Jaguar F-Type V8 S Convertible: Villainous Extreme
The world seems to be in awe of heroes as they imbibe the good in everything they do but to think of it what makes them heroes is their might to defeat the villains. It takes a lot to be a good ‘Villain’; strength is just a primary requirement, he has to sound right, have an authority over everybody and should have an evil poise.
To top it up, if he is a Brit that’s an added bonus you can’t afford to overlook. Just like the Jaguar F-Type. This compact high performance sports car made it to the headlines for numerous reasons which include its gorgeous design inspiration from the E-Type of earlier years, its radical exhaust note, which by far is the most beautiful ever to come out of an automobile and then the supercharged hooligan inspiring performance which can make you taste metal being spit out by the 5.0 litre V8 engine. It has a potential to blur the ambience around in just 4.2 seconds.
Surprisingly, it has not dropped from hell above but crafted at the Castle Bromwich production facility in UK. Being an icon, one can’t just review the Jaguar F-Type instead can only share his experience. Here is ours.
There is no doubt that Jaguar makes cars to look perfect as wallpaper on every dreamy kid’s wall but with the F-Type, they have gone a lot further than ever imagined. The clean lines on this engineering marvel tell a story by itself with an appropriate start, a meaningful continuation and an elegant conclusion. It is an extremely modern car with lines pulled out from the earlier E-Type, a true classic.
Giving life to the C-X16 concept showcased in 2011, the F-Type manages to look even better. The bold angular grille with a solid bar garnished with the screaming logo give it a distinct look which continues over the long and muscular hood. Strapped under the hood is a menace creating heart and the signature power bulge running over it is a clear give away. The bi-xenon headlamps with integral ‘J blade’ LED daytime running lights can make you wait at night only to get a glimpse of the light work.
To support air flow and also give it a right direction over the body and into the engine bay, there are grand vertical scoops in front. To reduce resistance and make it more aerodynamic, even the door handles are hidden neatly, they angle out when unlocked. Every sheet of metal is beautifully pressed and cut to perfection to make it look as timeless as possible.
The subtle haunch on the rear wheel which moves upwards and outwards clearly point the rear wheel drive wheels. What makes it look even saucier are the tornado shaped multi spoke alloys paired with chunky 295 / 30 R20 tyres, which are also responsible for translating those mind boggling power and torque numbers into real time performance.
It being a convertible came with a soft top fabric roof made of ultra premium and light material which insulated the cabin completely from ambient noise, once closed. Complimenting the car’s performance, even the roof closes in 12 seconds and can be operated at speeds up to 50 km/h, that’s reasonably fast; faster than the one in Ferrari 488 Spider to be precise. Once the cover is off, it takes minimal space and folds neatly behind into a compact stowage, also not to spoil the sharp derriere
The rear arrangement of slender tail lights running all the way from the side and tastefully intruding the central section looks orchestrated. There are not many elements seen here, yet it leaves an amazing impression. And then there are those handsome quad pipes dipped in chrome and placed at an angle from the tarmac, which aren’t anything less than art.
Inside the F-Type, there is rather an emotional approach than being functional as the feeling of being wrapped in the arms of power leave you spellbound. For this, they took inspiration from cockpits seen in fighter aircrafts. The use of premium quality interiors with the finest of leather won’t make you leave this capsule ever.
Unlike in other sports cars, this one wants you to spend more time ogling at the intricate details. Like for starters, the trims and seats are done in black with steel and chrome highlights. The only other colour which stands out from the mono themed interior is the bronzed start button along with the paddle shifters tucked behind the steering wheel. These meticulous details with simple mannerism are very engaging.
Well bolstered seats, which can be electrically adjusted with controls mounted on the door panel, are comforting in nature. The lumbar support won’t harass you at all and if it does, for someone like me on the healthier side, just a small twist of a knob and the support eases up to accommodate anyone of any size. Stretch your legs to reach the throttle pedal without brushing the knee as even the steering column can be rake and reach adjusted by the means of a button.
The asymmetric cabin is primarily aimed at focussing on the driver’s needs, while the front passenger gets to do nothing but play around with the knurled AC knobs, fiddle with the infotainment or even play a track and enjoy the crooned after effect flowing out of the hi-fi Meridian sound system. Back to the driver, once he is done adjusting his length and width on the seat, he can have a clear view of the instrumental cluster which is very lucid and dramatic at the same time.
The thick steering wheel gives enough grip, not to make the fingers slip away while manoeuvring this monster around the tightest of turns and curves. It also gets soft touch buttons to operate various functions. The ear like paddle shifters stick out and are tempting to be played around. On the central console is the stubby gear shift lever which comes handy during quick shifts. In addition to traction control, parking brake and roof operation buttons, there is a small toggle shifter which selects a chequered flag icon. What does it do? Read the performance section of this review.
Rest assured, you don’t need to have a celebrity status once inside the F-Type. This gorgeous little cracking of a car gets and attracts every possible eye ball on the street; age and sexes no bar. After picking it from the swanky Worli dealership, we headed straight to Worli Sea Link carefully dodging speed breakers and motorcyclists who wish to capture it on their cell phones. Kids reacting is one thing as it might appear space age stuff since not many are sighted often but looking at adult’s screaming and giving a thumbs up is an another feel.
Supercars aren’t much comforting especially in traffic as their odd seating and small cave of a cabin don’t help in getting the right judgement, the F-Type is nothing like that at all. The wide front glass with the correct seating position makes it a convenient car. It will obviously not be the mundane ride for a typical Jag owner, but if he still wishes to, there won’t be any sweating to do.
How can you be driving a snarling V8 and not have any fun, well that’s what we kept doing throughout. A subtle push on the throttle and the bark of the exhaust gets louder, hinting at its strong potential to tear out anything that comes in way. I was getting extremely curious and anxious, like a kid with a new toy, to see what this car could do but Mumbai traffic curbed all my enthusiasm. Nevertheless, I continued finding the other benefits and did get many. Firstly, the gripping steering wheel, is a breeze to operate and can help you take any turn or just swivel around anything on the road and secondly, the audio system is an absolute delight, hearing Lana Del Rey’s Burning Desire is a strong recommend.
With the intrusion of computers and savvy technology, the joy of real driving is diminishing but with the F-Type, you won’t feel any of that. Instead, it is one of the best things that have happened to the automobile industry. The precision and exactness of the handling is simply amazing. It doesn’t feel like a slave robot on heels as it has a mind of its own and you need to respect that.
Once it reached open tarmac, undisturbed and un-hacked by traffic, it was time to let the roof fold and the 12 second timeline appeared rather too short. ‘Let the ultimate fun begin’, I said to myself. Descended the right foot more and the snarling coarse vintage track got lively, those quad pipes were behaving more like instruments playing the best track I have ever ever heard. Fooling around had to take a complete back seat as things around looked blurry.
It doesn’t scarily set you off your seat and that is a good thing. There is a bit of drama though which is accompanied by the screaming V8 making your senses realise the exact things happening in this 2-seater of a capsule. The tacho needle kept clocking higher revs, without any sort of lag, craving to be driven harder than you can actually dare to. Supporting all this is the quick shift 8-speed transmission which is also extremely intelligent to judge driving style and accordingly modify the shift patterns. If you are in a mood to break lap records and are sitting with a racing driver’s soul, the gear ratios are held for a longer time to help the engine build the right momentum and then if you are carving an arch around the corners, the unit will select the right gear to help you exit the bend without much of scare.
Preferred the box taking over when inside the city, the smooth and gentle shifts were absolute joy but on highways, my thumbs got in the playful act as they kept clicking the paddle shifts with rest of the fingers clamping the steering with full grip. As the toggle switch was pushed towards the chequered flag on the central console, there were multiple changes like the instrumental cluster got a glowing red surround, meaning a fist of fury style of action was anticipated next and indeed, it doesn’t lie at that claim.
The dynamic mode modifies the driving behaviour completely by tuning the throttle response, making it sharper, increases the steering weighting and also quickens gear shifts. It also cancels automatic upshifts in manual mode. The gearbox and the throttle work in tandem as the throttle is made to ‘blip’ to match the shifts; there is a rapid downshift if the unit senses hard braking.
So while I kept doing what I love the most i.e. driving it hard with a gleaming smile on my face, there was a lot happening underneath. The lightweight aluminium chassis helps it not to cross lines but stay in it with absolute control, the active electronic differential which comes standard on the V8 S models limits wheel spin, offers better traction and also better control.
Also supporting the act of enthusiasm is the tarmac digging wide section Pirelli tyres which offer an amazing grip of carrying 1665kgs with equal mass distribution along the wheelbase. The damper settings are more towards stiffer ride quality and the suspension too is on the active side. It does manage to level out uneven undulations and rough surfaces with great ease. Even in terms of braking, there is no denying that they are the best in business. It makes use of a high performance system with the largest set of brake discs fitted as standard on any Jaguar production car.
All such high praise won’t have been possible without the supremely powerful 5.0 V8 engine snapped inside the hood. It is capable of making a stomach crunching 495 PS of power and 625 Nm of jaw breaking torque that too at a piddly 2500 rpm. These numbers appear herculean on paper but the real time feel can give a sprain in the neck and make eyes watery as the lightening performance of this Jag falls short of nothing at all.
|Power in PS/RPM||495 / 6500|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||625 / 2500 - 5500|
|Gears||8 - AT|
|Wheel base mm||2622|
|Kerb Weight in Kg||1665|
|Ground clearance mm||NA|
|Fuel tank capacity L||72|
|Front Tyres||255 / 35 R20|
|Rear Tyres||295 / 30 R20|
|Features||Convertible 5.0 LITRE V8|
|Jaguar Super Performance Braking System with Red calipers||Yes|
|Electronic Active Differential||Yes|
|Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS)||Yes|
|Torque Vectoring by Braking||Yes|
|Switchable Active Sports Exhaust||Yes|
|Quad exhaust pipes||Yes|
|50.80 cm (20) Gyrodyne alloy wheels||Yes|
|Configurable Dynamic Mode with 'Dynamic-i' display||Yes|
|'R' themed Premium Leather interior with twin stitching||Yes|
|Flat bottomed leather 'R' sports steering wheel||Yes|
|Gloss Black side sill extensions||Yes|
|Two-piece raised bonnet vents in Gloss Black finish||Yes|
|Available with Automatic Transmission||Yes|
|Meridian Sound System 770W||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||V8 S||Inline 6|
|Power in PS/RPM||495 / 6500||431 / 5500|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||625 / 2500 - 5500||550 / 1,850-5,500|
|Gears||8 - AT||7 - AT|
|Wheel base mm||2622||2812|
|Kerb Weight in Kg||1665||1595|
|Fuel tank capacity L||72||NA|
|Front Tyres||255 / 35 R20||255 / 40 R18|
|Rear Tyres||295 / 30 R20||275 / 40 R18|
There aren’t many reasons to buy the F-Type except for one, it’s a Jaguar; a car which breaks the stillness of mundane and brings character and dynamism to everything around. It does not look like any other mass production car as its gorgeous styling and ravishing interiors speak for themselves. In fact, we must all thank Jaguar in unison for their significant contribution to the automobile history with the F-Type, a sports car which will be remembered as a cult for years to come much like Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and R.D.Burman.
For the ones standing with folded arms sceptical about signing the dotted line for this piece or British history, request them to get their ears near the quad pipes to hear the noble whisper from God himself. This Villain of a machine with a soul of a devil and a heart of a monster can outwit any hero that comes its way proving only one thing. It is Good to be Bad.