I haven’t seen a Jaguar F-Type in the flesh, never mind driven (or being driven in) one. Thus, just like the rest of you I rely on info from established fellow journalists to gain some insight on what has been heralded as the spiritual successor to the iconic E-type.
So far, I’ve seen two videos comparing the new Jag against the Porsche 911 Cabriolet, fromEVO’s Tiff Needell and Autocar’s Steve Sutcliffe.When it comes to British journalists sampling a British car I tend to be a bit cautious. You know, once bitten (not by the aforementioned, but nevertheless, bitten) etc.
The F-type lost in both comparisons. Granted, the 911 is one tough cookie and, besides, losing to Stuttgart’s finest is not something to be ashamed of even if it’s the car you’ve firmly set your crosshairs on. What troubles me is that the new roadster has been hyped up as a true sports car and a return to form for the prestigious British brand. But is it?
Let’s see. Its sole gearbox option at launch is a ZF eight-speed auto. Now, I know that the manual gearbox will, sooner rather than later, be consigned to history and global brand director Adrian Hallmark has told Autocar that manual gearboxes may be on the way. Still, an automatic gearbox on a brand new two-seat, rear-wheel drive sports car? Whatever happened to a twin-clutch semi-auto?
Next up is the styling. It might be that I'm myopic, but I’m struggling to find any relation toJaguar’s identity. The 21st-century rear with its slim, nicely crafted headlamps seems wildly disconnected from the front that, as far as I’m concerned, looks too blunt.
The cabin is not as special as it should, either. The two round instruments could be from an Alfa Romeo, the gear lever from a BMW and the “performance” bucket seats from an Audi RS. The hidden console air vents, also, are too gimmicky and add weight to a car that’s supposed to be about lightness. BTW, the new Corvette Stingray called; it wants its console handle back.
On the plus side, it’s not short on poke and it sure sounds the part, especially in V8 trim. Perhaps it’s great to drive although losing to the rear-engined 911 makes me wonder how it would compare against rivals like the more agile Cayman S or the revamped Audi R8.
Then again, it might be that the coupe version will be the one to set the record straight. Here’s hoping…
By Andrew Tsaousis




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