Awesome is the first descriptive word that comes to mind after a weekend in the new Jaguar F-type sports car. What does that mean? I guess it is just a more succinct way of saying spine-tingling, jaw-dropping, neck-snapping, eye-popping and just outrageously fun.
The fun starts as you approach this car. The sleek, low-slung, two-door sports car was dressed in white for my weekend test drive, and the black convertible top set off the smooth arcing lines, the front air intakes and the oval Jaguar grill. There was a subtle hint of what I was about to experience—a small "S" next to a green and red emblem. The gentleman who delivered the car to me smiled devilishly and said, "Be careful, it's very powerful."
Yeah, right. If you've read my blogs, and car reviews in Cigar Aficionado, I've had the great fortune to drive some of the fastest supercars in the world during the last 20 years: Lamborghini Gallardo, Bentley GT, Aston Martin Vantage and a Corvette ZR-1. I'm also lucky to have friends who own Porsches and even an Audi R-8. So, I've been behind the wheel of 400-plus horsepower beasts enough to know they can surprise you with how quickly you can lose control if you're not careful. Guess what, the guy was right.
The F-Type V8 has a supercharged engine that churns out 495 horsepower. The official zero to 60 time is 4.2 seconds, but I'd wager that is a few ticks slower than what you could do under ideal conditions. And if you make the mistake of punching the accelerator while turning a corner, you'd better be sure there's enough room for the rear end to quickly come around to where the front of the car was a second earlier. Trust me on that one.
But once you get the feel for this car, only superlatives suffice. The F-type does what you're thinking it should do, almost before the thought is finished. Pass quickly? You're around the car in front of you before they even see you coming. Stop on a dime? It does. Take a corner faster than you normally would? It will probably do it even faster than you can imagine.
Many people also are disappointed once they get in these high-performance supercars; they feel they are just not comfortable enough for the long haul. My wife, in particular, has endured some longer drives in these type of cars. Not the F-type. She commented about the car's comfort, and how easy it was to just relax and not worry whether or not I was going to get a speeding ticket. (I didn't.)
I do have one complaint. The trunk is tiny. To fit my golf clubs, I had to remove the driver and fairway woods from the bag to get them to fit. Truthfully, that's a minor issue.
The car's "wow factor" was high, too. On I-84 in heavy, bumper-to-bumper summer weekend traffic, two people pulled up alongside and rolled down their windows, asking "Do you love it? How long have you had it?" Or the wide-eyed little boy in a car that his father was driving too fast, trying to catch up just so his son could take a look. Or the crossing guard at Saratoga Race Track saying, "Hey, you can leave it with me."
Check out the upcoming September/October issue of Cigar Aficionado. Our long-time automotive writer, Paul Eisenstein, reviews the F-type there. He agrees with me, and with more than 30 years covering the auto world, take his word for it. This is a great car that announces the return of Jaguar to the top of the sports car category.