Imagine you’re in your late 20s, earn good money, the city apartment in the Westend has a spacious and easily accessible underground car park and your girlfriend is at least as prepared for a career as you are Children. It’s time to communicate automotive prosperity to those around you. In the following lines, we will reveal why the Jaguar F-Type P450 AWD is exactly the right car for this purpose (combined fuel consumption: 11.0 – 10.6 l / 100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 252 – 244 g / km²).
Visually a sports car
It’s a sports car. At least visually. The new front, adapted to the current Jaguar Facia, did not necessarily do its exterior good. The Jaguar F-Type remains a feast for the eyes from the side and especially from the rear, which current competitors can rarely hold a candle to. Perhaps the Jaguar doesn’t necessarily have to be painted white (the First Edition we drive is only available in three colors), that enhances its visual presence too much and lacks a little elegance. But the “zeitgeist” may like that just as well. The same applies to the red painted brake calipers (they are so in 2002 that they look modern again and cost 376.20 euros extra) and the deep dark tinted rear window (536.16 euros extra).
The interior: a bit old
The interior, on the other hand, is drawn in a pleasantly calm manner, but may seem a bit antiquated to one or the other iPhone user of the younger generation. The fact that the previously analog combination of instruments has now been completely digitized doesn’t help. Because, on the other hand, the matt infotainment display in the center console looks a bit older, although it is quick and easy to use. The processing of the leather, artificial leather and Alcantara applications is neat, finely embroidered decorative seams give a feel-good character. Nevertheless, the interior in its black monotony lacks sophistication and the ventilation unit, which only extends when necessary, does not help over this impression.
We start the unit at the push of a button and with it a special feature: The V6 compressor (with either 340 or 380 hp), which was previously available in two power levels, has been out of the range since the facelift. It makes room for a slightly castrated variant of the five-liter eight-cylinder, also supercharged. The 300 hp four-cylinder (here in the test) as well as the 575 hp top variant.
Civilized appearance for the new F-Type
At the same time as the launch, Jaguar surprised us: The F-Type remains quiet! Where you used to have to apologize to your neighbors, the four tailpipes hold back more than with a cold start and in the low speed and rev range. Like a cat on velvet paws, the F-Type steers from its traditional underground parking space. Even James Bond, who has never driven a Jaguar in a leading role, would be proud of this stealth mode, which is not a mode at all, but in the F-Type: Series.
As much as we expressed our amazement about it at the beginning and desperately pressed the button for the exhaust flaps (which, let me say, doesn’t make a serious difference), the more pleasant we found driving the F-Type P450 in everyday life. No starry airs anger annoyed city dwellers anyway. Only those who really step in and keep the engine speed above 4,000 revolutions get a garish V8 sound that is vaguely reminiscent of the 4.7-liter engines from the Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Oh, there it is again, the very little Bond parallel.
The gear is a poem
While these Brits mostly had an automated manual transmission that took a lot of getting used to, the F-Type driver now has an eight-speed automatic transmission without any alternative. In its serenity, this could hardly be a better match for this drive combination. Early shifts and long holding in high gears in everyday rush hour traffic, jagged reaction to shift commands with racy double-declutching when downshifting on the fast after-work lap over the house route. This is how a transmission should be!
Chassis and steering: built for everyday and long-distance use
The chassis and steering combination also does a decent job everywhere. Whereby the layout of the F-Type as a front mid-engine and a seating position arranged far back make a balanced coordination necessary, which was largely achieved. Basically, we never felt the need to put the adaptive dampers in Dynamic mode. Always crisp but never too tight or too dry, the F-Type cushions successfully, without decoupling the driver or building up too high a roll. Sufficient residual comfort for the motorway is also retained, so that long journeys are not a problem, but a pleasure.
The steering remains a topic in itself: it lacks a bit of directness around the central position, while the weighting is mostly good and the directness increases with increasing steering angle. This also makes driving on the motorway pleasant, but leaves the last bit of spontaneity when turning into the fast cornering missed. A little more general feedback from the front axle would also be nice. So you can feel, especially in the popometer, that the F-Type does not mark rapidly driven country roads as its preferred area. The road holding is very good, but at the same time the entire car is a bit sluggish there. The driver feels more like a limousine than a real sports car. You can not have everything.
The castrated V8 lacks a little persuasiveness
The 450 hp supercharged V8 left a surprisingly ambivalent impression. And not because of its inadequate volume, but because, purely subjectively, it lacked a bit of pulling power despite 580 Nm. Yes, 4.6 seconds at country road speed and a top speed of 285 kilometers per hour are good figures and if you press the right pedal against the floor pan, you are also pushing forward. But there is always the feeling of just being adequately motorized. The drive is by no means under-challenged, especially above 180 km / h, to bring the F-Type up to top speed. In return, what is offered on the country road is just right: You don’t need 500-plus horsepower here to convey driving pleasure! The sinewy acceleration of the V8, its revving and of course the said sound conjured up a more or less big grin on everyone’s face.
Realistic consumption information
This only freezes when you look at the tank level: Due to its size of 70 liters, it reminds you to refill relatively quickly. And you rarely reach distances of more than 450 kilometers per filling with a sporty pace. With the utmost discipline, we achieved average values with just under 10 before the decimal point, otherwise we like to deliver 15 liters and more through the eight combustion chambers.
And what remains Well, the realization that upsizing from V6 to V8 does not always have to be beneficial. Despite a nominal 70 horsepower more, we didn’t find anything in the mental comparison to the previous F-Type V6 S that the weaker of the two V8s now offered could do significantly better than its predecessor. For one or the other, this may be a matter of the heart, some might opt for the new one based on the appearance alone. But remember: James Bond didn’t do that well with that either. Anyone who primarily needs a sporty car that is suitable for every day and every weather and that is not on every corner will do everything right with an F-Type P450 AWD. The prices the British call for this are quite fair. Instead of the First Edition, we would choose the R-Dynamic version, which is a good 9,000 euros cheaper and offers one thing above all else: a larger selection of colors. (Text & Image: Maximilian Planker)