As with all sports car ranges, the Jaguar F-Type has an optimum setup. It can be found in the form of the Jaguar F-Type V6 S. With weight at a minimum, power slightly improved and handling properties placed at the centre of the package, Jaguar are pitching the F-Type V6 S as the pick of the bunch. By now you’ll already have read our Jaguar F-Type V6 review; what more can the F-Type V6 S offer?
Stepping from the V6 into the V6 S, it is the starter button that begins to tell the story. In the V6 this gets a black finish. In the V6 S, Jaguar adds an extra touch of sporting flair with an orange ‘Ignis’ finish, chosen to match that of expensive professional divers watches. Immediately, you get the feeling that this version means business.
The Jaguar F-Type V6 S gets a slightly uprated version of the same 3.0 litre V6 engine. 380hp is guided from the front-mounted engine to the rear wheels. The V6 S also gains a mechanical differential. In fact, on account of the optimal setup, a potent light-weight engine matched to a lightweight aluminium structure, Jaguar believes that the V6 S will be the most popular version of the F-Type.
0-100km/h happens in 4.9 seconds with 0-60mph in just 4.8 seconds. Top speed is limited to 171mph, 10mph more than in the standard V6 model. The Jaguar F-Type V6 S has an 8-speed semi automatic gearbox, as do all other models in the range.
The active exhaust system comes as standard on this model. As does the dynamic driving controls which will be explained later on. Another interesting feature unique to the V6 S is the launch control function. Only the V6 S gets launch control which indicates that this model is the track-day preference. It works pretty well too. Far from having a complicated procedure, you simply put your foot on the brake from standstill, build the revs and release the brake.
The changes make the F-Type V6 S feel more raw in comparison to the standard V6 model. The chassis has a slightly firmer ride and the extra power creates a faster feel and, probably the most important feature, a raspier exhaust note. The changes don not bring about a complete change in the F-Type’s character. The V6 S is more of an evolution of the standard car. Yet the Jaguar F-Type V6 S feels more focused.
In the V6 S, you start to notice the performance credentials a little more. This is a traditional rear wheel drive roadster in every respect. The feel of the F-Type is dictated by what happens at the rear, as you would expect with any rear wheel drive roadster. Suspension at the front is noticeable more compliant with stiff springs and heavier damping at the rear. Jaguar has actually managed to increase the camber by a small percentage in the F-Type over any other model they currently produce.
As a track car, the V6 S is an easy and rewarding car to drive. It has a slight tendency towards oversteer once you hit the limits of grip. The traction control, coupled with the mechanical limited slip differential are fascinating too. Once you lose traction, both systems work seamlessly to cut and move power between the axles. The end result is a nice progressive feel and a controlled slide, no matter your driving experience.
Away from the track, we start working through the tight hairpins and mountain roads of the Spanish Pyrenees. The car feels every bit as balanced and controlled as the V6. Jaguar engineers have worked hard to ensure that the F-Type is perfectly balanced. It gets an almost 50:50 weight balance which gives the driver the confidence required to hustle through tight winding roads. Steering is about as fast and direct as any other of its competitors. The V6 S really is a joy to drive.
The package of changes that come as standard with the V6 S justify the extra cost. Most will look first at the active exhaust system. It features a butterfly valve, much like the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, which opens once the revs reach a certain level. Alternatively, a button can be pressed which opens these valves completely. You’ll want to keep that turned on all of the time as the exhaust note is the one of the best on the market.
The V6 S also gets a Dynamic Mode. This is a familiar function on many performance Jaguars. Yet for the F-Type, Dynamic Mode is a little different. A switch to the left of the gear selector activates it. The changes include a sharper throttle response, a heavier steering rack, faster gear changes and a stiffer suspension system. A separate menu activated through the TFT screen gives the driver complete control over the changes.
Say you like the Dynamic Mode suspension mapping, yet the gear changes are a little too extreme for your style of driving. A simple touch of the ‘normal’ tab under the gearbox menu retains all the Dynamic Mode settings yet reverts the shift speed back to the standard suspension settings. It takes a while to get used to it all, yet it is a feature that owners will really find useful. Once you learn how to use it, the interface is very quick and intuitive.
Inside, you won’t find a single piece of wood grain trim. Luxurious leathers lines the dashboard with a futuristic textured centre console. Jaguar chose to use a mixture of touch screen TFT combined with circular analogue dials for the air conditioning. Clearly Jaguar want to retain a feeling of tradition whilst providing customers with a modern take on the iconic roadster shape.
Taken in the round, the Jaguar F-Type V6 S is a very accomplished machine. It rides just as well as the V6 yet it introduces a range of changes that help make it perform at an improved level. We can see why Jaguar expect it to sell better than any other model. If anything though, the V6 S should be considered for the exhaust note. Harder edged than the V6, we’ve not heard anything like it. With the active exhaust engaged, it really makes itself heard. With the top down, very few roadsters really come close to the atmosphere.