Driving Experience – Any sports car enthusiast will tell you his or her favourite bit in this type of car. First would be acceleration, handling and with top up or down [depending on roadster or hard top coupe configuration] followed by exhaust notes and accompanying blips during gear changes. At the Norway event, we got the perfect opportunity to experience all of the above which are evaluative parameters. The winding and twisty mountain roads and flats, the extra long tunnels, the ferry ride and most of all perfect weather – all contributing to a delightful and sonorous experience with this car.
Despite the downsized engine, the Jaguar F-Type still packs in a lot of punch
Before we took off, we just made a mental calculation of a couple of things. So how does one get extra performance in a sports car? Well, there are typical arguments. Take as much of mass out by stripping non-essentials, ensure a good chassis with state-of-the-art management, perfect 50:50 axle weight ratio and driver friendly features like low profile wide aspect sports tyres, ventilated performance disc brakes et al. Well, this scenario in the F-Type is replicated to some extent, but the good part is that it hasn’t been stripped of essential features.
The drive was arranged in the mountain/Fjord region of Molde in Norway. The drive route seemed to be tailored specifically for this car and included the usual array of fast and slow corners, straight stretches, country roads and B-roads and some highway patches and not to forget the extra long tunnels. The half day long stint was good enough to give us a proper feel of both the coupe and convertible in its natural environment.
Considering the fact that the F-Type chassis can withstand the rigours of a 5.0-litre Supercharged V8 and 3.0-litre V6 or more in the say SVR variants, the 2.0-litre, turbocharged, 4-cylinder variant is clearly aimed to please and we think even the die-hard will appreciate its reasonably quick responses to the tap of the accelerator pedal, the lightening fast gear shifting, the planted feel, perfect weight of the electric steering and its point and shoot character of this 1525 kgs car.
The engine mapping ensures that there’s ample power at low revs and most drivers will appreciate that power availability comes with virtually no turbo lag. The engine can be pushed and one should appreciate what’s on offer rather than comparing with its high-performance and bigger engine siblings. Excellent torque delivery means that the grunt of a sports car is there and is the part which delights most besides the opening of the exhaust baffles at higher revs. The car also appears agile, partly due to its softer suspension settings and lighter overall weight. At times it even felt faster than its official 0-100 km/hr sprint time of 5.7 seconds. As expected, braking power is pretty impressive and distances short.
Verdict – An entry level F-Type with decent performance to match makes good business sense for buyers looking at the brand. Jaguar has succeeded in engineering the repackaging of the approximately five-year old model and there’s no reason not to shy away. It has got its heritage intact, timeless design and appears distinguished enough. But the real job will be with the marketing pundits as the segment gets crowded with a variety of offerings which offer various configurations and price points. How these ingredients are presented and bought will ultimately determine the fate of this variant. We are confident that this will be quite possible to achieve despite the difficulties in the current economic scenario worldwide.
* Still looks beautiful despite being not-so-new
* Extremely involving to drive on all types of roads
* Smaller engine means a more affordable price tag
What’s Not So Cool
* Feels a bit old now
* Won’t be as affordable in India as it should be
Alternatives: Porsche 718 Boxster, Porsche Cayman
Further Reading –