Jaguar F-Type Coupe India review, test drive

    We drive the 543bhp Jaguar F-Type R-Coupe in and out of town for a full week.

    Published on Dec 25, 2014 07:00:00 AM


    On the weekend
    The grand plan for the weekend is to drive out to the hill station of Lavasa some 200km away, where our TV crew plans to shoot. The Jaguar and I will be joined by a ‘few’ colleagues who’ve ‘selflessly’ volunteered to help out with the remaining photography and ancillary tasks. I know the real reason they’ve sacrificed their Saturday. Anyway, they’ll be coming in our trusty Renault Duster. Just as well, because I need some place to dump my luggage. The F-type’s brochure says boot space is 407 litres. Perhaps Jaguar should add a disclaimer saying all of that space is taken up by the space-saver tyre stowed there. There’s really no space for anything more than a briefcase.  The drive out of Mumbai is uneventful, which I take as a good thing. Speedbreakers and broken patches of road are dealt without much fuss and soon enough we’re on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. First of the day’s notes to self: the F-type is a pretty good GT, but I can feel a bit of harshness on expansion joints apart and hear some tyre noise too. However, the suspension handles the bumpy expressway’s surface really well and cruising in the region of 100kph with the engine spinning at a lazy 1000rpm, the engine sound is perhaps the lowest it’s been in the past few days. 
    Once off the expressway, it’s frustratingly slow progress on the lunar surface of NH4. I cross Pune, turn off at Chandni Chowk and roll along past the town of Pirangut. Soon enough, things get a lot more interesting. The road up is a beautiful mix of short and medium straights, fast sweepers and tight hairpin turns. At long last, the big cat has reached its hunting grounds.  Dynamic mode selected (it stiffens the suspension, adds weight to the hydraulic steering and quickens the engine and gearbox), fingers on the paddleshifters, we blast off; the rapidity with which the F gathers speed on the steep gradient certainly makes it feel so. Seconds later, we’re at the first of many hairpin bends. Then a short straight leads us to the next one. Sweeping corners follow. And so on. What the series of turns do is reaffirm a crucial one of my findings of the past few days — that the Jaguar is not quite a precision tool as, say, a Porsche 911.
    There’s a noticeable dead zone just off straight-ahead position on the otherwise delightfully quick steering, and turn-in is also not pin-sharp. But not for one instant do I think the F-type isn’t fun on these roads. It  just needs to be driven like the old-school rear-wheel-drive brute that it thinks it is. That involves powering out mid-corner so the rear wheels align with the intended angle of attack. Torque vectoring (that individually brakes the wheels) and the electronic differential make this easier done than said. What’s also nice is that in Dynamic mode, the gearbox doesn’t upshift automatically and it hangs onto each cog even when the engine is bouncing off the rev limiter. Brake feel and strength are super too. And lest I forget, the sight of the rising spoiler filling up the rearview mirror is just incredible. For the umpteenth time this day, I’m grinning from ear to ear. Just wish the transmission tunnel didn’t heat up so much on all-out runs. I can feel it on my left leg and it even heats up the bottle of water stowed in one of the two cupholders behind the gear lever.  Once inside Lavasa, the empty, twisty roads leading up to the next township under development present all of us one last opportunity to misbehave before we hand over the Jag to the TV team. Rabid powerslides are the order for the next half hour or so. The G-meter display on the infotainment screen helps settle our friendly dispute over the most controlled driver. Unfortunately, time’s up, but I just don’t want to get out of the car. The high door sill makes that harder to do still. 
    Jaguar F-Type
    Jaguar F-Type

    ₹ 1,10,01,960 * on road price (New Delhi)


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