A whole new level of motoring awe
The Jaguar F-Type. may be the prettiest thing on four wheels.

The Jaguar F-Type is a ridiculous car to drive. It's ridiculously fun, ridiculously fast and ridiculously beautiful.

Oh, and ridiculously impractical and ridiculously expensive.

But I'm going to ignore those last two points for a moment, because once I pressed the accelerator on the F-Type S Convertible, I was taken to a new level of motoring awe.

In fact I'm chuckling as I write this, recalling how I took my mate Simon out for a spin in this two-seater, turned on to the freeway, popped it into Dynamic race mode and, with a clear road ahead, floored it.

A couple of 40-something family guys were reduced to hysterical, thigh-slapping schoolboy giddiness as this piece of precision British engineering shot through what seemed like the sound barrier in the blink of an eye.

And all of this in a car which may be the prettiest thing I've seen on four wheels - like an MX-5's better-looking older sister and something that turned heads wherever I took it.

But that body is not the only figure that's impressive in the F-Type S.

It can go from 0-100km/h in just 4.9 seconds and it has a top speed of 275km/h.

Its V6, 3.0-litre supercharged petrol engine produces a colossal 450Nm of torque and 280kW of power.

Yet the eight-speed quick-shift automatic has a combined fuel economy of 8.8L/100km. That's less than some everyday family cars I've tried recently.

The soft-top roof can be opened or closed electronically in just 12 seconds - and you can do so even driving at up to 50km/h.

A rear spoiler deploys at 100km/h to produce up to 120kg of downforce, only going back down again when you reach 60km/h.

The sports suspension has something called adaptive dynamics, which measures steering input 500 times a second to predict the body's roll rate and adjusts dampers to reduce it.

And it has a retail price of $171,045 PLUS on-road costs.

Indeed, the car I was in had options that took it to $200,875.10. These alone cost more than the Kia I was in the previous week and they include a Meridian sound system - which boosts the standard 380 watts to 770 - for "only" $6900; a premium leather interior for $3970; a wind deflector to keep the noise down for $550; race-inspired paint for $5620; performance seats for $2730; and a switchable exhaust for $260.

That last one could be the best $260 you spend in any car. It lets you manually activate the bypass valves on the centre-mounted twin active sports exhausts to produce an even richer noise. It also means you can drive along the freeway at night, roof down while tapping the accelerator, and make the F-Type moan like Chewbacca.

The other big moan you'll have is the storage. It's basically the equivalent of a shopping bag.

The boot's official volume is 196.2 litres - but that's before you add in the spare tyre - and there is no space behind the seats. It meant when I picked my wife up in the Jag for the first time, to take her to the outdoor cinema just off Riverside Drive (and cruise about with the roof down pretending were were rich) she found herself in the passenger seat with a big blue IKEA bag full of cushions and rugs on her lap, blocking her view. Very glamorous.

Talking of the view, with that roof up there's two large blind spots at either side, which is not ideal when you're in a 200K car trying to change lanes. And because it's so low, getting in and out can be a stuggle for some.

Still, on a perfect April weekend I had the sunscreen on and the soft-top down all the time. And I had that near-seven grand stereo off too so I could listen to the beautiful exhaust note. It was utterly, ridiculously, sensational.

THE VERDICT
One Powerball.

JAGUAR F-TYPE
Model: S Convertible
Price: $171,045 ($200,875 as tested)
Engine: 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol
Outputs: 280kW/450Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Thirst: 8.8L/100km

COMPETITORS
PORSCHE BOXTER
Model GTS
Price $152,690
Engine 3.4-litre six-cylinder petrol
Outputs 243kW/370Nm
Transmission Seven-speed automatic
Thirst 8.2L/100km

MERCEDES SLK
Model 55 AMG
Price $154,690
Engine 5.5-litre V8 petrol
Outputs 310kW/540Nm
Transmission Seven-speed automatic
Thirst 8.4L/100km

ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE
Model Base Roadster
Price $260,000
Engine 4.7-litre V8 petrol
Ouputs 313kW/470Nm
Transmission Six-speed manual
Thirst 12.9L/100km

The West Australian

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