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New Jaguar F-Type Chequered Flag 2019 review

We hit the road in the special edition Jaguar F-Type Chequered Flag, which arrives as part of the brand’s 2020 MY updates

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

While the latest sports cars topple the Jaguar F-Type for outright driver appeal, you can’t argue with the British bruiser’s emotional charm. It continues to tug at the heartstrings in a way the clinical Porsche 911 cannot. This Chequered Flag offers little more than an expensive aesthetic upgrade, however, so unless you value the bespoke sills and interior trim, the standard P380 R-Dynamic is a better buy.

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 The Jaguar F-Type has always been a left-field choice alongside thoroughbred sports cars like the Porsche 911. What it lacked in outright precision it more than made up for in deep-chested character. 

As the F-Type approaches its sixth birthday, Jaguar has sprinkled its Coupe and Convertible models with a few 2020 MY updates, including parking sensors and cameras across the range, and suspension upgrades to the V8 R.

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In addition, Jaguar has also announced the F-Type Chequered Flag special edition. Production isn’t limited by numbers, but instead cars will be built to order for the duration of the model year. We’re now driving said special for the first time, in rear-wheel drive P380 Coupe guise.

The Chequered Flag badge has been applied to both the 2.0-litre four-cylinder and 3.0-litre V6 models to celebrate 70 years of Jaguar sports cars. The lineage started in 1948 with the legendary XK120 and stretches seven decades through D-Type, E-Type and XK150, as well as the seventies XJ-S and nineties XK8.

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All F-Type Chequered Flag models feature 20-inch alloy wheels, red brake callipers and an SVO-spec body kit with bespoke badging. Together, it’s enough to give even the entry-level Ingenium models a whiff of flagship V8 style.

At £72,715, our car commands a premium of £5,760 over the equivalent P380 R-Dynamic model, which seems a little steep given the standard car’s generous kit list. There are just three paint colours to choose from, but if you rate the styling tweaks and extra exclusivity, it’s worth a look.

Inside there’s special Windsor leather, contrast stitching and black suede headlining, as well as a red 12 o’clock marker on the steering wheel. There’s some dark aluminium trim on the dash, but otherwise is standard F-Type fare.

That’s no bad thing. Even six years since it launched, the Jag Coupe feels well built inside. The infotainment system is a little laggy – and still lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity – but the way the cabin cocoons around you ensures you’re rarely distracted from the task in hand.

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And the F-Type remains a car of unparalleled character – at least in V6 trim. The engine is raucous, and while it can’t match the almost anti-social V8 for noise, the constant underlying burble feels perfectly judged; fizzing away at idle and gargling purposefully around town. Find a piece of open road however and the engine comes alive, screaming to the redline with a soundtrack like no other. It’s addictive. 

A new (or old, for that matter) 911 is sharper to drive; the steering better judged and the chassis more compliant. But that doesn’t mean the F-Type feels aged or misjudged. It’s still a fantastic all-rounder, with an excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox and acceptable motorway refinement. 

We tried our rear-wheel-drive Coupe back-to-back with an all-wheel-drive Convertible, and the difference was night and day. The AWD system makes the F-Type a fantastic all-weather car; where the drop-top gripped with unflappable traction, its fixed-roof sibling displayed a keen propensity to step out with all the driver aids disabled.

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