I drive a stack of cars each year for EFTM, some admittedly are a little blander than others. But you need to drive all comers to really get a sense of the market and what people can expect in today’s largely tech-laden cars. But every now and then along comes something so desirable, so mind blowing that you really feel like shouting from the rooftops. The three big guns in 2015 for me were the Rolls Royce Ghost Series II, Lamborghini Aventador and more recently the epic Jaguar F-type S AWD. I’ll concentrate on the Jag, but why it weighs in at Number 3 I think warrants an explanation.
Because It’s Beautiful.
Surely few would disagree this is one fine looking creation bound for eternal classic, even iconic status. Sure these are gushing words but honestly take a look at it. That long protruding aluminium clamshell bonnet, now deeper central power bulge and new vents make for an almost impeccable front end. 19-inch wheels fill the wheel arches absolutely perfectly, while the coupe profile personifies “sex on wheels”. It also sports a rear end that signals its intent with that large sweeping glass tailgate, wide, flat stance and enormous centrally located tailpipes. Perfection in my view, from any angle.
Because It Drives So Dam Well.
We got our hands on the new and updated F-Type S AWD. For the 2016 range there are numerous improvements, but AWD is the crowning achievement. The RWD F-Type in V6 or V8 form does enjoy flicking the tail out when pushed. But funnily enough it still does due to a new Intelligent Driveline Dynamics (IDD) system unique to Jaguar. The system will usually send 100 percent of the drive to the rear end, but via a sophistated array of sensors which combine all the important driveline elements, maximum grip and control is now masterfully manipulated. Think of it as a nanny for every wheel, it nurses all four corners of the car with lighting quick inputs to ensure you are always pointed straight ahead. In slippery conditions this is boarding on the ultimate car, it feels like a RWD rocket but in a stealth like way it actually has your back, and front! It’s this pure level of driving dynamics that led me to relegate the brilliant but almost bionic Nissan GT-R to fourth.
Because it’s Very Quick
Sure we “only” had the supercharged V6 S, but with 280kW @6,500 and 460Nm @ 3500 – 5000 you have a coupe that hits 100km/h in 5.1 seconds. The lighting 8-speed transmission makes light work of all that power, it’s one of the purest examples of neck-snapping fun to be had. The accompanying exhaust note is addictive with a shrieking, dare I say near F1 sound. Plus just the mere touch of a button opens up the rear pipes a little more, spewing forth an even more sonorous soundtrack.
Because it’s Cheap, In Context.
Before on roads you face a sticker price of $172,470 for the F-Type S AWD Automatic Coupe. Now don’t get me wrong I haven’t lost all sense of perspective. But when compared with other high performance Coupe’s it’s kinda a bargain. Sure there are quicker, more elaborate and even those pure blood Italians out there. But with price tags that near home mortgage levels I just can’t see the point.
Because It Gets You Noticed.
People buy nice things for a couple of reasons, but ego is almost always high up the list. Returning to my other top 3 cars of 2015 I can honestly say that the mammoth street presence of the Rolls Royce Ghost Series II and the pop star status of the viciously designed Lamborghini Aventador is matched and in some cases bettered by the F-Type. It’s a serious head turner, but in a different way. It’s not a wow factor thing like the Lambo or a “well you just can’t top that” of the Rolls. I believe most people when they see the Jag slip by just have a mutual admiration for what is essentially a piece of fine art. It’s knowing nods all round.
And The Winner Is.
I’ll never get over the Rolls Royce Ghost Series II, that’s a clear Number 1. Completely unobtainable but the pinnacle of motoring. At number 2 The Lamborghini Aventador is sheer madness, it wants to eat the road, you and others – I’ve never been closer to a pure race car than that. Number 3 has to be the Jaguar F-Type S AWD. It’s the most connected I’ve felt to a car this year, it has soul, class and for an owner I’d imagine a blossoming lifelong love affair.