Underneath it all, the Jaguar F-Type is a fast Jag in a familiar mould. It handles, rides, steers and goes less like an equivalent Porsche or Lotus and more like an XKR that has been at boot camp for a few months. It’s a hot rod and a grand touring sunbed rolled into one, and yet it also has impressive athleticism and delicacy.
None of which is intended as any kind of slight on the F-Type. In fact, it bears testament to the uniqueness of Jaguar’s sporting philosophy. It’s one that says, “Above all else, we make road cars – not over-sprung, over-specified monuments to track-intended purposes rarely (if ever) served. These cars must be fast, poised and rewarding, but accessible. They must be cosseting, rich, suave – luxury goods as well as natural athletes.”
That creed allows the F-Type to handle superbly but also effortlessly. The steering is feelsome and direct and has wonderful weight and intelligibility; it never surprises you with a sudden change of speed, or gives up its sensitivity or heft under load. The suspension tune feels equally honest and dependable.
With the dampers operating normally, there is the compliance to ride motorways, urban roads and sunken cross-country routes more consummately than most would expect of a true sports car. It comes with a hint of body roll, and also that gentle, gathering body heave as your speeds rise over undulating surfaces, a trait that has become Jaguar’s enduring dynamic hallmark: ‘the breathe’.
The magic trick continues to be Jaguar’s ability to apparently tune out the normal undesirable bedfellows of that compliance. Even without Dynamic mode engaged, the F-Type delivers outstanding directional precision and stability and perfectly balanced all-corner grip.