Long awaited Jaguar F-Type truly superb

Undated Handout Photo. Stunning looks evoke Jaguars of old. See PA Feature MOTORING Motoring Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MOTORING Motoring Column.
Undated Handout Photo. Stunning looks evoke Jaguars of old. See PA Feature MOTORING Motoring Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MOTORING Motoring Column.

It’s been a long wait, but

finally it’s here. Jaguar’s F-Type has had one of the longest build-ups of any car in recent years.

However, all the hype now has to stop and the car itself is required to do the talking.

Jaguar says the F-Type is its first ‘proper’ sports car in 52 years, and as the name suggests, it has to follow in the footsteps of the E-Type.

Massive shoes to fill, of course, but view one alongside the other and you can see lineage, not pastiche.

It’s a convertible only, of course, but the wise decision to stick with a fabric roof means a 12-second raising or lowering routine and no unsightly design compromises. It’s a strict two-seater and the boot is modest but you could fit a generous weekend’s luggage in there without having to skimp.

Approach the door and you press a button to pop out the flush-fitting door handle - a feature that keeps the overall design slick - and drop into the driver’s seat.

It’s snug but not cramped, and aside from the button-covered steering wheel, the cabin is a lesson in simplicity.

A row of straightforward switches, the familiar Jag touchscreen and neat new climate controls complete the job.

Fire it up and there is a surprisingly strident crackle from the exhaust, another area where there has been effort expended to deliver the right kind of feel.

Set off in the standard V6 and there’s an instant feeling of ‘rightness’. The steering is quick and accurate but smooth, the ride quality is immediately impressive while remaining in firm touch with the road.

Left to its own devices, the eight-speed automatic shifts quickly and smoothly and you can surf along on the generous torque. It’s sporty, but it’s still a Jaguar.

A simple squeeze of the accelerator releases another chunk of torque while the gearbox will shift down if required, but ideally you’ll hit the switch to put it into Dynamic mode. Depending on the model, this opens up the exhaust, sharpens throttle and gearbox response, stiffens the suspension and reduces assistance to the steering.

The most dramatic change comes in the noise from the exhaust. Squeeze the accelerator hard and you get a sophisticated but vocal rasp, and when you back off there’s half-a-dozen loud crackles too. You’ll do it on purpose just to hear it over and over.