ONE OF GAL’S most admirable traits comes in a graceful distancing from her homeland, Israel, where she remains a full-time resident, flying to Hollywood or shoot locations for extended work stays, but always calling Tel Aviv home. She is proud of her roots, and having served her mandatory two years in the army, is an Israeli in every sense of the word. She, in fact, is potentially more Israeli than most, having been honored Miss Israel in 2004, and as one of the “Woman of the Israeli army” in a Maxim photo shoot dating back to 2007. But the model-turned-actress-now-mother has made it clear she does not view her role as an ambassador for Israel. She represents herself.
The F-Type understands. Like Gal is with Israel, it is proud of Jaguar’s historical relevance, it’s racing roots, particularly those of the vaulted E-Type it so often draws comparisons to — crouched on its back haunches with sculpted tail lights, it has a similar bonnet bulge. And even if the company refuses to call it a tribute, its first sports car in 50 years simply speaks to the driver’s soul in a way none of its models have since the iconic roadster. But it isn’t a flashy attempt to tug at some long-forgotten heartstrings.
The F-Type is a sports car in its own right. Its lightweight aluminum architecture embraces a front engine and sits on rear-wheel drive — meaning it feels like a sports car. We were in the middle model of three (starting at $69,000 there is a 340-hp V6, while the 495-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V8 can easily clear $100,000 with additional features) that are available, and it was the one we’d definitely recommend. When we drove the V8, there were moments the car got away from us, and we assume it would be the same for other non-professional drivers tempted to open it up. The supercharged V6, on the other hand, accelerated with great power, but harnessed it in a way you at least felt in control. And in whichever model, the exhaust (in normal and sports-mode) throws you full force back into the glory days of the sports car when that distinctive rumble barreled along winding roads.
A point of contention in certain circles is how Jaguar has decided not to offer the F-Type in manual transmission, what many people immediately identify as an integral part of a sports car. While its eight-speed “Quickshift” automatic transmission with center-console mounted SportShift gear selector and steering wheel-mounted paddles might be in line with its supercar competitors, this is a sports cars, not a supercar. But less and less people are purchasing manual these days, and the automaker’s drivers who tagged along in the caravan convinced us Jaguar was right in their decision — and would be proven so in the years to come.