Supercharging Jaguar's Image
For roughly two decades Jaguar had an image problem and an ageing customer base. The cars were thought to be the property of human antiques, bought by people with a penchant for fox hunting and quaffing brandy without the ladies. From 1997 they began to take action to combat this, they placed their sexy new XKR in the newest Bond film "Tomorrow Never Dies". Unfortunately diamond-faced buyers were fewer than expected and despite the stunning silhouette Jaguar were afraid to fully commit to a lairy sports car and instead bestowed the car with supple, comfortable suspension and hid it amongst a throng of bland, old-world land-yachts.
Again in 2006 the new XKR was produced, it received rave reviews and signalled a long-term strategy being put into effect. The XKR wasn't able to pull off the a brand makeover alone due to hum drum looks, especially when compared to the outgoing model. Something had to be done to sex up the brand, and just 6 years later the F-Type would be released at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The new car shattered conceived notions with it's sleek coke-bottle styling, near illegal exhaust note and option of a 6-speed manual gearbox or slick semi-auto 8-speed.
The focus of the new car was shifted further away from the comfortable GT cruisers of old and it now has more in common with the TVR philosophy of big noise and burnouts. With 488bhp being sent to just the rear wheels on the V8 supercharged version pictured, the car behaves like a hairy-chested brute, shouting and hollering all the way to a top speed of 186mph. With a sound that can only be described as savage, bridges become an excuse to shift down to hear the machine gun crackle from the exhaust.
Build quality has also seen an improvement but isn't on par with similarly priced competitors. With interiors looking good for the press shots and onlookers, occupants can feel that beneath all the leather cladding hides many a thin plastic. Paired with weedy speakers, it becomes obvious where all the development money was spent. Ultimately this is a wise choice given the vocal range that the mechanicals are able to produce, the speakers don't get so much as a look-in. Jaguar clearly hope you'll spend too much time grinning and mashing the throttle to notice that Audi, Porshe and Mercedes are comfier, better equipped and screwed together.
Despite some controversial engine decisions for the 2018 line-up which include - gasp - a turbocharged 4 cylinder engine, a few gripes with interior quality and laughable boot space the F-type has by all accounts achieved its goal. Utilising the brand's history to create a new design language to serve as bedroom wall fodder whilst blowing the eardrums out of anyone lucky enough to see one in the wild. Jaguar's image is on the up, especially with saloon feats from their new headliner project 8 around the 'ring. Here's to hoping they keep up the good work, and stop sticking grotty little spoilers on things like the F-Type SVR. Google it, it's gross.