AFTER producing some of the most exciting sports cars in the world over the past 75 years Jaguar has notched up another winner with the stunning F-Type which has just been voted Best Open Top Car in the UK beating German rivals from BMW and Porsche in particular writes Bryan Longworth.
This top accolade is fully deserved for the two seater convertible from Indian owned Jaguar not only looks performs and sounds great but it lives up to its description from the top man at Jaguar of being “ultra precise, powerful, sensual and most of all it feels alive.”
Adrian Hallmark, Global Brand Director at Jaguar, says the F-Type is not designed to be like anyone else’s sports car and he is right for the car has superb individual styling which looks good with the hood up or down in the best traditions of the world famous producer of sporting cars especially the legendary E-Type.
The F-Type is available in three models all powered by a 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol engine with differing outputs and my test car was the entry level car with the 340PS powertrain driving the rear wheels through an eight speed automatic gearbox and costing £58,520.
Not only were the handling and performance qualities of the F-Type extremely impressive - top speed 161mph and zero to 62mph in 5.1 seconds - but the sound of that marvellous engine which had Switchable Active Sports Exhaust a ?350 option really got the adrenalin flowing.
This device which is operated by a switch on the central console utilises electronically controlled bypass valves in the exhaust system to create a brilliant exhaust growl that makes the F-Type even more exciting to drive but be careful not to become a nuisance to the neighbours especially on early morning starts which are rather noisy!
I was fortunate to have some excellent late Spring sunshine and warm temperatures for some enjoyable topless driving and the fabric hood can be raised or lowered at speeds of up to 30mph at the touch of a switch which takes just 12 seconds.
I found the F-Type to be most enjoyable when out on my favourite Peak District roads where the nicely weighted steering and superb handling qualities enabled the Jag to cling limpet like to the road on fast bends providing really stimulating motoring aided by that raucous sound from the twin exhaust pipes.
The leather clad cockpit has plenty of room for the driver and passenger with a natty gearshift lever plus digital and analogue speedos but and this is my only grumble the seat belt was difficult to find and it would have been more user friendly if it had been offered to the driver on a small locator arm as in some other cars - I found it easier to belt up with the driver’s door open.
Even without a spare wheel the boot is very small and the driver and passenger will have to carefully plan what they are going to wear and take with them when going on holiday in the F-Type or even for a week-end break.
Jaguar say the combined fuel consumption for the F-Type is 31.4mpg but the on board computer showed that the average fuel consumption during my test period was around 25mpg which was still a good return for a three litre supercharged engine which at times was given plenty of welly!
With the F-Type which is now also available as a hard top coupe Jaguar has created something very special that has managed to recapture the qualities of the iconic E-Type and provide the company with a top sports car that raises the bar in this market sector.
My Verdict: A fabulous F-Type star car.
Model: Jaguar F-Type.
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 petrol.
Transmission: Eight speed automatic.
Top speed: 161mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 5.1 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 31.4mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 209g/km.
Price: £58,520 on the road.