The words are sung hushed, almost whispered in the sexy, seductive, downright steamy way that only sultry American singer-songwriter Lana Del Ray can deliver. I have to admit that
every time I hear her haunting rendition of Burning Desire I feel the urgent need to
rush off and take a cold shower!
Yet Ms. Del Ray’s burning desire isn’t channeled at some swarthy, tousle-haired Romeo with a Florida tan and buns of steel. No, it’s a desire for an automobile. And after having just driven it, I totally share her burning desire to drive fast and push it to the limits.
What lovely Lana and me are talking about is Jaguar’s sensational new F-TYPE two-seat roadster. Especially the flagship V8 S version with its 495 supercharged horses, the ability to scythe from standstill to 60 in an eyeballs-to-the-back-of-the-head 4.2 seconds, and
an exhaust note that verges on R-rated.
How rude? Click on to YouTube and summon up Jaguar’s new short film, called Desire. It stars Bond-like Brit, Damian Lewis of Homeland fame, with Ms. Del Ray’s hit song as its soundtrack. The storyline is pretty dumb, and the acting as wooden as Pinocchio. Yet the Chilean scenery is gorgeous and some of the
car action is top notch.
But it’s the F-TYPE’s hellfire-and-brimstone roar that steals the show. The noise from those quad tailpipes is so deep, so throaty, you can only think it’s been dubbed-in during post-production!
Not so. Drop down a gear, floor the throttle, and just listen in awe as the aural crescendo builds from 2,000-rpm all the way to its redline. Godzilla
with a migraine, the raptor in Jurassic Park,
Jack Nicholson screaming “You Can’t Handle The Truth” doesn’t sound this scary and intense.
This is Jaguar’s spiritual successor to the legendary E-Type and its first true sports car in 50 years. Much more hardcore and driver-focused than is XK sibling, the F has its crosshairs squarely set on the speedsters from Stuttgart: Porsche’s Boxster S and 911 Carrera Cab.
It boasts all the right sporting credentials; light yet super-stiff aluminum architecture, potent 5.0-liter V-8, eight-speed Quickshift automatic, brakes that could stop time, and arguably
the most precise steering this side of a go-kart!
Of course, life’s too short to own an ugly sports car and here the F-TYPE steals your breath. It’s not drop-dead gorgeous in the way the original E-Type was; it’s too wide and stubby for that – it’s actually 4.5 inches wider than a 911. But there’s a blunt instrument beauty in its gaping, chrome-edged grille, swept-back headlights, and muscular rump.
Inside, this new F is all business, with its extremely driver-centric cockpit. After all the wood and leather cabins of Jaguars of olde, some may think this a little cold and stark. It’s tight too in a way you feel you’re almost wearing the car when you slide behind the thick-rimmed wheel.
At the press of a button the canvas top can drop or levitate in a mere 12 seconds and at speeds up to 30 mph – perfect for when you’re caught as red light turns to green.
But to drive it is to share Ms. De Ray’s burning desire. It has that wonderful dual personality in that it can be smooth and refined when you want it to be, yet insanely fast and hyper-responsive and rewarding when called upon. And on a twisty back road, it is breathtaking beyond belief. The way it spears from corner to corner, the way the transmission shifts with such speed and intuition, the way the car feels so poised and balanced through the turn. And, of course, the way that roaring soundtrack never fails to thrill.
While the entry-level 340-horse supercharged V6 F-TYPE starts at $76,900, and the 380-horse version goes for $88,900, it’s most definitely this flagship 490-horsepower V8 S you’ll want. Even at a rather ambitious $100,900.
But when it comes to delivering a burning desire, this car is simply priceless.
For the latest information on Jaguar luxury-performance vehicles, please visit http://www.jaguarusa.com/