I purr slowly through the town of Doneztebe, on a (perfect) road that parallels the Esca River. The F-Type is cut from a very modern design language: It is sleek, low to the ground, and beautiful in a modern sense, with a sinister fascia and hopped-up haunches that flare out above the 20-inch rear wheels. The quad pipes in the V8S model (the sportiest of three; the other two are more economical V6s) rumbles the sleepy village awake. The interior is sensibly arranged. A trigger-pull shifter selects gears; the ride mode switch and the climate controls are given a mechanical feel — a subtle echo of old-timier days.
Out on the winding mountains approaching Basque Country, the F-Type roars to life, rocketing along smooth straights (it can go from 50 mph to 75 mph in just 2.3 seconds), and perfectly balanced in turns that force a passenger to pump on invisible brakes. Jaguar positions this as a more affordable competitor to the Porsche 911 Carrera and the Audi R8, but it’s not as whip-like as the 911, and it’s not a supercar. This is a meaty monster in a small package, almost more of a muscle car than sports car.
But so what if it’s not as perfect as the E-Type? The way it comes alive on the Spanish back roads suggests the F isn’t a retread from Jaguar’s complicated past. It’s a whole new type.