Jaguar and Generation Y finally have something to talk about.
There is nothing more exciting for a car-loving 22 year old than hearing your boss say, "take an F-type, show it off, tell me what you think." The GM of Jaguar Chantilly had thrown me the keys to a V6 non-"S" 2014 F-type. The car had 8 miles on the clock, was finished in Polaris White, and had $2500 optional black wheels. This is the version no one has reviewed. When you are spending this type of money you might as well spend 10 grand more than the 79K sticker and get the V8 with an extra 155 horse power. At the very least, one would drop the few options the car had and get the S and 40 more petrol fueled ponies.
I was leaving the dealership at 5:00pm with the top down in the unseasonably warm 65 degree November weather when a man stopped the car and asked "did you just purchase that car?" He smiled at my quick response "no, I just have a great job!" I left with a heavy right foot and a sound only replicated by a herald trumpet announcing the presence of royalty.
I pulled on to Route 50 thinking all of my childhood dreams of mashing the pedal on a near-exotic were about to come true, merely to have them crushed as I met the dead stopped Friday afternoon traffic that only the D.C. Metro area could provide. At least the car was equipped with the optional Meridian 12 speaker surround system. I found the best classic rock station and began to very conspicuously blast classic rock through the HD radio. I'm sure that I've heard better stereos, but never anything quite like this out of a two seat sports car. The integrated sub woofer was pulsing behind my driver's seat fully enveloping me in an ironic jam session to Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA."
After the song ended I looked around and realized everyone was staring, not at me, but the car. A man pulled alongside in a work truck and asked what I was driving. He could not believe it was a Jaguar. That's when the realization happened as I pulled-up first in line to a red light; no one knows what this car is, just that it has supercar good looks.
As the light turned, so did this thought, "Finally, a chance to see if this new Jag had a bite to back its growl." I switch the car into Dynamic mode which stiffens the suspension, and more importantly opens a flap in the exhaust to increase aural pleasure. Grabbing the shifter I pulled it to the left and gripped the orange colored paddles behind the wheel. Slowly, I looked left and then to right. I was surrounded by econo-boxes, similar to the one I had just traded in for a day, waiting to see what this low-slung British immigrant would do. I floored the accelerator. The tac needle swept to 6700 rpm in what felt like a blink. Blipping the right paddle grabbed second with a satisfying pop from the exhaust. The shift was nearly as fast, without the jerking of some of the dual clutches I have driven. Short-shifting into 3rd I looked into my mirror to see a wall of cars trailing well over a football field behind. I let off the loud pedal to the satisfying sound of the exhaust cracking and popping. The ZF eight-speed the car employs does a great job of transferring the power to the rear wheels and makes the 340 horse power 3.0 supercharged six feel more like 400 stampeding mustangs.
I never shifted back into automatic mode after that take-off. In heavy bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-66 the car was given a wide berth by all of the surrounding drivers; in front I had at least two car lengths and behind I had more than five. You get a sense that people think you are driving a lot more car than you actually are. Only is a relative term. This vehicle only costs an MSRP of $79,850, a sort-of bargain for a car with this much guise.
After reaching my apartment in Arlington I rang a friend to go for a drive through Clarendon, a place frequented by cars of this caliber. There were a ton of people socializing outside in the warm weather. We drove down Wilson Boulevard accelerating rapidly and letting off the gas to hear the exhaust pop, and quickly became celebrities with camera flashes and thumbs up. Dropping my friend off I drove the car to my basement garage parking space and for a minute reveled in the fact I had the best looking car in the building parked in a space that had hours before housed a Ford Escort. My plan was to take the car to a Cars and Coffee event early the next morning.
I awoke at 5:00 AM, with the key on my nightstand. I got ready grabbed a Coke from the fridge and made my way downstairs. The temperature had dropped overnight but that did not stop me from dropping the top and employing the heated seats and dual climate control. I raced through the empty lamp-lit streets, the exhaust resonating off of the tall buildings. The appeal of a fast car and some coffee was all the persuasion needed to rouse my good friend Peter Bihl. He laughed and called me a "crazy goon" for having the top down when it was this cold. As soon as he sat in the car with the wind deflector heated seat and heat on he realized he was the fool for not wanting the top down. At the event we were greeted by at least 7 people with SLR cameras snapping off shots as I nervously parked the car in between a Ferrari 550 and Maserati Gran Turismo.
People were enthused to get up and personal with the car, and even more excited when I allowed them to sit in and sometimes start the car. At one point there were more than 15 people surrounding the car trying to talk to me about it. The best was a kid about 15 years old and his father. The kid had his eyes glued to the car. He reminded me of myself at aged 16 when I drove 2 ½ hours to Ferrari of Washington to see the newly released Gran Turismo. I lied through my teeth about my "father" who was interested in one, and persuaded them to let me sit and start-up the car. I asked him if he wanted to sit in the car. After bashfully saying no, I opened the door and told him to sit in the car. His dad let out a deep chuckle. I gave him the key and employed him to start it up. He grinned ear to ear.
Cars are a special thing to be shared and enjoyed. The character of the new F-type begs to be shared and enjoyed. After a quick lunch we decided to take back roads all the way to the dealer. The car's hydraulic steering providing a positive direct feel that lacks from today's electric systems. On the twisties you really learn to appreciate the light bonded and riveted aluminum construction found in the 3,500 pound vehicle. The ride never seemed harsh, yet communicated every bit about the road surface straight to the driver. By creating a car with this much in the way of looks and ability Jag has clearly targeted a younger audience. With that being said, it plays an amazing duality of being plenty comfortable and hosting enough refinement for everyday driving. The F-type is a car to behold.