Well, mostly, anyway.
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Well, mostly, anyway.
In base form the F-Type gets Continental ContiSportContact2 "max performance" summer tires. Those tires are good, but, ultimately, not great. Grip is fine, and the tires are communicative in the auditory sense, but there's little feedback returned through the wheel.
Part of the blame there lies with the Jaguar's steering, however. As a non-electric power steering setup, you might think there are no good excuses for less-than-awesome feel. You'd be right, but that doesn't mean that's what you get with the F-Type.
In fact, you get decidedly non-awesome, rather numb steering feel with the F-Type, particularly in base form. Part of the blame for this shortfall also undoubtedly lies in the F-Type's not-so-trim weight. Even approaching 50/50 weight distribution--with passengers, again--that means there's the better part of a ton over the front contact patches. Mid-engine and rear-engine cars (and light front engine cars) are often lauded for their steering feel--feel that is, in part, due to the relatively lightly loaded front axles, and, consequently, tires.
It's not all bad news when it comes to steering, however; steering weight is good, and the variable ratio is quick and intuitive--the cars reactions are nearly as quick as the driver's. The inherent balance of the F-Type, from its spring and damper rates to its near 50/50 weight balance (again, with passengers), the F-Type is well-poised. It's just a bit less communicative about what's going on with the front end than we'd like to see in a sports car.
The Mid-Point Of F-Type
Stepping up to the middle of the F-Type range, you have the $81,000 F-Type S. Not to be confused with the F-Type V8 S, the F-Type S is powered by essentially the same 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 engine, just in a higher state of tune, the (V-6) S is good for 380 horsepower and 4.8-second 0-60 mph runs.
Best of all, the extra power and torque in V6 S trim relieves the car of its sub-3,500-rpm dead spot and gives it a lively, quick feeling in all conditions. The bark, too, is sharper.
Uncork the F-Type V6 S in Dynamic Mode with the "googly eyes" dual-mode exhaust button switched on, and I challenge you not to smile. Most will break out in giggles.
In F-Type V6 S form, Pirelli PZero tires on larger 19-inch wheels take over grip duty--and the improvement is immediately noticeable. Steering communication is more abundant thanks to less sidewall flex, though, overall, feedback remains muted.
But the chassis itself appreciates the extra grip and readily puts it to use. The communication lacking through the steering wheel is made up for by the input coming back through the seat and pedals; in cornering, the balance of the car is easily discernible. Power out of a corner and you'll sense the impending tail-out attitude just before it happens; hammer the brakes and the car dives just enough, maintaining stability while slowing with force.
The Adaptive Dynamics suspension system takes much of the credit here, too, offering up to 500 adjustments per second to adapt to the driver's inputs and the road itself. Modern adaptive damper systems have come a long, long way from their rather recent origins, and the F-Type's system is among the most seamless.