Head over heels for the Jaguar F-TYPE

by Petrol Mum

‘…as she crept around the corner all my love for her instantly returned’. It could be a line from a romance novel, but this was actually my first reaction on seeing the new F-TYPE in the metal. Some of the cars I have driven over the past three years have left a lasting impression on my heart and the F-TYPE is one of them.

At the end of 2019 Jaguar released the refreshed design for the F-TYPE and since then I have been eager to drive one for myself. The F-TYPE is a classic looking sexy sports car and rather than going for a shock factor, like some car companies, Jaguar has simply finessed the already beautiful lines of the F-TYPE. Slimmer headlights and a revised front bumper design are the two most obvious exterior changes.

When I pressed the flush mounted door handle of this Eiger Grey First Edition P380 Coupé, stepped over the brushed metal First Edition tread plates and seated myself into the side hugging sports seats, I instantly knew that it had been worth the wait. I was greeted with the familiar smell of Jaguar Windsor leather and it all felt like home. I soon found my ideal driving positon in the 12-way power adjusted seats and power adjusted steering column and saved them on one of the three memory positons. For convenience the seat controls are located at the front of the door so that you don’t have to blindly fiddle with controls next to the seat.

This trim colour is Mars red and the First Edition includes leather seats and leather dash, all of which look and feel very special. I also really like the Ebony suedecloth headlining and the optional fixed panoramic sunroof ($2,110). The other classy thing I liked was the press button to open the glovebox, so much more attractive than a lever to open it.

There have not been many changes in the cabin and storage space is still at a premium. There is no storage behind the seats, so your handbag will need to be placed on the passenger seat or if you are enjoying a drive with your significant other then the only option is the passenger side foot well, which does mean they are cramped for space. There is a cloth-lined storage cubby in the doors that is perfect for sunglasses and under the armrest is a felt-lined cubby for your phone that contains two USB ports and one 12V outlet.

Another update on the new F-TYPE is the driver’s dash now has a 12.3-inch virtual instrument cluster that can be configured to your personal liking. The leather steering wheel remains familiar also with infotainment controls and buttons for the standard cruise control.

I really liked the Limited Edition Aluminium instrument panel finish around the gear selector and 10-inch Touch Pro infotainment screen. All F-TYPE variants come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard plus DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity. Mine was fitted with the optional Meridian Surround Sound System with 770W, 12 speakers including 2 subwoofers, with 7.1 Surround Sound Meridian Trifield Technology ($7,260).

Enough of the small talk, what you really want to do is hit the start button of the 3.0 litre supercharged engine under the bonnet, unleashing its growl as it awakens. It’s not as loud as the SVRs I have previously driven, but will still got my heartrate going. The P380 produces 280kW @ 6,250rpm and 460Nm between 4,500-5,000rpm so there is good reason to chase the revs. The claimed 0-100km/h time is 4.9 seconds and this big cat will sprint to a top speed of 275km/h. The official combined fuel consumption is 8.6L/100km and I used 11.4L/100km for my week driving around in a spirited mood.

If you are anything like me the first thing you will do after start up is engage Dynamic mode and put the active exhaust on loud. My F-TYPE came with Configurable Dynamics ($3,980 option) and this meant I could adjust the engine, gear shift, steering and suspension between Comfort or Dynamic mode. But for me the standard Dynamic setup is fine as I feel the suspension is right in the sweet spot of being sporty, but not too harsh. In addition to standard Comfort mode you also get rain/ice/snow mode, the one that wouldn’t be used much in Australia.

With Dynamic mode engaged and the gear shift in Sport mode the F-TYPE will excitedly rev to 6,500rpm before upshifting automatically. I found that downshifts using the Aluminium wheel-mounted paddles the 8-speed automatic transmission were quite responsive all the way down to first gear. One of the updates on this new F-TYPE was a recalibrated Quickshift transmission for faster, crisper gear changes.

The rear central mounted active exhaust system provides plenty of pops and bangs on the overrun as you change up and down gears. On hard acceleration the exhaust tone gradually increases as the rpm rises before you snatch the next gear and start again. The sound is pleasant and never overtakes the cabin at any point.

The engine power, chassis setup and tyres felt to me perfectly attuned with each other and even under hard acceleration from a standing start there was next to no loss of traction. I felt very confident of the car underneath me and thoroughly enjoyed my driving time in the F-TYPE whether on the motorway or twisty tarmac.

Driver assistance on the F-TYPE includes autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist (with steering vibrate or steering assistance) and a standard rear view camera with front and rear parking sensors. I was nearly caught out by the front sensors and discovered that they default to off, so you need to make sure you turn them on to use when Drive is engaged. My F-TYPE also had the optional Blind Spot Assist pack ($900), which includes blind spot assist with steering assist or alert only and rear traffic monitor.

Fans of golf will be keen to know that the boot looks large enough for a golf bag and the rest of us will want to know there is ample room for enough luggage for a weekend away or the mundane weekly shop. Under the boot floor was an additional storage area that contained the tyre repair kit. The boot can be opened and closed using the button under the boot lid, the key fob or a button in the cabin thanks to the power tailgate option fitted on my F-TYPE ($1,160).

Some negatives include the fact that Jaguar still charges for options that I believe should come as standard on a vehicle that costs more the $200k. Things like two-zone climate control for $1,040 and the powered tailgate really should be standard inclusions and voice control should also be available. And there was one exterior design element I thought was not attractive on the F-TYPE; the deployable rear spoiler. It can be manually raised or lowered using a button on the centre console or automatically rises when you reach 120km/h.

Every new Jaguar comes with a comprehensive three-year/100,000km warranty that can be extended for an additional 12 or 24 months, up to 200,000Kms, for extra peace of mind. Services are complimentary for all F-TYPE models for the first five years or 130,000km, whichever comes first and five years of 24/7 roadside assistance is also included.

Like the bounding Jaguar on the side of this sexy Coupé I would recommend that more people to take the leap and sample this sports car for themselves. Prices for the F-TYPE First Edition P380 Coupé start at $204,936 plus on-road costs and as tested my F-TYPE was $225,996 plus on roads. Visit your preferred Jaguar retailer to drive the new F-TYPE.

Sexy exterior and interior designLimited in-cabin storage
That supercharged V6 engineOptional extras that should come as standard
The driving experienceThe unattractive deployable rear wing

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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