Because it’s a Jag
Its boot is too small, the ride is a little harsh and the price tag is well beyond most ... but we don’t care — this big cat has insatiable appeal
AN unprompted comment from the primary school kid — “That’s a JAG!” — says it all.
The new F‒Type burbles quietly into the school grounds and gets an audible reaction that is rarely afforded other machines.
AMGs, Porsches and Astons turn heads and prompt conversations once they’re parked, but this comment is a first — the svelte curves, sharp creases and swooping design elements mesh beautifully.
Never before has any car had a tougher task than this — Jaguar’s F‒Type has a herculean task to shift the shadow of its E‒Type forebear.
Given the age gap, it’s probably never going to do it, nor is it a fair comparison, but there’s one thing not in dispute.
The new Jag, like its ancestor, is charisma on wheels. Impractical? Certainly. Indulgent? Absolutely. Talented? No question. Overpriced? Probably — but I still want one, even though for about the same price as a bathing box on Melbourne’s Brighton Beach or a home in regional Tasmania, you can have this two-seater ragtop.
The sticker — not that it’s so tacky as to have one on its windscreen — has a retail price of $171,000 but this example as tested won’t give much change from $200,000.
Standard fare includes a limited-slip diff (the active version is saved for the supercharged V8).
There are 19‒inch alloy wheels (with a boot‒eroding space-saver spare), bi‒xenon headlights, LED running and tail-lights, auto‒dimming rear vision mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, power‒adjustable, folding and heated exterior mirrors, leather‒trimmed sports seats with power adjustment (even for the side bolsters), satnav, grippy leatherwrapped sports steering wheel and climate control.
The Meridian Bluetooth/ USB equipped sound system has been optioned up to a 12‒speaker surround sound job (a quality noise but largely surplus to aural requirements in this car).
Among other options are 20‒inch alloys. Then there’s a “special paint charge” of $5620 for the black/purple amethyst paint job — as tested it’s $196,750. Ouch.
Active sports exhaust — centre‒mounted twin pipes for the supercharged V6 and the V8 gets outboard quad‒pipes — speaks volumes in more ways than one.
Cloth roof up or down, there’s a delicious soundtrack even at part‒throttle — but full whack on the loud pedal (with the active sports exhaust button depressed) is Armageddon. Imagine, if you can, a hive of angry wasps on a diet of raspberry cordial armed with demolition saws — that’s about as close as I can get to describing the noise this thing makes in a tunnel.
Or you could ask the handful of drivers who slowed down nearby in other lanes — matching my decreasing speed — to hear what was coming . . .
Noise‒making capacity apart, the supercharged 24‒valve 3.0‒litre V6 is good for 280kW at 6500rpm and churns out 460Nm between 3500rpm and 5000rpm, the urge channelled aft by way of the clever and enthusiastic ZF eight-speed automatic with paddleshifters.
Tipping the scales at 1614kg, it’s not far off being hefty — alloy construction has helped keep the figure somewhat on the lithe side.
Still, the V6 claims 4.9 secs to reach 100km/h and a top speed of 275km/h.
At the more genteel end of the spectrum, the boffins at Jag say it can be coaxed into drinking at a rate of 9.1L of premium unleaded per 100km from the 70‒litre tank, although enthusiastic exploration of its abilities elevates the thirst figure to the low to mid teens.
Cruising at a more proper pace is a calm and refined experience — roof in place, it’s very quiet and even roof‒down motoring isn’t overly blustery — but flick all the electronics to mental‒mode and you can feel it tense up.
The ride quality remains good — the adaptive damping system used by Jag has always been quietly effective — but it sinks its claws into corners without any flexing or skittish nonsense. Excellent brakes bite hard, the suspension fights the nosedive.
Turn into a bend with the delightful well‒weighted steering, backed by the soundtrack on overrun that’s symphonic in its delivery — snap, crackle and pop isn’t just a phrase for breakfast cereal marketing — then accelerate to deliver chills up the spine.
Using the paddles in full Sport Dynamic mode isn’t overruled by the computer either, which points to the development goals of a genuine driver’s car, although the gear selector can still be a bit finicky about selections if you haven’t got the brakes on and pushed the button firmly.
There’s back‒up for the driver from the stability control (which can be turned off) as well as four airbags, rear sensors and reversing camera (which delivers an impressive image), old‒school roll hoops and even a pedestrian‒friendly impact‒ sensing pop‒up bonnet.
It’s advisable not to take much baggage — the spacesaver spare sits (covered) in the shallow small boot, ostensibly leaving 148L of space in the nooks around it. We hear the coupe has the load space sorted better than this . . . but that wouldn’t be hard.
A Porsche Boxster has 280L all up — 150L in the snout and 130L in the rear (but it’s above the engine!) and even a Smart Fortwo has 220L.
The Boxster has 61 per cent predicted retained value versus the Jag’s 57 per cent.
Occupants (provided they are travelling light) are looked after — although there’s not bucketloads of space for phones, keys or overfilled wallets either — but the driver and passenger can get snug and comfortable.
The designers have even given the passenger a triangular handle on the centre console in lieu of a “Jesus handle” above the door — thoughtful, in a requisite kind of way.
Emotional appeal is difficult to capture or quantify but the newest cat on the block oozes charismatic charm with a malevolent undertone. Anyone with an eye for numbers is going to look at the more practical (and just as quick) Boxster S for $40,000 less. Don’t. You can’t put a price on passion.