Other car reviews by

Michael Woodhouse

Jaguar F-type V8 Firesand

Let’s get straight to the point, everything you may have read or heard about the Jaguar F-Type is true. It’s utterly fabulous. Not only does it look stunning, but it sounds fantastically emotional, and it’s a delight to drive, rewarding for any skill level.

It feels strange being so positive about a car. Manufacturers have become very good at developing cars that are functional, but there are usually holes that can be picked in any vehicle. But this Jaguar has none that I can find.

Of course at £85,000 for the top of the range F-Type R Coupé, sounds expensive, but if you’re in the market for a sports car in this segment, then the price isn’t exceptional. But the performance is.

The F-Type R Coupé, hides a 550PS/680Nm 5.0-litre V8 supercharged engine under it’s bonnet, helping it accelerate from 0-60mph in 4.0-seconds, and on to a top speed of 186mph.

However unlikely you are to actually use the power it provides, you’ll always be able to smile at the aural note of the exhaust – it’s absolutely melodious.

On the vehicle’s launch in Barcelona, a narrow track of road in the mountains meant being stuck in traffic, but it was a traffic jam of half a dozen F-Types, and with the engine noise reverberating off the cliff faces, brought childish giggles from everyone.

The F-Type S Coupé and standard F-Type Coupé models complete the range, powered respectively by 380PS and 340PS versions of Jaguar’s 3.0-litre supercharged V6 engine, giving 0-60mph in 4.8 and 5.1-seconds and top speeds of 171 and 161mph.

All the engines are brilliant, but it’s the V8 that I would chose. But no matter what version you pick the looks don’t change. It’s eye catching to say the least.

It’s from the twin ‘shark gill’ openings that sit either side of the grille that the first heartline  flows and begins to take shape. Running up through the headlamp, and accentuated by the LED daylight running lamps, the line then arcs up over the front wheelarch before dropping elegantly as it runs through the door, washing out into the muscular rear haunch.

The Coupé’s second heartline begins at the rear edge of the door, swelling outwards and upwards to create a visually strong wheelarch, emphasising the car’s rear-wheel drive layout, before dropping vertically through the tail lamp.

The third heartline forms the Coupé’s dramatic sweeping roof. Providing an unbroken silhouette, it highlights the visual drama of the tapered cabin nestled between the rear haunches.

Inside the cabin everything appeals, and thankfully, although the F-Type uses an eight-speed automatic transmission, they haven’t installed the rotary gear selector found in other Jaguars. It’s a bugbear of mine that although it looks good, the merest hint of sunshine and you’re blinded by the reflection.

Instead there’s a standard stick, and column shifters for when you’re driving more enthusiastically and want to keep your hands on the steering wheel.

And should you get the opportunity to take the car to the limits – a track day perhaps – then the technology will help you stay on the tarmac.

The F-Type R Coupé’s electronic differential builds on the progressive handling advantages of a mechanical limited-slip differential by controlling the amount of driveline torque fed to each wheel. It uses an electric motor which operates a multi-plate clutch; by continuously analysing a range of electronic inputs it is able to immediately vary torque transfer to each driven wheel to maximise traction in any condition.

With a professional driver next to me, we tested the system on a slow-speed circuit with dry and wet sections. It’s an experience to feel and see the system work, helping correct the car when you go into a bend purposefully badly.

The problem that Jaguar now has is that it will have to make all its vehicles as good as this. But if it manages to, the upcoming BMW 3 Series-sized saloon and SUV should be absolutely stunning, just as the F-Type Coupé is.

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