Jaguar is keen for us to see the F-type as a spiritual successor to the E-type, and the ingredients are certainly there.
Launched in 2013, it has various nods to the ’60s icon in its styling, notably the ‘mouth’ and distinctive tail-lights – plus the fact that (to our eyes) it looks better as a coupé than a roadster. And, like the E, it offers the performance of far more exotic rivals for a realistic price.
We have to start with that performance. In SVR form there’s 567bhp on offer from Jaguar Land Rover’s ubiquitous supercharged 5-litre V8, which means slingshot pace in any gear, despite it weighing a hefty 1705kg.
It smashes through the 60mph barrier in just 3.5 secs, and tops out at a supercar-baiting 200mph, all the while accompanied by what sounds like a couple of warbirds dogfighting behind, overlaid with an addictive supercharger whine.
The redline begins at 6600rpm, yet on public roads things are getting pretty scary – and illegal – by 4500, even in third. A standard F-type is a noisy, hard and rapid machine; the SVR is noisier, harder and a whole lot more bonkers.
Yet more impressive than the raw speed is the way it’s delivered. The smaller-engined, rear-drive F-types regularly trouble their electronic stability systems, but in four-wheel-drive SVR form traction is outrageous. Off the line the Jag just grips and goes, and the same applies when putting the power down early out of a corner: it’s composed, controlled and deeply impressive.
The beautifully weighted steering filters out any semblance of kickback, yet retains far more feedback than most modern systems, with delicious accuracy. Switch to ‘Dynamic’ mode and the car gets stiffer, harder and more focused, the smooth auto ’box serving up immediate, aggressive changes when commanded by the steering wheel-mounted paddles.
Yet although there’s grip and body control enough to ensure that your passenger will need the large grabhandle, it’s delivered without the back-breaking ride you might expect, particularly when you switch to ‘Normal’ – but then Jaguar always was a master of chassis that blended balance and suppleness.
Inside, it’s cosseting. The slightly blousy diamond-stitched leather chairs are lightweight and hip-hugging, yet comfortable; the suede dashboard adds purpose; and, although it’s a strict two-seater, it even has a decent boot.
So, an E-type for the new millennium? Not really, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The way that it nips at the heels of impractical mid-engined supercars, yet also doubles as a continent-crossing GT, capable of delivering its occupants unruffled and relaxed, brings to mind another legendary two-seater. For me it’s more like a modern-day Ferrari Daytona… and you can’t get much higher praise than that.
Images: David Shepherd
- Engine 5000cc supercharged V8; 567bhp @ 6500rpm; 516lb ft @ 3500-5000rpm
- Transmission eight-speed auto, 4WD
- Mpg 25
- 0-60mph 3.5 secs
- Top speed 200mph
- Price £112,525