By Mike Torpey on 2015-11-21 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Jaguar F-TYPE S
THERE'S a little button perfectly positioned for a flick of the wrist and the touch of a finger.
You instinctively become accustomed to its exact location, though for new owners or novices there's a prompt.
Two tailpipes in white on black mark the spot and such is the volcanic eruption of sound when activated, you quickly become addicted.
The Jaguar F-TYPE is some car - it looks a million dollars and sound a million decibels, at least it does when you engage what they call the switchable active sports exhaust.
For me the choice between convertible or coupe for this car is a no brainer. Lower the hood, which takes just a few seconds at the touch of another tab, and you have the epitome of cool.
Fire up the engine and you're instantly in the mood. Jaguar makes sure of that courtesy of a setting that firmly revs the engine without you actually putting your foot on the throttle.
Earlier this year Jaguar more than doubled its F-TYPE line-up, which now stretches from the 340PS Coupe and Convertible with supercharged V6 engine and manual gearbox, to the 550PS F-Type R versions with supercharged V8, AWD and eight-speed Quickshift transmission.
This model, with a hefty 380PS of punch, was an AWD S variant which further muscles up with a deeper central power bulge on the bonnet.
And either side are new vents positioned further apart and forward than those of rear-wheel drive F-Types.
It all gives the Big Cat an extra magazine of menace, along with the standard 19-inch diamond-turned alloy wheels, a work of art in themselves.
And the AWD system features Intelligent Driveline Dynamics, a control strategy designed to exploit the maximum traction while retaining rear-wheel drive character.
Operating on the torque-on-demand principle, it sends 100 per cent of the engine's torque to the rear wheels under normal driving conditions - until they reach the point of losing grip.
That's not often a problem with the F-TYPE though, which is everything you could wish for in a modern performance convertible.
Lightweight, supremely agile and boasting savage acceleration, this is a car with a clear identity of its own and is completely unlike benchmark sports models like the Porsche 911.
Its Quickshift unit is seamless and also lets the driver blip through the gears manually via paddles on the steering wheel.
Everything about the car oozes class, from the elegant flowing lines to door handles designed fit flush with the Jaguar's body and a fighter jet-style cockpit that wraps around you.
Inside, the instrument cluster features new dials and gauges while the F-Type's infotainment system has been upgraded with faster navigation and SD card-based mapping available for the first time.
Plenty of options are up for grabs, ranging from an air quality sensor at £55 and stainless steel pedals (£150) to leather Performance seats (£3,500) and a Visibility Pack for £1,075.
Load up though and the final tab can take you up around the £80,000 mark.
Either way, hood up or down the F-TYPE snarls, crackles and handles like a true supercar.
Jaguar F-TYPE S Convertible AWD
Mechanical: 380PS, 2,995cc, V6 petrol engine driving four wheels via 8-speed auto gearbox
Max Speed: 171mph
0-62mph: 4.8 seconds
Combined MPG: 32.9
Insurance Group: 50
C02 emissions: 203g/km
Bik rating: 37%.
Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles
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