The reviews are in. Customer test drives are on-going. First deliveries are due in the next few weeks. We round up the facts and feelings about the new Jaguar F-TYPE.
The 485bhp V8 S is a monster.
‘Imagining F-Type V8S powertrain planning meeting,’ says Pistonheads’ Chris Harris, ‘Give it enough power to make the average driver s**t himself, that should do it.’ Autocar’s Steve Sutcliffe calls it ‘a proper old-school hotrod and no mistake.’ Mark Walton in Car magazine describes it as, ‘A scary, rear-drive, oversteering monster, that’ll have you gripping the wheel like a boa contsrictor strangling a goat.’ The Daily Telegraph’s Andrew English said, ‘You need constant vigilance.’ The acronmym TVR has cropped up quite regularly in F-TYPE reviews.
It’s the driver’s car.
The entire dashboard is cordoned off from the passenger. All they have to do is hang on.
The fate of the entire company does not rest on the success of the F-TYPE.
Production is limited to 7,000 units a year by the specialist process used to make the bonnet. That’s a quarter of 911 sales, 10% of the global market for this type of car and 10% of the projected total Jaguar sales for 2013. They should be able to manage that. But it begs the question, how can they make a coupe version?
There’s no room even for a space saver tyre.
It will be amusing to see what happens when this gets out. Judging by the letters page in the Sunday Times Drive magazine every week there’s nothing middleclass petrolheads like less than the lack of a full size spare tyre. That there is no space even for a space saver tyre in the F-TYPE should have the froth fleckling nicely.
The boot anyway is not massive.
Most of the negative comment so far has been aimed at the boot. One tester described it as ‘ludicrously shallow’ another as ‘inexplicably puny’. But at 196 litres the F-TYPE’s boot is a third bigger than the Mazda MX-5’s, so that’s okay then. Anyway, an awkwardly shaped boot is a good excuse to invest in the fitted luggage set, though curiously Jaguar doesn’t seem to sell them, yet.
The F-TYPE is wider even than its supposedly big brother XK.
The V6 and V6 S models have perfect 50:50 front-rear weight distribution. The V8 S has 50kg more on the front axle. The centre of the F-TYPE is in line with the occupant’s knees.
It’s not a touring car
Blustery above 70 mph, no boot space, cut off from the passenger, width, hardcore dynamics. The F-TYPE might well make the most amazing touring car – several testers have noted its high speed stability – but it clearly hasn’t been designed with romantic holidays in mind.
It’s not an Old Man’s Car
There is no doubt about this whatsoever. The F-TYPE customer is middle-aged at worst, only a couple of years out of a Subaru Impreza WRX. Definitely not looking to retire soon.