► We drive the new manual F-type
► Six-speed stick shift instead of eight-speed auto
► For purists only? We prefer the two-pedal F...
We thought sports cars only lost manual transmissions over time, but here’s a turn up for the books: an existing model having one introduced. It’s the new 2015 Jaguar F-type V6 S - with three pedals, instead of two.
Why has Jaguar given the F-type a manual option two years after launch?
A six-speed manual is strategically helpful to Jag: it appeals to stick-shift purists; provides an alternative to Porsche 911s and Caymans that swing both ways; and brings the F-type’s price down a little. So the entry-level 335bhp V6 now costs £56,735 at the time of writing, compared with the auto’s £58,535 – and the £48,783 Cayman S manual.
We’re driving the 375bhp V6 S, yours for £65,735. You can’t have a V8 manual; the gearbox’s torque rating won’t tolerate it.
Tell me about the 'box itself
The ZF manual tranmission might be shared with the XE saloon, but Jaguar has set its own bespoke ratios. The PR bumph also talks of semi-dry-sump lubrication and special attention paid to bushings, the rod linkage and the 45mm throw of gearlever - all in the name of feel and sporty precision.
Even the F-type's armrest has been scalloped to complement a manual lever, according to Jaguar's design gurus.
But you’ll make a sacrifice: the manual’s ratio adds 0.4sec to the 0-60mph, subtracts 5mpg and adds 35g/km CO2. This is the opposite of received wisdom, where manuals traditionally out-perform their automatic cousins...
How does the manual Jag F-type perform?
Well, the clutch is user-friendly, the ratios pleasingly tight and the pedals spot-on for heel-and-toe action. But the throw of the lever could be shorter, and as it moves beyond neutral there’s a stubborn notchiness that irks.
Porsche might make dual-clutch ’boxes with a mechanical immediacy and speed-of-light changes, but manuals still sell because they’re cheaper and so enjoyable. Unfortunately, the Jaguar manual doesn’t quite match the Porsche’s tactility on our first acquaintance.
I’d really have to need that £1800 in my back pocket to spec a manual F-type. Ironically, in this case, true purists should go for the eight-speed auto.