Image imagine: Jaguar F-Type

The Jaguar F-Type brochure has drawn me in: on a recent flight to Canada, I happily sat flicking through it, staring at the interior… and like many a potential buyer, wondering what it’s like to drive.

This is where a bit of experience perhaps comes in. What clues can I get from the design and the layout that may indicate what the F-Type feels like? More tellingly, what does it seem Callum wants me to feel?

Here are five imaginary driving impressions I’ve gained so far:

  1. Eyes fall immediately on the stubby gearlever. I can imagine pulling it back and forth, feeling the drive being taken up tautly and firmly, with no slack, eliciting a feeling of a rigid connection between engine, gearbox and rear wheels. You wouldn’t get this impression with Jag’s rotary controller.
  2. The dished steering wheel is unique, seemingly with a ‘top’ section bigger than the bottom. It looks plump, but shapely, curvaceous: muscular rather than fat. Feel? Meatier than current Jags, faster but also with synaptic response just off-centre. The confusing lightness of the XK will be gone, replaced by muscle that reflects the wheel’s design.
  3. It’s driver-biased: Callum’s talk of sectioning off the driver actually works on paper, thanks to that asymmetrical bar that becomes a grab handle for the passenger. It’s going to feel very much ‘your’ car from behind the wheel.
  4. It’s all nicely cocooned: I imagine sitting in it rather than on it. The height of the centre console helps here, as does the height of the gearlever while twin deeply cowled dials behind that lovely steering wheel also adds to the solus focus. Somewhere you’ll go to feel warm, safe and secure.
  5. The drive? I can, oddly, imagine sitting low in it, legs stretched out ahead, feeling like I’m sitting atop the rear axle with a long nose stretching ahead, pointing accurately into a corner with light precision as I play with the throttle and handle the friendly rear end.

All this from an image? There’s clear suggestion at work here – think I need a chat to Callum to find out how he’s done it.

Suggestive design doesn’t always work in the car world, mind. Who’d expect the BMW’s welcoming M3 seats to be positioned so high and thus feel so out of sorts? It goes both ways, too. Who’d expect the godawful steering wheel design of the MG6 to transmit such wonderful information?

But that I’m thinking such stuff at all with the F-Type shows that Jaguar’s nearly there with this car. You know that if they’ve got this right, chances are they’ll have got the bits beneath right too.

Early next year, we’ll find out. As I sit, and stare, I hope I’m not disappointed. Something tells me I won’t be.

Oh, and the anodized aluminium detailing is gorgeous. Mountain bikes have been doing this for years – I remember going to an anodizing factory to pick up bike parts back in 1997 – but it’s taken ages to come into cars despite being supercool. Hopefully Jaguar’s starting a trend here. 

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