Simon Osborne-Walker: Unlike some of my fellows, I hadn’t been hooked by the F-Type’s styling. Too tasteful, not aggressive enough for me. But it only took one symphonic roar from the F-Type’s engine to regress me to teenage wide-eyedness, as if I’d spied a Countach for the first time. And on the road, when the deployable rear wing servos into view as you hit 60, it really shows its colour. The drive is rapid and taut, but it’s also surprisingly comfortable on rougher surfaces and over speed bumps, even in its sportier Dynamic Mode. The base V6’s handling is almost miraculously sure-footed whether its tackling hairpins or heavy braking, while responsiveness takes a leap up in the perfectly balanced V6 S. And the top-of-the-range V8 S? Urgent, relentless fun. It’s not as hot on the corners as its less punch-packing brothers — its weightier front-end puts paid to that — but its 5.0l, 650Nm engine never stops pulling. Which one should you lust after? My head says V6 S… my permanent grin says V8.
IAN CALLUM, DIRECTOR OF DESIGN Jaguar Cars
A lot of people ask me if we had an E-Type in the studio while we were designing the F-Type, and the answer is no. We didn’t need one. It’s so entrenched in our memories. The thing about the E-Type is that it’s about a power train and two people, and it’s about pulling a skin tightly and elegantly around those components. Those things haven’t changed. Sports cars allow you to better express the form of a car — as far as I’m concerned, the taller it gets, the less expressive it is. The sports car is the art of the car industry.
One or two details have been taken from the E-Type, such as the shape of the rear lights. We did consider the oval front grille from the D-Type and E-Type. It’s a very beautiful shape, but we decided to make it more forceful, so we evolved what we’d been doing with the XF and the XJ, which was inspired by the original XJ.
The E-Type’s main contribution is the beauty of line, purity of surface and great proportions. We set out the proportions for the F-Type by knowing the engine, knowing the capacity we need for two people and some luggage, and wrapping it up as tightly as possible. We eliminated the overhang at the front, at least visually; made sure the cabin is sat in the right place relative to the wheels; made sure the overhang at the back is as exciting as we can make it. In other words, we made it as short as possible. And we work millimetre by millimetre at this stage before we design any lines, surfaces or details until we get those fundamental proportions that make the car visually exciting.
There are two laws you can t change the law of physics and the law of Brussels. There are so many elements we have to consider, so many safety regulations we have to adhere to. Pedestrian protection determined much of the final bonnet shape, for instance.
We still work with pencil and paper. There are two lines on this car that are very important. One starts off from an aerodynamic blade on the front splitter, sweeps up through the headlight, on through the front wing and door and then disappears. When a line on the car vanishes into the sheet metal like that, I like to describe that as the pencil coming off the paper. Part of the beauty of any line is that it has to contain the spontaneity of the original sketch. Of course, we go through any number of iterations on computers, but we always still start with an intuitive, sketched line.
1. There’s a choice of two sound systems from British hi-fi stalwart Meridian, with either ten or 12 speakers pumping out 380W or 770W respectively. Perfect for blaring out Rule Britannia when you pass a 911.
2. To keep the bodywork sleek, the door handles fit flush until you either unlock the car or press a touch-sensitive area on the handle. The handles retract again when you start moving.
3. Pushing the magic button for Dynamic Mode sharpens everything up. You get better throttle response, more precise steering and quicker gear changes. It’s all tweakable via an 8in touchscreen which also controls the stereo and sat-nav.
4. For beating boy racers off the lights, try the Dynamic Launch mode. Plant your foot on the brake pedal, build engine speed and wait for the signal to release the brake. Vin Diesels will be left sniffing your fumes.