Jaguar deals out its ace

Sumant Banerji, Hindustan Times
First Published: 13:16 IST(8/11/2013)
Last Updated: 14:13 IST(8/11/2013)
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F TYPE Gorgeous, fast and eager, the F type is Jaguar’s new signature...but only time will tell if becomes a cult classic like Porsche’s 911

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The F type is a statement of intent from Jaguar. The company has got a new supercharger, and is challenging the legendary Porsche 911. Developing a twodoor, two-seater sportster tests the mettle of a sportscar maker. So what does the F type say about the born again Jaguar?

HEAD TURNER. SERIOUSLY

A sportscar is for enthusiasts, and needs to look really special. Any similarity to any other car on the planet and the maker is doomed. At first glance, the F type does not even look like a sportscar. It is big and wide and its wheelbase is among the longest in the category. It also has a pronounced snout courtesy the frontmounted engine. Porsche has engines down the middle, and the Ferrari at the back. Yet, it is difficult to not fall in love with the design. The sloping long bonnet, reminiscent of the iconic E type, is topped off by angular large vertical headlamps that flank the signature grille.

What accentuates the design are the large air vents at the corners that help cool the brake drums. The rear is more subtle, but no less stylish. The wraparound tail lamps are narrow, and the array of exhaust pipes are a legend in themselves. The V6 models feature twin centre outlets stamped from a single piece of stainless steel. The top of the line V8 S model (in pic) is all aggression with four outboard-mounted exhaust outlets, two on either side.

A CABIN OR A COCKPIT?

After the smashing exterior, the interior is something of a dampener. The good part first: the layout is simple, easy to use yet looks modern. You are not overwhelmed by a large number of buttons. The air conditioner vents pop up when the ignition is turned on. The seats are as expected: very comfortable and supportive with various adjustment options.

What we did not like: the graphics on the touch panel feel dated, almost tacky. And for a car that has a small boot, further compromised by a spare wheel (in India), you need more stowage space in the cabin. Given the overall dynamics of the car, these are but niggles, though.

HOW FAST?

There are two engine options: a supercharged 3-litre 6-cylinder that develops 380 PS power, and a top-of-the line 8-cylinder 5-litre motor with 495 PS output capable of sprinting to 100 kph from standstill in under 5 seconds.

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Truth be told, you won’t even realise you have hit three figures because it happened so fast, and the car did not make a fuss. The standout feature is none of these, though. It is the noise. All sportscars scream. While not quite a Maseratti, the F type makes itself heard from a mile away. The Germans have nothing on it.

For a car with large dimensions, it also handles very well. Even on the most vicious corners, it has enough grip and you never feel insecure. It sprints when you want and stops as you desire. And for more fun, there is the hood that pops open in 12 seconds, even when the car is on the go (up to 50 kph). A word of caution. The V8 has so much power that you should consider buying it only if you own a race track. Else, the car will forever be unsatiated.

VERDICT

Is it the perfect foil to the 911? Yes, and no. The 911 is a classic and offers more engine options. It is also lighter and faster, and for all of F type’s superb handling, the Porsche corners better. What works for Jaguar? The F type is a fresh design and hence scores there. Also, it is lot more useable as it offers better ride quality. Even on Delhi roads, and despite the low ground clearance, the bottom did not suffer a single scrape. Significantly, it is a lot more affordable. It was the first project that Jaguar started from scratch after being bought over by Tata in 2008. The fastest Jag ever built clearly lives up to all the pre-launch hype.


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