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An English Rose

Driving through the Cotswolds? Keep it British with the new Jaguar F-Type

Author James Williams Illustration Brett Affrunti

Starting price: $69,000

Starting price: $69,000

Pub denizens were choking on their shepherd’s pie with stout when we cruised by in the new F-Type, which harks back to the 1960s astyling of Jaguar’s iconic E-Type. Updates to the aerodynamic clamshell arches include door handles that retract to sit flush with the paintwork once you slide in and a rear spoiler that deploys when you kick the car into high gear.

If you’re stuck behind a tractor on a narrow lane near Chipping Norton, that would be the time to activate the roof. Press a switch when you’re doing 30 mph or less and the top will fold away in just 12 seconds. This is great for breathing the English country air, but less great if you’re stuck behind a truck full of manure for the next 10 miles.

The F-Type may be a two-seater, but the focus is on the driver, with a passenger-side left-handed grab handle that will let your traveling partner know to keep his mitts off the center console. The speedometer and tachometer may be analog, but the touchscreen and air vents—which vanish when not in use—make it clear that you’re driving in the present.

The quad exhaust pipes were anything but polite. We disturbed diners at the chi-chi restaurants of the town of Broadway and made a family jump as they gathered for a photo on the bridge at Bourton-on-the-Water. The engine’s purr is more like a growl, and when you’re in Dynamic mode, the volume goes up to 11.

Just like the brakes, the F-Type’s steering rack cuts closer than a barber’s blade, with plenty of lock to help pull you out of the bends. It’s superbly balanced, too, as we found out on the A424 from Burford to Stow-on-the-Wold, where unexpected kinks in seemingly endless straightaways can catch you off guard as you’re taking in the pastoral scenery.

It’s stiffer than you’d expect, but feeling the road is part of the fun with the F-Type. The ride feels less bumpy at higher speeds, and the car’s computerized suspension system adapts nicely as road conditions change—which we discovered on Fish Hill outside Broadway, a somewhat rugged and wiggly uphill climb.

Under the bonnet is a super-charged V6 (also available in V8). It does zero to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and has a top speed of 161 mph—pinning you back in your seat as you touch the redline and pull some Gs. That’s not so British after all. And at 28 mpg on the highway, you might have enough British pounds left over to feast on some bangers and mash.

Paddle shifts make for great fun, but the eight-speed automatic transmission anticipates your every whim so well you don’t need them. Put your foot down and it pips angrily above 4,000 rpm, not that you’ll be doing this on the driveway at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill—that other Great Briton.

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