JAGUAR Live is not about a wild cat in the flesh. Rather, it is a customer event organised by authorised distributor Wearnes Automobile in the vast open grounds of the Changi Exhibition Centre. The recent event provided a first-hand experience of a selection of Jaguar models available here, including the new the F-Type roadster.
Two "circuits" were marked out to enable participants to experience the prowess of the various cars. One circuit was gymkhana-styled to let drivers experience the lateral grip and stability afforded by its luxury limousine model, the full-sized XJ; the other circuit demonstrated the accelerative and braking capabilities of the various models.
What was surprising is how poised the big XJ was around the handling course, thanks no doubt to its aluminium bodyshell. Yes, the absolute limits were definitely a lot lower than the much sportier F-Type, but the XJ's balance and composure were eye-opening.
There were two variants of the F-Type - a 375 hp 3.0-litre supercharged V6 F-Type S for the handling course and a 488 hp 5.0-litre V8 capable of doing zero to 100 kmh in just 4.3 seconds. Through the tight turns and high-speed sweepers, the Firesand Orange F-Type S was composed and exhibited little body roll, even with the Adaptive Dampers set to normal. The system assesses body motion at 100 Hz and steering wheel angle at 500 Hz to predict body roll rate, ensuring maximum grip.
Together with a mechanical limited slip differential, the F-Type S is as comfortable on the racetrack as it is cruising down Orchard Road, although we suspect the ride might be a tad on the firm side for most of its well-heeled clientele. Nobody, though, is likely to complain about the evocative exhaust note. The F-Type S is one of the best sounding V6s ever. Despite being supercharged, the note is unadulterated and each downshift produces a sharp bark from the centre-mounted twin tailpipes. Best of all, an exhaust bypass switch allows it to go from purr to roar at the click of a button.
Jumping over to the F-Type S V8 with an extra 113 hp, the difference is not as marked as one would expect - until you decide to launch it from a standstill. And it is so easy, your mother could do it. Simply floor the throttle with traction control deactivated and the car will simply rocket off the line with just enough wheelspin to let the person you left behind at the lights know you mean business.
The eight-speed ZF automatic transmission swaps cogs as fast as any double-clutch transmission and yes, it blips to match engine to gearbox speed during downshifts. No effort whatsoever is required. Simply pull back on the lovely orange anodised shift paddles behind the wheel and concentrate on hitting the apex or looking cool with the top down. Whatever your cup of tea, the F-Type should more than suffice.
Jaguar F-Type S
Engine 2,995cc V6 supercharged
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Max power 375 hp @ 6,500rpm
Max torque 460 Nm @ 3,500-5,000 rpm
0-100 kmh 4.9 secs
Top speed 275 kmh
CO2 emissions 213 g/km
Average OMV $92,000
Price $430,000 (with COE)
Distributor Wearnes Automotive
Tel 6378 2626