Jaguar F-Type V6 manual review

Driven: the poverty spec F-Type V6 manual

By Tim Kendall | 9th October 2015

Vital Statistics

  • Model: F-Type V6 manual
  • Engine: 3.0 V6 supercharged (335hp)
  • Transmission: Manual 6-speed
  • Price: £56,745
  • 0-60: 5.7 secs
  • Top Speed: 162 mph
  • Economy: 28.8 mpg
  • Options fitted to test car:
    N/A

What is it?

The bum basic F-Type. Busting for a scrap on the Boxster S’s patch is this new entry-level V6, which plays 335hp against the upstart from Stuttgart’s 311hp. Two flavours of 3.0-litre V6 have been with the F-Type since launch in 2013, but the difference here is that you can stir the supercharged motor with a stick and three pedals, instead of an 8-speed self-shifter with paddles.  That brings the price tag down to £56,745 before options, or a more palatable £51k if you opt for a fixed lid.

Who buys a manual these days?

You may well ask.

The manual Jaguar F-Type gets a six speed ZF box, which shaves about £1,800 off the price of the auto, and has been installed at the behest of our friends on the other side of the pond apparently. And we all know yanks like stick-shifts because they’re seen as all exotic and European, probably. Still, they reckon about 20 per cent of F-Type sales in the USA will be for the manual version, and half that over here.

Jaguar F-Type V6 manual

18″ wheels a bit undernourished in the looks department but help the ride

Where does the Jaguar F-Type V6 manual fit in?

Pitched in no-man’s land between the Porsche 911 and Boxster, the F-Type is a hard car to pigeon-hole. With the fruiter 375hp V6 S version retailing at just shy of £68k, the Jag looks like value against the comparable rear-engined Porsche, for which you’ll need about £82k before options. But lower down the F-Type ladder its case is less clear, the cheaper Boxster S troubling Jaguar’s marketing machine with a £48k price tag and more finessed handling.

Jaguar F-Type V6 manual

20% of F-Types sold in the USA will be sticks…

Jaguar F-Type V6 manual

A typical DrivingTalk road test route, yesterday.

Will it look good on my driveway?

Silly question. Two years on from launch the F-Type still looks tight. It’s a finely wrought shape without a bad angle to these eyes. If you were being less charitable, you might opine that this poverty spec car looks under-wheeled on the standard 18-inchers, but at least the ride is more compliant as a result. It’s not exactly terrible on 19 or 20-inch rims though.

The poverty spec cliché is harsh though. Even the base car comes stacked with sat-nav, electric leather chairs, xenons and DAB, so you’re hardly slumming it – as should be the case at nearly £57k.

Jaguar F-Type V6 manual

F-Type’s driving position spot-on

What’s the Jaguar F-Type V6 manual like to drive?

I expected something heavy and clunky but pleasingly, the shift action is really positive – light, short of throw and quick. The clutch action is also light and the bite not too sharp, which makes it incredibly easy to drive. I didn’t kangaroo or stall it, which is a compliment to Jaguar’s skill tweaking the software to suit the manual ‘box, rather than my driving ability.

The one bugbear for the Top Trumps beards among us is that the 8-speed auto is possibly too good, and quicker to boot. The sprint to 60 takes 5.7 seconds when done the old fashioned way, and 5.3 seconds via the slick shifting auto.

Jaguar F-Type V6 manual

Whichever box you choose it’s a quick car but not that quick. Oddly that’s one of the things I really liked about it – go figure. It’s because you can really use the performance and enjoy wringing it out without getting into too much trouble. Don’t get me wrong, with a mostly aluminium structure and 335hp to call on, it will go fast, but you can have far more involvement in the experience of getting there than something over-powered with a point and squirt repertoire and no shades in between. It’s refreshing.

Handling? No change here, it’s still expertly judged and amongst rear-wheel drive sports cars, the F-Type is up there with the best: entertaining and sharp.

Jaguar F-Type V6 manual

Is it still loud?

Sort of. One of the stand-out features of the F-Type I remember from my first outing in one is the thoroughly uncouth but deliciously shouty exhaust which features on the more powerful S and V8 versions. The base car still gets a sports exhaust but not the snap, crackle and pop of the switchable one. Below 4k rpm it’s fairly civilised – throaty but not intrusive. Above that it likes to shout pretty loudly. It’s a good balance – not too intrusive for everyday driving, but there if you want to drive like you’ve stolen it.

Topless or tin-top?

Tough call, I tested the cabriolet version on a sunny day. Roof down, it’s a bloody nice way to while away a crisp autumn morning. The cabin is relatively hushed with the roof off and the wind deflector in place, but refined with the fabric roof on. I’d still go for the coupe though – there’s something less showy and more business-like about it. It also looks jaw droppingly brilliant.

Jaguar F-Type V6 manual

Wind buffeting well suppressed with roof down

Anything else to know about the F-Type V6 manual?

In common with the rest of the range, there’s new electric power steering. Not the purist’s choice of course, but they’re all at it these days, even Porsche. Oh yes – if you want a V8 F-Type you’ll have to have the self-shifter, there being no manual option for the most powerful F.

 

Jaguar F-Type V6 manual

Jaguar F-Type V6 manual review

  • Performance: 7/10
  • Ride & Handling: 9/10
  • Economy: 7/10
  • Equipment: 8/10
  • Want one factor: 8/10

The Verdict

There’s a well-worn argument that the stick has had its day thanks to the proliferation of 8-speed ZFs and super-quick, super-efficient dual-clutch boxes which do a better job of swapping ratios than the ham-fisted man on the street can. Three pedal rear-wheel drive sports cars are becoming an endangered species as a result. Well, up yours, acceleration and screw you, efficiency. That argument conveniently ignores the engagement and tactility which a really good manual box, like the one fitted to the F-Type, provides. I don’t care that the stats say the auto is better, if you like the business of actually getting to 60 rather than getting there as quickly as possible then for me, it’s three pedals and a stick all day long.

Summary

  • A proper three pedal sports car
  • The Boxster S exists....

By Tim Kendall
9th October 2015

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