Written by: Calvin Chan
Photography by: Calvin and Sammy Chan
You know that feeling when a new Game of Thrones episode is about to begin? The intro music starts playing - the shivers, the thrill, the excitement. I felt the exact same feeling pulsing through my spine when I snatched the keys to this Jag. I've been waiting for this moment ever since I set my eyes on the seductive looks of the Jaguar C-X16 that debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. From that gaze onwards, I've watched the car evolve and morph into its current form and shape - the one we know as the F-Type.
Jaguar hit a bulls-eye with its #GoodToBeBad marketing campaign (say that again in Mark Strong's voice), showing off the Jaguar line-up driven by famous British actors. The commercials went viral on YouTube and at the Superbowl, launching the F-Type into most-wanted lists and bedroom wall posters. Drive it past a busy downtown intersection and you will understand its popularity. Head turns, double-takes, and cellphones being busted out for a picture to post on Instagram. How could you not? Just look at it. Everything about this 2015 Jaguar F-Type is pure theatre.
There are three trims available for the F-Type Convertible. The V6, V6S, and V8s. Our parking spot is harbouring the base model V6. Note that it's not the cheapest F-Type available, that honour goes to the V6 Coupe, which is $4000 cheaper. A quick rundown of the V6 trim - It has the least horsepower of the three, the least standard options, and the smallest wheels, but makes up for it with better fuel economy and a deflated price-tag. The million dollar question ($76,900 actually) lingering in my mind is if this supercharged V6 will suffice, or are we left wanting two more cylinders under our feline hood.
The F-Type shelters a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 in the front, and spits out 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, enough to launch it from 0-100km in 5.3 seconds (0.4s slower than the V6S and 1.0s slower than the V8S - yes it's sandwiched right in between). And if you should ever need it, this projectile can reach up to 260km/h.
The F-Type is matched up with an 8-speed automatic transmission from the folks at ZF, and they make some seriously quick transmissions. These buttery gearboxes brainwash you and wipe out any desire to own a manual, which in turn, has actually been one of the biggest complaints about the F-Type. How is the F-Type supposed to de-throne the Porsche 911 without a proper manual? Well there are rumours spreading that Jaguar is in the midst of engineering one. Yes please! But in the meantime, I have no complaints here.
And for those of us who drive turbocharged or natural aspirated vehicles, one of the first things you will realize when driving a supercharged Jag is how explosive and reactive the engine is. With a snap of the throttle, the car is up and about to speeds I can't even keep up with. Though it requires you to be alert, adrenaline junkies like us will be rewarded with the rush we thrive upon. Turbos just won't cut it anymore.
For that morning rush to work, there are two buttons that you'll always want turned on in the F-Type. The first is that checkered flag switch. This activates dynamic mode which stiffens the sport suspension, sharpens up the throttle response, puts more weight into the steering, and quickens the gear shifts. Mixing all these ingredients together, along with 50:50 weight distribution and rear-wheel drive, it makes for one extremely responsive machine that begs you to push its limits.
The second button is the optional $1650 Active Sports Exhaust, which is in my opinion, a must-have (note that it is standard on the V6S and V8S). You see that button in the center console that looks like two googly eyes (is that you WALL-E?), yes you'll want to turn that button on. It uses active bypass valves to allow exhaust gases to exit more directly for a deeper growl and crackle. Mash the gas pedal in a low gear, then lift your foot off entirely, and you'll summon that signature F-Type growl from the twin-pipe exhausts behind you - a raw and primitive noise. Snap. Crackle. Pop. Did I just hear thunder? Let's do that again.
And before you know it, you're at the gas station refueling. Yet, at times the exhaust notes can sound synthetic and forced. I've had passengers tell me it sounds like I ran over a water bottle, or that a pipe may have just burst, but it is nevertheless addictive. If you thought an XKR sounded good with its V8 growl, wait till you hear this sonorous sixer.
Enough about the good stuff. Let's talk about the vices of an F-Type - the ride quality. Yes you'll want a butt massage after riding in one of these through a traffic jam. Even in comfort mode, you can feel every bump on the tarmac and equates to an uncomfortable drive. Whereas the sport seats try to compensate by cushioning the ride with adjustable lumbar support and side bolsters. Luckily there is enough theatre in the engine and exhausts to keep your mind occupied away from your sore back.
Another nuisance is the visibility. The forward field of view is decent in the F-Type, even with the low seating, but the lack of rear-seat side windows means the blind spots, truly become blind spots when the roof is up. I suggest adding on the blind spot detection option. It's a worthy investment and really saves the embarrassment of poking your head out the window to make sure a car isn't creeping right next to you.
Fortunately, the F-Type isn't just about numbers and performance. In my opinion, it's one of the most beautiful cars on the road to this day, minus the iconic E-Type that it tries to replace. The F-Type's chief designer, Ian Callum, wanted to make the car so aerodynamic that even the door handles are hidden away inside the car panels, and appear only when the car is unlocked. The entire bodyframe is also made of aluminum to keep it light and agile. They didn't want a big spoiler to ruin the sleek design either, so they fitted a retractable one that will automatically raise above 112 km/h and retract back at 64 km/h, and all this reduces lift by up to 120kg.
So yes, chances are that if your spoiler is up, you're speeding. Hope the popo ain't reading this. But if you're just cruising along city streets, I'd keep that spoiler stashed away anyways. With the spoiler up, the F-Type looks like a tailored suit equipped with a pair of bright white running shoes. Sticks out like a sore thumb.
The roof can be raised or lowered in just 12 seconds, and when cruising at speeds up to 50km/h. So when you start to feel that trickle of rain down your arm, at least you won't have to pull over to keep yourself dry. Reminds me of this YouTube video that I like to call, Cruising in the Rain. The fabric roof does a pretty good job insulating the exterior noise, well, except the exhaust. At least you won't hear any wind noises.
And subtlety with the Active Exhaust isn't exactly the F-Type's strong suit either, but the deep Indigo Blue colour keeps the car looking classy instead of flashy. Have you even seen that orange colour that literally screams "look at me"?
Oh, and if you're having trouble distinguishing between the different F-Type trims, simply look at the rear exhausts. The V6 and V6S trims will have a twin exhaust pipe mounted in the center, while the V8 instead houses an pair of twin pipes on each side.
We were greeted inside the F-Type with a palette of soft shades, ranging from white sport seats to a black dashboard. You'll find a set of circular knobs to adjust the fan and heated seats, and situated below that are a row of airplane-inspired flip switches to control the hazard lights and heated windshields. And yes, they make a satisfying and mechanical clunk sound when pressed.. don't know how many times I've hit the windshield button just for the sake of hearing it.
Flick on the A/C and the fans will raise from its hidden nest - a special touch inspired by previous Jag interiors and reminiscent of the XF's hidden fan covers. And did you know that the door tread plates can be customized with any text to your liking? It's like giving your car a custom tattoo.
A keen eye will notice that the classic Jaguar rotary shifter is missing. It is now replaced by a proper leather stalk, similar to the one you would find in the new Range Rover Sport but is much skinnier and leaner. Keep in mind that the Range Rover and the Evoque still get the rotary shifter.
Frankly, the only seat in the F-Type that matters is the driver's one. You'll come to realize that when you sit in the passenger seat. That center grab bar handle really blocks you from meddling with the controls and serves as a chasm to separate the driver from the passenger - aka. don't touch my buttons.
And you might be wondering why our V6 interior is lacking a bit of that seductive bronze colour seen in other pictures online. In the V6S and V8 trims, all the best bits of the interior - the race button, paddle shifters, and start button - are doused in a bronze colour to give it that special feel. Unfortunately you won't see it in the V6.
Remember when we mentioned the rubbish ride quality? Well there's a second vice of this F-Type, and that is storage space. Though there is an abundance of compartments in the front, storage is truly lacking in the rear. It has only 200L of cargo space, and has very shallow pockets. Even my badminton rackets barely fit in there. Opt for the optional spare tire in the trunk and there is even less space. That's where the upcoming 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe version comes into play. Without the need to store the fabric roof, its houses a relatively whopping 324L of storage space - enough to fit your golf clubs and dufflebags.
Now, it's hard for us to compare the V6 to the V6S and V8S without testing all three. We have a V8S booked in late July, but something tells me I would probably choose the base V6 anyway. Though it lacks two cylinders, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, ambient lighting, or fancy bronzed paddle shifters, it still feels special and manages to check off all the right boxes - also saves you 10k from the V6S. Show me a V6, slap on the active exhaust option, some 19 inch wheels and toss me the keys. I'm going shopping because I got a few grand to spare.
型号 Model: 2015 Jaguar F-Type V6 Convertible
顏色 Paint Type: Indigo Blue Metallic ($600)
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $76,900
試車售價 Price as Tested: $85,450
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2622
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4470 / 1923 / 1308
車重 Weight (lb): 3520
引擎 Engine: 3.0L supercharged V-6
最大馬力 Horsepower-HP: 340 / 6500rpm
最高扭力 Torque-LB-FT: 332 / 3500-5000rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
前懸 Suspension-Front: Multi-link
後懸 Suspension-Rear: Multi-link
煞制-前 Brakes-Front: Vented disc
煞制-後 Brakes-Rear: Vented disc
循跡操控系统 ABS/Traction Control: Standard
油耗 Fuel Consumption (City/Highway/Combined)- L/100 km: 10.4 / 7.1 / 8.9 (ours tested 9.8 - aggressive driving will take you up to 10-11)
輪胎尺碼 Tires: 18-inch Vela alloy wheels - 245/45R18 (front) - 275/40R18 (rear)