crankandpiston takes the Jaguar F-Type S for a few laps around the Circuito de Navarra in northern Spain before hitting the open mountain roads.
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This morning I have had the shortest test drive of my life in the new Jaguar F-Type. Barely enough time to place my buttocks in the driver’s seat, fiddle with some knobs and give the roadster a bit of a squirt on the roads around Pamplona in northern Spain. It is a dull grey day and it is starting to drizzle. My test drive is over. However, I am not that bothered.
The reason for this nonchalance is that the remainder of my day will be spent behind the wheel of the F-Type S and the action starts right here, right now at the Circuito de Navarra. With an increase of 40hp over the standard 335hp model – powered by a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 – and equipped with a mechanical limited-slip differential as standard, I am far from glum.
Although a little apprehensive at hooning a 375hp, supercharged, rear-wheel drive roadster (that I have never driven) around a damp circuit (that I am unacquainted with), I am nonetheless confident that the Jaguar race instructor sitting beside me will reign in my natural tendency to go hell bent for leather and hope we make it around the first lap in one piece. Yes, sometimes I can be really naive.
Much to my surprise I am being encouraged to push the F-Type S to its limit, shouted at for braking too early and ordered to get on the gas much sooner than my bravado otherwise dictates. Jaguar clearly has confidence in its latest product and some bright spark at Big Cat HQ has realized that it is much better to let me experience the sporting credentials of the F-Type S firsthand rather than sit me down and waffle on about its abilities.
The suspension is stiffer than an Englishman’s upper lip and combined with the seriously rigid chassis and low centre of gravity, the F-Type S is a complete hoot on-track. There is no nosedive on hard braking, body roll is almost undetectable and zero squat from the rear when I plant the foot out of each and every corner. The steering is fast and direct and Jaguar should be applauded for resisting the urge to go full electric. However, there is an odd lack of feedback and, at the limit of adhesion, I am more dialled into what is going on at all four corners through the seat rather than through the steering wheel.