Written by: Calvin Chan
Photography by: Calvin and Sammy Chan
For the record, this car is quite the troublemaker. And I'm not talking about speeding tickets or Need for Speed police chases, I'm talking about the noise complaints from my neighbours when I come blasting home, full throttle, at 1am in the morning. The horses churning in that mighty V8 exit through four exhaust pipes and emits a distinctive roar, one that turns the slumbering streets of Markham into an audiophilic warzone with gunshot crackles and pops. And when I thought the F-Type V6 couldn't get any louder, flooring the V8 throttle for the first time made me wonder if this explosive cacophony is even legal. Apparently it is, and here's the culprit - the 2015 Jaguar F-Type V8 S Convertible.
Yes, the convertible is being shoved into the old news pile now that the spotlight is on the F-Type Coupe R, which has even more horsepower and torque, but I would glady give up all that power and rigidity for a summer bathe in open-top sunshine. We tested the 2015 F-Type V6 earlier this summer - a week-long vehicular escapade where I seriously contemplated keeping it forever, no Jaguar won't be too happy about that. So you can tell how excited I was to sample two extra cylinders and find ways to justify that $24,000 price jump - and to make sure you aren't paying more just to get noise complaint tickets slapped onto your windscreen.
Let's start with the exterior. Ian Callum - his artistic vision not only gave birth to the design of the F-Type, but also to the dreamy Vanquish, DB9, and pretty much the entire Jaguar line-up since the 90s. The F-Type boasts a fiery new epidermis that hides an all-aluminum monocoque, hence it only weighs 1665 kilos. The design is striking, and matches the flair of exotics that cost nearly double the F-Type's starting price. Even the hidden door handles and pop-up spoiler never ceases to amuse. Yet, you won't find many cosmetic differences from the V6 model other than the extra pair of exhausts donned on the V8. The charismatic "Firesand" paint has begun to grow on me, and has become quite the attention grabber - though I like the classier shade of Indigo Blue we had on the V6 much better. Our tester is wearing the 20-inch Blade wheels, and in my opinion are the best looking set. The five-spoke open design exposes the bright red calipers hiding behind, and there is even a whiff of carbon-fibre on each spoke - sets you back a couple grand, but when you're spending 100k on a car, what's another $2750?
Slip inside and a snug interior awaits, it feels comfortable and intimate. All the dials are in the right places, there are enough driver controls on the wheel to operate a SpaceX rocket, and the entire centre console is angled left to cater towards the driver's reach. The best bits are even brushed in gold - a slice of decoration you won't find in the V6. I particularly enjoyed the rectangular fans that rise up when you turn on the heat - it's something ripped straight out of a sci-fi spaceship movie. Our complaints of the maturing rotary dial from previous Jags is nullified now that it has been replaced by a skinny joy-stick. It's enjoyable to use, but doesn't feel nice to grasp. It needs a thicker leather wrap, similar to the one found in the Range Rover Sport. The fit and finish throughout the cabin however, is excellent and justifies every penny of that 100k price-tag, and it better well should. The other day we test drove its rival, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage; the interior had class but was starting to show its age, especially when compared to the more modern and refined F-Type interior.
With the fabric hood down, the tight cabin became mildly claustrophobic. I was forced to adjust my seat to its lowest configuration to prevent my head from losing a few brain cells everytime we hit some road imperfections - the stiff suspension doesn't help either. It rained a few days that week so I actually had two programmed memory seat settings, one for the top down, and one for the top up.
The flat-bottomed wheel is another feature missing in the V6, along with a Dynamic Mode Configuration screen that enables us to adjust the steering and engine response. It reminds me of the M4 and its ability to customize the driver settings. Whether or not this is necessary is up to the gimmick-lusting techy inside you. Personally, I admire what is basic and simplistic - just give me a sport button and I'm good to go. In this case, the F-Type's sport button (the checkered flag) looks like a switch that's ready to arm a nuclear missile. Flicking that golden ticket not only opens up the exhaust valves, but also tightens the suspension, increases the sensitivity of the throttle, delays up-shifts, and unleashes a pompous roar everytime you lift off the throttle.
Earlier we alluded to this pandemonium and truth be told, I favour the noise coming out of an XKR-S more. The bigger GT brother emits a more mature tone that feels like it has a beginning, middle, and end, whereas the F-Type discharges a pre-mature climax everytime you hammer it down - the pops and crackles can feel synthetic and dishonest, but the Hans Zimmer soundtrack actually sounds more genuine when hearing it from outside the car. Hand your keys over to a trustworthy buddy, sit on the sidewalk, tilt your ear towards the exhausts and revel in musical grace. When the clamor becomes too much, you can shut the kitty up by turning off the active exhaust (that googly eyed button) and cruise in grand-touring silence. I actually hit that button once, and after five minutes I quickly turned it back on - it felt wasteful not to. I had a week with this beast and no way was I going to spend it driving in "silent" mode. That's like buying a Range Rover and never taking it off-road. Oh wait.
The sport seats are cozy, and the driver sits near the rear axle for a better feel of the chassis. The 495 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque that spews out of this supercharged V8 is enough to propel the F-Type from 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds, which is the same as a Porsche 911 Carrera S, and 0.2 seconds slower than a BMW M4. This is mainly due to a rear axle that harbours so much power that most of it seems to go up in tire smoke rather than being translated into useable traction.
Speaking of traction, this rear-wheel drive V8 sits at the bottom of that chart. Even though the persistent over-steer and tail-wagging can make your diaphragm forget to contract, it's mighty fun to play with. The dampers are variable, and with the fastest steering rack ever fitted to a Jaguar, you can make this cat go wherever you want it. The steering is intimate and analog, and I admire how easy it is to articulate the front nose through a tight bend. Yet, even with a loose rear and a brawny front, the light structure and well-bolstered seats keep the body roll to a minimal. An extra boost of 155 horsepower over the V6 doesn't hurt either, plus it's got an upgraded soundtrack to match.
The verdict? Would I choose a V8 over the base V6? Nah - slap the Active Exhaust option on a base V6 and I'd be just as content. I never thought I'd say this but the V8 engine carries too much power, most of it can't even be exploited. It's unbalanced and doesn't have the rigidity and support to utilize its legion of horses (maybe that's where the Coupe will shine). I don't need a flat-bottomed wheel or brushes of gold on my paddle shifters, hell there isn't even a fancy S badge. But in return, I get a proportional instrument that plays the right tunes without breaking the sound barrier. You'll not only save $24,000 but you'll avoid those noise complaint tickets too.
型号 Model: 2015 Jaguar F-Type V8 S Convertible
顏色 Paint Type: Firesand Orange
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $100,900
試車售價 Price as Tested: $116,300
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4470 / 1923 / 1319
車重 Curbweight (kg): 1665
引擎 Engine: 5.0L Supercharged V8
最大馬力 Horsepower-HP: 495 / 6500rpm
最高扭力 Torque-LB-FT: 460 / 2500-5500rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed QuickShift ZF automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, RWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption (City/Highway/Combined)- L/100 km: 13.4 / 8.6 / 11.2
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Pirelli P Zero, Front - 255/35R20, Rear - 295/30R20