On the border line.

I am Jaguar, Hear me Roar 

Car: Jaguar F-Type

Drive: Numinbah Valley, QLD (84km)

Pix: Dawn Green


It had been a long time coming. When the E-Type ended production in 1975, who would have thought an F-Type would take more than two decades to conception — let alone another 13 years to reach production. 

Little wonder, then, that my anticipation and excitement levels were in top gear when a new F-Type roadster came on the road test fleet in early 2014. I even went as far as taking a few days’ official leave, so as to max out the experience.

Result – a mid-week jaunt from Brisbane to the NSW North Coast via the lush, scenic hinterland, specifically beautiful Numinbah Valley, overnight at Pottsville and return.

There’s plenty to Numinbah Valley. A patchwork quilt of cleared dairy land and cane fields embroidered with rocky outcrops, waterfalls and pockets of rainforest, it covers some 116 square kilometres. 

On the run down, our drive crosses the Queensland/NSW state border and follows the road signs as they change to ‘34’ and then ‘Numinbah Rd’. 

We pick up the story at Nerang and, with top down on a fine early autumn morning, head south along Highway 97, the road running straight and true.

As we advance towards Advancetown, skirting the lake of the same name, the curves start to come in earnest. 

Already the F-Type is delivering on what I had dared hope it would. The cabin impresses as a well-balanced match of modernity and tradition, function and comfort, refinement and sporty execution. 

So as not to interrupt the rhythm of the drive, I resist the temptation to stop and enjoy the wonders of the Natural Bridge, a rock arch in Springbrook National Park, through which a waterfall along Cave Creek cascades spectacularly. Another time.  

As the road unfolds, there’s more interaction with tiller in hand, but not in a short, sharp, hairpin kind of way typical of a mountain pass. No, Numinbah Valley is relatively flat, the sparkling, azure Pacific Ocean away to the left in the distance, verdant mountain range to the right; a broad, fertile ancient flood plain in between. 

Which is why we have come here. Forget tight and twisty, I figured, feed the F-Type a flowing road where the radii of its curves and corners open and Jaguar’s brilliant engineering can come into full play. 

5 Sexy front three quarters.
Sexy front three-quarters.


I set Drive Mode to ‘Dynamic’, the continuously-adaptive dampers firm up, hydraulically-assisted steering gains weight, throttle response sharpens, 8-speed auto mapping turns aggressive and stability control backs off its intervention. The cat is poised to leap.

Force-fed via a Roots blower, the 3.0-litre alloy V6 comes on song with strong and immediate throttle response. It hauls effortlessly and linearly to 6500 rpm, delivering 280kW of peak power; but no one-trick pony, it also does great stuff in the mid-range where 460Nm of torque peaks at 3500 rpm and hangs around up to 5000. 

Love, like I do, a fitting soundtrack to a good drive? Then, forget radio or recorded music; instead enable the switchable loud pipes on the active exhaust system.

Gear shifts trigger a thunderous crack or angry rumble, depending on how you want to play it; over-run eliciting a belligerent snap, crackle and pop.

There’s no purity of purpose like that of a rear-drive chassis and the F-Type is a gold-plated example. Steering and throttle inputs are handsomely rewarded, the car feeling agile, finely balanced and devoid of body roll.

Fat 19-inch Pirelli P Zero rubber affords all the grip and drive you could want, but when a more playful relationship between driver and car is desired, the mechanical limited-slip differential and adjustable traction control sees to it. 

There’s been no call for a solid workout of the high-performance braking system, but I give it a short, sharp going over anyway.

Speed washes off like a high-pressure hose blasting away a chunk of road grime.  

You know you’re close to the township of Murwillumbah when lush sugar cane fields close in on all four sides, their long, green stalks waving in the breeze. If the name sounds familiar, it could well be because of the town’s short, but memorable, era in hosting an annual historic car sprint meeting through the streets.

Organised by a hard-working and dedicated team led by the late, great enthusiast Roger Ealand, Speed on Tweed ran from 2002 through until 2008.

If ever its revival comes to fruition, oh how I’d love to be part of it; better still, behind the wheel of an F-Type.      


2014 Jaguar F-Type 3.0 S/C V6

Basic price: $171,045

Engine: 3.0-litre s/c DOHC V6

Power: 280kW @ 6500 rpm

Torque: 460Nm @ 3500-5000 rpm

Transmission: 8-spd auto

Weight: 1577kg

Drive: Rear-wheel

0-100km/h: 4.9 secs


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