Luxe

Beauty in the beast

Dhiram Shah | Updated on November 30, 2018

Size doesn’t matter: A well-behaved engine that knows its job makes the new Jaguar F-type an unforgettable driving experience

The Jaguar F-type downsizes its engine but upsizes the handling

When I first got to know that I would be taking a Jaguar F-type for a spin, it didn’t occur to me that this was going to be as scintillating — even if intimidating in bits — as it turned out to be. Waiting gallantly outside my residence was this spectacle of craft and technology. Yet, under the boldly curving hood of the two-door beast was a well-behaved engine that would soon give me an unforgettable driving experience.

The coupé model isn’t something we Indians are entirely at home with. But the F-type is for those who’d trade people-room for an experience that is out-of-the-ordinary. That’s the magic of this machine. The large panoramic roof slopes graciously, leading up to interestingly-shaped tail lights. It’s nearly 10 inches longer than the Audi TT RS and has a wheelbase of 103.2 inches. There are two glaring LED headlamps up in the front. The car is an unfailing head-turner, even when it’s crawling through city traffic. The quad exhausts, the growl and its very being made it stand out in the smoggy Mumbai morning.

A driver’s car

Reach for the quaint door handle and you’ll notice that the door hosts controls for the driver. Much like the rest of the car, this too is completely driver-centric. The sporty seats can be adjusted to your comfort levels. The dash doesn’t seem as elaborate as one would expect but they’ve got everything represented nice and large. The engine can be kicked to life with a button on the left and the gear lever is as sporty as it gets. The F-type’s interior controls will disappoint someone who prefers digital interfaces. There are far too many buttons in here, right from the doors to the assortment around the gear stick. The AC vents resurrect from their default state rather ceremoniously. There isn’t much behind the seats though, but I’m sure you wouldn’t pick an F-type for a generous boot.

In good hands: The Jaguar F-type offers good handling with an evident rumble of power felt on the wheel as you manoeuvre it through unpredictable roads

 

The InControl Touch Pro infotainment system is what stands out, especially with its valet mode. Some may complain that it isn’t as well laid out as that of the BMW’s but you could feel at home with it sooner than you’d expect. The portable media sockets are available in the box near the seat. Connect your source there and you’re good to be entertained for a long ride. I find it rather convenient to play my in-car music from a pen-drive or by syncing my phone with the system, directly.

Mechanics behind the machine

This is the first time that Jaguar has produced the F-Type with fewer than six cylinders. The two-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine will surprise you with the performance it belts out. The Ingenium engine, made by JLR, produced 296 bhp at 5,500 rpm with 295 lb-ft of torque from just 1,500 rpm through to 4,500 rpm. The eight-speed automatic gearbox prepares the rear wheels for power-packed driving through highways. Of course, it’s a guzzler, something to note while purchasing it for Indian roads.

What matters is the impressive 0-100 kmph climb in just 5.1 seconds with a top speed in the range of over 270 kmph. All this needs to be credited to the configuration, which is 50 kg lighter than what it would be, had Jaguar picked a V6 engine for this one. The downsizing is justified by this alone.

Setting the mood

The Jaguar F-type offers good handling with an evident rumble of power felt on the wheel as you manoeuvre it through unpredictable roads. The small engine makes it easier to handle as does the massive discount on bulk that the configuration allowed. The rear drive setup was the hero proposition of the car for me. The low tones of sound produced each time you step on the accelerator make the F-type a delight for car lovers. The random bangs that are emitted from the exhausts are rather cool, even when you’re stationary at a red light. The tyres are narrower and the springs a lot softer than most of its peers, which makes steering convenient.

I was told that the car performed fairly well even on slippery, sleet-coated roads. If only, I could enjoy it first-hand during the monsoons. Thanks to safety features such as ABS (anti-lock braking system), EBD (electronic brakeforce distribution), ESP (extrasensory perception) and Tractional Control, you can be assured that you’ll have a smooth ride against most weather conditions. The driving modes help you get through all conditions. For the overcautious, I would recommend switching from automatic to manual driving and using the Dynamic preset for driving. What surprised me about the F-type is the way it reacted to potholes and speed breakers. It seemed to have been at home in dealing with these inconsistencies without sudden jerks or crashes, which I have experienced with other cars in this category.

For all practical purposes, the Jaguar F-type is a preferable coupé than some of the other more extreme supercars, because it is easier to handle, and can stroll through traffic with great gusto. It offers a fuel efficiency of 11.5 kmpl on highways and 8 kmpl in the city. On some stretches, I measured fuel efficiency of over 15 kmpl as well. This is good even for the standards of a guzzler, as mentioned before. What’s more is that it is a beautiful car. It’s a machine you want to walk towards, one that you would love finding in your garage each morning.

Dhiram Shah is the Mumbai-based founder of LuxuryLaunches.com

Published on November 29, 2018

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