Ageing well is a hard thing to do in any field, car design included, but the original Jaguar F-Type is one of those strong-boned, well-groomed, good-gened exceptions. When it launched in 2013 as the “spiritual” successor to the classic E-Type, which ceased production in 1975, it bore no obvious resemblance to its predecessor but looked perfect nonetheless: a two-seater sports car that carried off just the right balance of classic GT prettiness with precise, modern detailing. When you saw it, you wanted one. In fact, you wanted two, because it wasn’t possible to choose between the convertible and the coupé. And when you drove it, you wanted two so much you started doing convoluted calculations in a vain effort to carry it off.
It’s no surprise that its designer, the now-retired Ian Callum, an E-Type owner and self-confessed Jaguar devotee since he was a kid, cited the launch of the F-Type coupé as the proudest moment in a stellar career.
So, seven years on and still apparently holding its own, you might wonder why Jaguar is bringing out a new version at all. The basic answer is the F-Type hasn’t aged so well under the bonnet and behind the scenes. Technology has come a long way in the last seven years, and it’s here that Jaguar has put its overalls on.
An improved chassis and suspension combine to refine the way it drives. A brand new steering system gives it a natural but direct feel.Out goes the V6 engine and in comes a V8, going against most industry trends, though the cheaper four-cylinder version remains. Inside, a new driver display system brings the cabin into the present day. There’s even a button to quieten down the exhaust so you don’t wake up the street when you turn it on.
And what about those looks? Somehow it looks prettier and more aggressive at the same time, which in car terms is the jackpot. It’s a bit like seeing an old friend who’s got a new tan and clearly been doing a lot of boot camp. Changes are mercifully subtle — larger grille, squintier headlights, revamped bonnet, new bumper, new tail lights — but cumulatively tighten things up in all the right places. After all, ageing well sometimes means having a little work done.
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