Jaguar F-Type S
What is it
The new F-Type roadster is many things.
First, as the name suggests, it’s a long overdue replacement for the legendary E-Type, last produced in 1974.
That means it’s Jaguar’s first true sports car in almost four decades. On top of all that, it will also be the standard-bearer for the rest of the Jaguar range too.
While the F-Type is expected to be made only in small numbers, it will condition attitudes to Jaguar more broadly, crucially influencing the future sales prospects of the XF, XJ and new models as yet unannounced that are supposed to drive a big expansion in the company’s future activities.
Three supercharged engines are offered – two three-litre V6s delivering 340 and 380PS and a five-litre V8 with 495PS. Here we’re looking at the 380PS V6, which is badged S.
All F-Types share the same two-door roadster body, the flowing form of which came from the pen of Jaguar’s talented chief designer Ian Callum – or at least he led the team that produced it, for that is the way cars are shaped these days.
Like the big XJ saloon and the XK coupe and convertible, the F-Type has an aluminium body architecture, although it’s not notably light.
It scarcely needs to be said that the F-Type is vital to Jaguar’s prospects and the company has extracted every last ounce of PR value out of an extended launch process that began almost two years ago with the unveiling of the C-X16 concept car at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. The big question is, does the F-Type really live up to all that F-Hype?
- Stunning good looks, which capture the sporty qualities of older Jags without just trying to copy them, the mistake made with the earlier X-Type and S-Type saloons
- Great performance, with even the least powerful 240PS V6 capable of accelerating the F-Type from rest to 60mph in 5.1 seconds on the way to a top speed of 161mph, while anybody should be more than satisfied by the V8’s 4.2 seconds 0-60 sprint and 186mph maximum
- A brilliant soundtrack, one of the best available on any modern car. The more powerful V6 and the V8 get an Active Exhaust system as standard which enhances the rich burble of the F-Type’s engine note, although in truth, even when the Active Exhaust is not in operation, all three F-Types still sound thrilling
- Great handling thanks to good balance, especially on the V6 versions
- A very well designed interior that suits the sporty character of the F-Type perfectly
- Scarcity value – the F-Type is only expected to be sold in fairly small numbers so it should remain a sought-after head-turner for several years
- Although this won’t be a major drawback for most buyers, the F-Type’s boot is ridiculously small; there’s just space for one or two overnight bags and that’s about it.
- Hopes that the F-Type would be sold for the same sort of money as the Porsche Boxster, Mercedes SLK and BMW Z4 have been dashed – it means there’s still nothing for an audience hungry for a Jaguar sports car in the £30,000 to £50,000 bracket. The F-Type sits in the gap between Porsche’s Boxster and 911, though it’s easily worth the £60,000+ price tag.
- On paper, it’s a bit disappointing that Jaguar only offers the F-Type with an automatic transmission – in practice, though, the responsive and very quick-shifting eight-speed auto turns out to be one of the car’s strengths rather than weaknesses.
- No F-Type is a particularly eco-friendly or tax-saving choice but the picture is a lot better when you consider how much performance and enjoyment the car provides, and its aluminium construction process is not very energy-intensive. All models have stop/start as standard.
Business Car Manager road test verdict
The new Jaguar F-type seems set to be an instant hit.
Each of the three versions has much to recommend it but the middle car – the 380PS V6 S – probably represents the sweet-spot in the range. It has a useful edge over the entry-level model in terms of power and gets useful extra equipment such as that appealing Active Exhaust and also Adaptive Dynamics suspension, shared with the V8, which improves body control by modifying and changing damping rates up to 500 times a second.
The V8 is impressive too – very far from being the lazy, nose-heavy US-market special you might imagine.
In fact it’s almost as well balanced as the V6 models but with its extra power it’s a bit more of a handful, in recognition of which it gets a special electronic limited slip differential to keep things under control.
The V6 S also gets a limited slip diff, but it’s a mechanical type. It’s difficult to imagine conditions on crowded British roads where the V8’s extra power over the V6 S could usefully be exploited though.
That leaves the 3.0 V6 S as the pick of a very strong range. Choose any F-Type and you’ll be very pleased. Choose the 3.0 V6 S and you’ll be most pleased of all.
Of course the price-bracket means this is no place to speak of company car tax, but if business is good, and even if you don’t really deserve it, get your name down.
The Low Down…
|Doors and body style||2-door convertible|
|Engine/gearbox||3.0-litre supercharged petrol V6/8-speed auto|
|0-62mph/top speed||4.9 secs/171mph (limited)|
…and what it costs
|Monthly business rental (ex VAT)||£923 (3yrs/30,000miles)|
|Road tax (VED)||Band K|
|Company Car Tax Bands 2013/14 to 2015/16||34%, 35%, 37%|
|Benefit in kind 2013/14 to 2015/16||£22,727, £23,396, £24,733|
|Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (20%)||£1435/£120|
|Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (40%)||£2870/239|
|Annual/monthly company car tax (20%)||£4545/£379|
|Annual/monthly company car tax (40%)||£9091/£758|
|Figures correct at time of posting|
|For latest figures||Use our company car tax calculator|