Jaguar F-Type V6

Coupe

Jaguar F-Type, side
Jaguar F-Type, front
Jaguar F-Type, front
Jaguar F-Type, front
Jaguar F-Type, side
Jaguar F-Type, rear
Jaguar F-Type, rear
Jaguar F-Type, interior

HERITAGE, looks, performance...you name it, the new F-Type appears to have the lot.

But the build-up to last year's launch was huge and the hype beyond belief. What's more, the long-anticipated replacement for the legendary E-Type meant that there were big shoes - or perhaps tyre tracks - to fill.

I borrowed one to see how it measured up. Rather than go for an exalted (and expensive) V8 with a price tag in excess of £80,000, I opted for the baby of the range - at a more reasonable £53,050.

The Coupe is actually about £5,000 cheaper than the Roadster, both are two-seaters and for my money the sleek tin-top is the better visual representation of the original E-Type, albeit in the modern idiom.

With glacier white coachwork and a black-tinted glass panoramic roof, the Coupe looked a treat and sounded just as good. I opted for the six-speed manual gearbox instead of the more usual automatic transmission - a touch more nostalgia.

Jab the starter button and the V6 3.0-litre knocking out a not insubstantial 336bhp fires into life with a reflex whizz up the rev band. Exhilarating...yes, and also a bit irritating, especially on a Sunday morning when the neighbours were hoping for a lie in.

Though the acceleration - 0 to 62mph in 5.5 seconds - can be matched by quite a few uber-hatches today let alone German made sports cars, the way the figures are achieved is the Jag's strength.

The snarl of the V6 intoxicates and remains smooth and silky up to the red line, and the manual gearbox is a joy with short, light changes. It's fairly high geared and you are close to the legal limit before shifting up to third.

Despite dry roads and the open expanses of Suffolk countryside to explore the outer edges of the Jaguar's cornering abilities I didn't manage to challenge its adhesion.

The low profile rubber on 18-inch Vela alloys remained firmly in place as the G-forces mounted. Steering is really communicative, a match even to Porsche, and it weights up nicely as you press on through bends.

Ironically, so much better than the old E-Type - I managed to steal a drive in an original V12 Coupe last year, and was a trifle disappointed at the wooliness.

Ride comfort and balance are beyond reproach. Despite the absence of roll, road imperfections are smoothed and dealt with undramatically. Almost nothing is capable of disturbing the car's composure. Its dynamics can match the very best.

Drive the F-Type hard and fuel consumption will hover around the 20mpg mark, but more circumspect motoring with the occasional heavy-footed blast will return around 26mpg. The official combined average is 28.8mpg with CO2 emissions of 234g/km.

The cabin is sporty yet luxurious with perfectly trimmed dark leather, tread plates and subtle F-Type badging. It is an area directed at the driver and very much for the driver...more so than any other Jaguar.

The two major dials dominate the binnacle behind the steering wheel and a huge central console is home for a touch screen, sat nav, air con and heating controls. The air con vents rise, phoenix-like, from the top of the fascia.

It all looks appropriately prestige and stylish. But there are too few flat surfaces for use at standstill and not quite enough oddment space for everyday use.

The boot, however, is roomy and much more practical than the Roadster. It holds 315 litres of cargo against the drop top's 195 litres and is accessed via an electrically opening tailgate.

FAST FACTS

Jaguar F-Type V6 Coupe

Price: £53,050

Mechanical:336bhp, 2,995cc, 6cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 155mph

0-62mph: 5.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 28.8

Insurance Group: 50

C02 emissions: 234g/km

Bik rating: 37%

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