F-Type Roadster 3.0 V6
its UK launch in April 2013,
F-Type Roadster has
So, after a week behind the wheel,
is it an icon in the making?
THE F-TYPE COUPE, when it goes on sale in the UK in 2014, will cost from £51,235
around £7,000 less than the comparable drop-top Roadsters.
Both ranges have V6 and V8 supercharged petrol engine options along with a new
eight-speed automatic transmission as standard.
Recently it was 'my turn' as it says in the F-Type TV ad
to spend a longer spell behind the wheel of the two-seater Roadster: in my case
it was the £58,520 range-starter F-Type powered by the new 3.0-litre V6 supercharged
335bhp petrol engine. Go-faster types can go faster in the S version with the
uprated 374bhp V6 (£67,520) or quicker still in the 488bhp supercharged 5.0-litre
V8 S (£79,985).
models get their power down through the rear wheels via an eight-speed Quickshift
close-ratio automatic transmission with a centre console-mounted SportShift
that, in addition to the steering column-mounted paddle-shifters, provides the
driver with manual, sequential or fully automatic changes.
get their power down
through the rear wheels
via an eight speed
autobox with a centre
SportShift that, in
addition to the steering
shifters, provides the
driver with manual, sequential or fully
The beefier S versions have limited slip differentials a must-have
feature missing from my standard V6 test car. Both S V6 and V8 models are also
fitted with an Active Exhaust system (a £1,630 option on the standard V6 model).
A number of bypass valves in the rear section of the exhaust open under hard
acceleration conditions to 'enhance' the sound quality. If it was a standard
fit feature I'd say fine, go for it.
However, there are loads more essential options that money could be better spent
on, including such items as heated seats (£350), or performance seats in leather
at £1,450 which are not only comfortable but offer much needed support, a heated
front windscreen at £250, a set of two carpet mats (£120), a must-have wind
deflector (£250), a space saver spare wheel at £255 and, if you really want
a rough ride, spend £1,000 on the 19-inch alloy wheels option. My advice? Stick
with the standard 18-inchers because the ride comfort from the sports suspension
is already firm enough.
The snug two-seat cockpit is best described as aircraft style; it's nicely laid
out with logical, easy to use controls and easy to read dials. The fascia is
high level not an issue for a six-footer like me but shorter people
will find it restricts forward vision when judging the length of the long bonnet.
Generally, the quality of the cosy interior is good but some of the controls
around the steering column felt a tad flimsy and looked cheaper than the rest
of the interior.
Which brings me to the small, odd-shaped boot which offers just 196 litres although
the smooth-operating, powered fabric roof doesn't reduce that space further
when folded down. The boot lining also, disappointingly, felt cheap with thin
carpet covering flimsy panels not the sort of quality we have
experienced in other Jaguars, past or present. Another gripe is the hood's small
rear window which severely restricts visibility rear parking sensors
are an absolute must.
says the F-Type is a continuation of a sporting bloodline stretching back more
than 75 years. However,
whereas the E-Type was designed for sports performance but with an elegant and
refined appearance to compete against the Ferraris of its day, this long-awaited
E-Type 'replacement' is very different.
classic Jaguar design refinement has gone; while its wide haunches and 'chopped'
rear-end design show an aggressive sporting intent, in reality it appears less
classy than it should and could easily pass for any American brand
muscle car. But then the US is a big market for the F-Type…
The classic Jaguar
while the F-Types looks
show an aggressive
sporting intent, in reality
it appears less classy
than it should.
To me the styling makes
it look like any
American brand muscle
car but then the US
is a big market for
It was interesting that during my week of ownership the F-Type didn't turn out
to be the head-turner I expected. In fact, when parked, people just passed it
by perhaps Christmas shopping was more on their minds.
It does appear to split opinions: some of my motoring colleagues are impressed
and like its handling; others feel, like me, that it has missed its target in
terms of styling and handling.
I understand from motoring 'scribes' who have driven other versions, that the
further you go up the range the more fun the driving is. But I wouldn't pay
over £20K more for the V8 and I'd have to think very hard about paying £9K more
for the mid-range V6 S version. Whichever model you choose they look the same
and, to be honest, given today's congested roads, the difference in top speed
and acceleration times is marginal.
That noted, there is no doubt that the engine and transmission performance is
first class even from the 335bhp 3.0-litre V6 I've been driving. The supercharger
gives it immediate 'raw' power with zero to 62mph taking 5.3 seconds and a top
speed of 161mph with an exhaust soundtrack to match. It snarls (if it was an
animal, it would bite) and if not driven in a way that matches the driver's
ability it will surely bite them, especially in its sports/trackday mode.
eight-speed autobox is perfect for this supercharged powerplant and its 332lb
ft of torque from 3,500rpm. The close-ratio gearchanges happen quickly and seamlessly
as you accelerate. But beware sudden pedal-to-the metal prods on the accelerator
because the rear wheels will spin easily on damp roads; and too much cornering
speed under acceleration will cause the tail to go into a drift because this
version lacks the control a limited slip differential provides.
when in docile cruising mode the back-end fidgets around and the front wheels
tend to follow the ridges in the tram-lined road surfaces. The ride is firm;
and the faster you drive on A- and B-roads the harsher it becomes, hence my
suggestion that owners tick the box for the supportive sports seats and stick
with the standard 18-inch wheels.
F-Type can be a cut-and-thrust racer but the 335bhp version can also be docile
when needed, and it coped effortlessly without tantrums commuting in stop-start
traffic. It did, to be honest, impress me more as a long-legged cruiser on motorways,
despite the tyre noise intrusion. Also welcome is a snow setting which reduces
the aggressiveness of the power delivery.
Officially the 335bhp
V6 averages 31.4mpg.
My road test average
came out at 29.2mpg.
CO2 emissions incur
a first year road tax bill
335bhp 3.0-litre V6 aluminium-bodied F-Type
will return 31.4mpg in the Combined Cycle. My road test average for a week of
fast A- and B-road driving plus some commuting and motorway mileage, came in
pretty close to the official figure 29.2mpg.
However, CO2 emissions of 209g/km mean road tax costs £620 for the first year
(£280 for the second year onwards). Company car user-chooser executives will
pay 33% in Benefit-in-Kind tax and insurance, for all versions, is rated at
the maximum group 50.
For? Good straight-line performance, slick and fast-acting new automatic transmission,
good fuel economy, and a neat-folding fabric roof. However, it comes with a
firm and fidgety ride, and without the limited slip differential handling and
traction is indifferent. Other gripes are some cheap areas of trim and controls,
the small boot, the small rear window, and pricey options.
Overall though the F-Type is good; but is it good enough to worry Porsche owners
long-term? Initial sales say it is. Once the pent-up demand for a long-awaited
Jaguar sports car has been met, will it then stand the test of time? And can
it, like the E-Type, attain 'icon' status? Not in my book, it won't.
Jaguar F-Type Roadster 3.0 V6 | £58,520
Top speed: 161mph | 0-62mph: 5.3 seconds | Average Test MPG: 29.2mpg
Power: 335bhp | Torque: 332lb ft | CO2 209g/km