There’s a delicacy to the way the V6 F-type drives that not even the delightful V6 S can replicate in certain circumstances. Its steering seems especially sweet, as does its ride, both of which are almost certainly the result of it riding on smaller, visually less arresting 18in wheels, which also happen to bring slightly higher-profile and therefore slightly more comfortable 18in Pirelli P Zero tyres.
The V6 flows beautifully along any road, feeling nimbler but also a lot less manic than the He-Man V8 S. Yet it’s still perfectly quick enough, thanks, with 0-60mph taking just 5.2sec. That’s the sort of thrust that impresses rather than frightens, and for quite a lot of Jaguar’s new customers – as many as 85 per cent of F-type buyers will be new to the brand, reckons Jaguar – the V6 might well provide the perfect cocktail of grip, grunt, style and desirability.
And for the purist, it might even provide the most satisfying driving experience of the three. How so? Because you can drive the V6 hard on the road without scaring yourself or incurring the wrath of other road users, which is a genuine concern in the F-type V8 S.
Its handling balance might well be the sweetest of the range, with almost no understeer to speak of on the road and no oversteer either, simply because there isn’t the torque to unstick the rear tyres like there is in the other models. Instead, the V6 glides soothingly from apex to apex, with lots of control but also lots of feel – not just through the steering but through the seat, and especially via the beautifully damped rear axle.
In pure feel terms, in fact, I’d say it’s at least as rewarding as a Boxster, with more intimate steering and a better ride to go with it on most surfaces – although to be fair we won’t know for sure until we’ve done a proper comparison back on some favourite UK roads
The gearbox also works especially well in the V6, again because it doesn’t have such a big hit of torque to deal with when shifting gear. Indeed, Jaguar’s new Quickshift eight-speed transmission feels more like a dual-clutch automatic in the V6 than it does in either of the other models.
What you don’t get in the V6, you might not actually miss anyway. There’s no Dynamic Drive system so you can't fiddle with the engine, gearbox, damper and throttle settings. Nor is there the nagging 'am I really in control of this car?' doubt that can send shivers down your spine in the wonderful but wild V8 S. Instead, what you get is a traditional rear-wheel-drive sports car, pure and simple. With a lot more emphasis on the pure than on the simple.