625 Nm @ 2500 – 5500 rpm|
|Transmission – type of gearshift||8 speed|
|Fuel Consumption, combined, L/100km||12.7 (as tested) – city driving and occasional highways|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||4.3 seconds|
|Top speed||300 km/h|
|Price (AED) starting from||starts from 409,000 – (450,000 – approx. as tested)*|
|Fuel Tank Capacity (litres)||72|
Images by Brian Donegan :
F-Type Official Video
Jaguar F-TYPE | Making of Burning Desire
Jaguar F-Type | Martin Brundle | Mike Cross