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Engine options, speed, acceleration and refinement

It’s the V8 that grabs the headlines in the Jaguar F-Type range – and with good reason. Its supercharged engine’s 542bhp and 502lb ft are good enough for a 3.9sec 0-60mph time and on to a top speed of 186mph. Meanwhile the lunatic SVR produces 567bhp and 516lb ft of peak twist which propels the F-Type to 60mph in 3.5sec and onto a mammoth 195mph.

In optimised conditions, then, it’s feasible that the F-Type could nudge into a time starting with a ‘3’, which is faintly ludicrous given that it never feels like a car that is blessed with a surplus of traction, but it is blessed with a clever AWD system and benefits from 52 percent front/48 percent rear weight distribution and a shedload of power and torque. 

The ferocity of the exhaust pop on the overrun is directly linked to how much throttle and revs you’ve just been applying

It’s the urgency and the noise, we’ve concluded, that sets this F-Type apart and makes it feel like the drag-strip refugee that it appears to be – especially if you press the button on the centre console that opens the valves in the optional active exhaust more frequently than usual.

Incredibly, against the might R, the rest of the models don’t exactly feel like they’re left wanting in the performance stakes. The supercharged V6 S is just 0.6sec slower to 62mph and, at 171mph, is just 15mph shy of the R at the top end. The engine is responsive and immediate, but it lacks the bombastic pops, bangs and Detroit muscle soundtrack of the range topper. It’s not a high-revving unit like a Porsche either.

It does, however, offer plenty of character at lower revs, and set the exhaust valves to ‘angry’ and it’ll provide enough fireworks to satisfy the most finicky of buyers. And an official kerb weight which reads 51kg less than the R, and headline figures of 375bhp and 339lb ft means it is a competent devourer of straights.

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The entry-level V6 is perhaps the shrewdest play that Jaguar could have made. Its priced like an optioned-up 718 Boxster S, and with a 0-62mph of 5.1sec is 0.7sec slower. Its performance isn’t scary like the V8 monsters – and to a lesser extent, the V6 S – but it does impress. Its possible to use more of the V6’s potential more of the time, which allows the chassis to sparkle more readily.

The genius of the V6 is that 85 percent of F-Type buyers will be new to Jaguar, and for many, its 335bhp and 332lb ft will be plenty.

The F-Type may not be the fastest, lightest or best-packaged sports car on the market but, by gum, when it comes to aural stimulation, it’s right there.

And the rest? The eight-speed ZF gearbox is smooth and clean when you want, with responsive manual override paddles. And the F, on the big brakes, stops well, resisting fade adequately for a car this heavy and this fast, although not indefinitely.