The new Jaguar F-Type is as sexy as eight decades of design excellence can make it, but its light, fast and fluid nature is why it’s such a great car to drive every day in Singapore
When it comes to cars, what is your type? If you want something quiet, comfortable and unobtrusive – in other words an appliance – you can stop reading now.
For those of you who don’t, the F-Type is Jaguar’s sports car and the pinnacle of the British luxury marque’s pursuits: excellence in engineering, great design drawing on decades of heritage and a driving experience that’s hard to match. As a dedicated, two-seat coupe, the F-Type makes no concessions for dead weight.
Design Born of Heritage
Officially, the F-Type is the spiritual successor to the E-Type. So in essence, it is the heir to Jaguar’s legendary sports cars, including not just the E-Type, but also the racing-bred D-Type and the XK SS made famous by Steve McQueen.
The F-Type is a sexy-looking coupe that doesn’t hold back on the drama. It’s all ready to pounce, with not an ounce of visual excess.
Jaguar lays it down with fundamentals first, then builds it all up – the correct proportions enhanced by loving details. Again, that’s a play taken straight from the lines that were first put to ink in the E-Type.
The long nose reflects the optimal longitudinal layout of the engine and powerful front of a coupe, and a pushed-back cockpit area with space only for the driver and a single passenger. That section is enhanced by strong wheel arches and a muscular rear end that emphasise the car’s potent capabilities.
For 2021, the F-Type has undergone a refresh. You’ll see that most clearly in the slimmer, more aggressive headlights, which not only have a keener profile but are now available with optional pixel LED technology.
Just above the headlights, the car’s sweeping bonnet has expanded to cover more of the front with a clamshell-style wraparound look. Taken at face value, it’s a clever design touch that makes the car look wider and more dynamic at a standstill.
Here’s a secret detail though: the F-Type still has a forward-opening bonnet, just like the E-Type. It’s the sort of thing only the owner would see regularly, but says much about the design team’s attention to detail and mindfulness of the brand’s heritage.
Technology and Driver-Centrism
The sleek flanks of the car are more proof of classic lines, again recalling the E-Type’s minimalist door handles. But here’s where the F-Type is firmly in the now: you can’t see the handles because they pop out.
Once plugged into the car’s inviting, wrap-around seating position – classic coupe vibes again – the central air-con vents slowly rise up to greet you. It’s a little bit of ‘driver theatrics’ to prepare you for the experience ahead. Below that lies a new 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and smartphone connectivity. A start-up sequence draws your eyes to the new 12.3-inch Interactive Driver Display, which replaces the conventional instrument panel. You can customise it to show conventional twin dials, or even a full map, but Jaguar knows what drivers want, which is why the default mode has a classical sporting bent – a central tachometer.
Driving the F-Type: Leaps and Bounds
Tickling the bright red start button brings the F-Type to life with a roar that settles to a lively idle. No, this isn’t a luxury limousine that will make you forget what you’re driving, since that’s the entire reason to be in the cockpit of an F-Type.
Tested here is the F-Type Coupe with a two- litre inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine. This is the standard offering for Singapore, with the F-Type R 450PS supercharged V8 model available for a howling good time.
The turbocharged engine makes 300PS and 400Nm of torque, with 0-100km/hr completed in 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 250km/hr. But what the numbers don’t tell you is how drivable the F-Type really is.
You feel it from the first instance, which is not surprising since the F-Type is almost literally built around the driver. While other coupes sometimes have a remote feeling, not so the F-Type with its relatively compact overall proportions.
The suspension is sporty and stiff but not uncomfortable, likewise the engine is flexible and delivers what you ask without overpowering the senses.
The feeling you walk away with is one of well and truly driving a car. It’s well-rounded, engaging and, as a result, even a simple commute is a small triumph for the joy of driving.
Enthusiasts of sports cars probably need little encouragement, but if you’ve never dipped your toes into this kind of vehicle before, the Jaguar F-Type is happy to introduce you to the world of the focused, well-rounded sports car. After driving it, you might find it’s enjoyable enough that you’ve changed your type.