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Then and now: Jaguar F-TYPE and E-Type

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With designs separated by half a century, can the Jaguar F-TYPE hope to match the aura of the iconic E-Type?

JAGUAR E-Type (1961 – 1974)
It’s been called the most beautiful car ever made, and has inspired a wave of emulation since 1961

When the E-Type was unveiled at the 1961 Geneva motor show it turned the motoring world on its head. Elegant and powerful it combined stunning proportions with a competitive price, leaving many of its rivals to wonder in awe.

Jaguar designer Malcolm Sayer had achieved something unique with the E-Type, and even now the car remains an icon of motoring’s finest hour. The New York Museum of Modern Art has one on permanent display, Enzo Ferrari called it “the most beautiful car ever made” and numerous polls have rated it as the pinnacle of sportscar design.

Just over 70,000 E-Types were built through three series’ until 1974, and today, an original E-Type Series I roadster in excellent condition will fetch as much as $230,000.

The first E-Type was powered by a 3.8-litre six-cylinder engine sourced from the XK 150 S. Fed by triple SU carburettors the in-line unit survived a three-year stint under that long bonnet before being replaced by a larger 4.2-litre version. That engine powered the E-Type until a 5.3-litre twelve-cylinder was squeezed between the rails in 1971.

E-Type models were suspended by a torsion beam front end and coil-sprung independent rear, while powered-assisted disc brakes were fitted all-round. 15-inch spoke wheels graced the arches, and by 1968 air-conditioning and power steering were available as options.

The Jaguar E-Type was available in coupe and convertible body styles comprising an aluminium body on a steel chassis. Transmissions included a four-speed manual gearbox, and from 1966 an optional three-speed automatic.

Sliding over the thick sill and moving the seat into position it’s reassuring to find the E-Type fits snugly. Despite its lack of adjustment, the thin steering wheel feels right in your hands, but the pedal box is tight, with the throttle and brake pedal especially close.

The V12 whirs to life, almost like an aircraft, and sounds silky at idle – but it’s not without intent. There’s a purpose to its note as the engine winds up to 5500rpm. Here it sounds sweetest. It’s mechanical and visceral, almost as if every component is an instrument in an orchestra, all playing perfectly in tune.

Swapping gently but accurately through four forward gears the E-Type flinches just slightly as you select fourth, biting slightly on its final ratio. There’s no overdrive – apparently there wasn’t the room for it – but at highway speeds the hum of that glorious V12 more than makes up for what you’d save in fuel.

Tracking cleanly the old E-Type steers with remarkable accuracy for its age and communicates freely the surface beneath – and this despite having never being intended for radial tyres. There’s a certain fluidity about its ride quality that belies the grip on offer. It really is as much Grand Tourer as it is a sportscar, all meshed together in a stunning and beautifully balanced package.


Jaguar E-Type (1961 – 1964) Jaguar E-Type (1964 – 1971) Jaguar E-Type (1971 – 1974)


Engine: 3.8-litre six-cylinder petrol Engine: 4.2-litre six-cylinder petrol Engine: 5.3-litre twelve-cylinder petrol Output: 198kW/330Nm Output: 198kW / 384Nm Output: 234kW / 473Nm Transmission: Four-speed manual Transmission: Four-speed man. / 

Three-speed auto. Transmission: Four-speed man. /
Three-speed auto.
Final Drive: Rear Final Drive: Rear Final Drive: Rear 0-100km/h: 6.7 seconds 0-100km/h: 7.0 seconds 0-100km/h: 6.0 seconds 0-400m: 14.7 seconds @ 156km/h 0-400m: 15.0 seconds @ 155km/h 0-400m: 14.2 seconds @ 162km/h Top speed: 226km/h Top Speed: 232km/h Top Speed: 240km/h


Even the most hardened motoring critics have a soft spot for the E-Type. But just what does motoring.com.au’s Road Test team think of the car?

“I’m the first to admit to ogling a gorgeous body, and the E-Type’s is no exception. It doesn’t matter which angle you view it from or how long you stare, it just never seems to offend. The E-Type engages the eye and provokes the imagination. It’s hard to believe its 50-odd years old.”
- Matt Brogan

“The E-Type is a car to evoke piquant memories: grainy monochrome images featuring an XK-E in a garage starkly lit for a 1960s Car and Driver photoshoot are counterposed by the sunny tableau of the glamorous blond parking her Series III V12 coupe outside my parents’ shop in the 1970s.”
- Ken Gratton

“The Jaguar E-Type is one of the most recognisable and alluring vehicles ever designed. It’s an icon whose appealing proportions and curvaceous lines are irresistible. I have fond memories of driving one back in 2011. The gearshift was wobbly, the clutch was weak but once on song it was an incredible machine.”
- Feann Torr

JAGUAR F-TYPE (2013 – onward)
It’s Jaguar’s first two-seat sportscar in 40 years, and it captures the spirit of the brand’s heritage brilliantly

Jaguar publically revealed the F-TYPE at this year’s Paris motor show. It was hailed as the spiritual successor to the E-Type, and wowed crowds desperate for the revival of a British icon.

Penned by Ian Callum, the F-TYPE’s design is a sleek yet sporty nod to Jaguar’s most famous model. Jaguar itself says the segment in which the F-TYPE competes is one that it has been absent from for “way too long”, adding that Jaguar without a roadster is like “Sydney without an Opera House”.

Up until the end of October, Jaguar has delivered 55 examples of the new F-TYPE to Australia. Exclusive of on-road costs, F-TYPE pricing ranges from $138,645 for the V6, to $171,045 for the V6 S and $201,945 for the V8 S.

The F-TYPE range comprises a choice of three supercharged petrol engines: a 3.0-litre six-cylinder, offered in two states of tune, and a 5.0-litre eight-cylinder. Like the E-Type before it, the F-TYPE utilises a front-engine rear-drive layout. Power is put to the ground via an open diff on the base model, a mechanical limited-slip differential (LSD) on mid-grade variants and an electronic LSD on top-spec V8 models.

F-TYPE models ride on a double wishbone suspension arrangement front and rear. This is further assisted by continuously adaptive dampers which, depending on variant, are adjustable by the driver.

The F-TYPE’s all-alloy monocoque is stopped by all-wheel disc brakes fitted inside alloy wheels ranging from 18 to 20 inches, depending on variant. An eight-speed ZF automatic transmission is fitted as standard across the range.

Sinking behind the wheel of the entry-grade F-TYPE V6 feels akin to being enveloped by the proportions of any real roadster. You sit low, close to the rear wheels and with an expanse of bonnet ahead of you.

Beating beneath that long bonnet is a characterful supercharged V6 that takes little provocation to spin through to redline. Its brisk acceleration is accompanied by a sonorous exhaust note not dissimilar to six-cylinders of yesteryear, crackling on overrun and howling through to crescendo as if to encourage your foot to the firewall.

The close-ratio transmission responds instantaneously to input from the steering wheel-mounted paddles, swapping smoothly between ratios with a devilish blip on down-changes.

The chassis offers tenacious grip aided by ripe hydraulic steering to see the F-TYPE ease progressively into gentle understeer as you push the limits. The suspension works effectively on most surfaces, though scuttle shake does intrude when you ask too much on lumpy back roads.

Spending more time with the F-TYPE proves how happy it is to cruise the open road. It eats mile after mile with consummate ease, and is as quiet as a hardtop of similar proportions with the roof in place. The cabin is a fantastic place to spend time, which makes the fact the F-TYPE’s boot is so small seems such a pity.



Jaguar F-TYPE V6 (2013 – onward) Jaguar F-TYPE V6 S (2013 – onward) Jaguar F-TYPE V8 S (2013 – onward)


Engine: 3.0-litre six-cylinder

supercharged petrol Engine: 3.0-litre six-cylinder
supercharged petrol
Engine: 5.0-litre eight-cylinder
supercharged petrol
Output: 250kW/450Nm Output: 280kW/460Nm Output: 364kW/625Nm Transmission: Eight-speed automatic Transmission: Eight-speed automatic Transmission: Eight-speed automatic Final Drive: Rear Final Drive: Rear Final Drive: Rear 0-100km/h: 5.3 seconds 0-100km/h: 4.9 seconds 0-100km/h: 4.3 seconds 0-400m: 13.1 seconds @ 172km/h 0-400m: 12.9 seconds @ 176km/h 0-400m: 12.0 seconds @ 193km/h Top speed: 260km/h Top Speed: 275km/h Top Speed: 300km/h


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