---------EXTERIOR / HISTORY------------
After driving and racing many Jaguars over the years, and reviewing several of them, one
thing that has always struck is how "un"jaguar-like they all are. The jaguar (the animal, not the car) is supposed to be an
agile being. It is the third-heaviest of the big cats, yet is nimble enough to climb trees. Lions and tigers can weigh past
500 pounds, while a jaguar weighing over 300 is uncommon. Jaguars are not necessarily the fastest cats around, but
they are quick on their feet. Instead of speed, the jaguar tends to rely more on stealth, ambush, and strength to kill
So it's notable how often these Jags in our game are not quick on their feet...not agile...and often
clumsy. Even the XJ220, which resembles its Group C racing cousins, often feels very bulky in corners (mostly in GT4) where
apparently we can't take advantage of its aerodynamics. It's not so much that the XJ220 isn't race-bred, it's that it's
so damn big!
Was it always this way, though? Have Jaguars always been road-worthy cars, but not necessarily race-worthy
cars? Well here in GT4, we now have the chance to experience the way it was. A bit of history; the very reason Jaguar
should be considered a force to be reckoned with. None of the Jags in our games so far (GT2 or GT4) can really even be
compared to the E-Type, not even slightly.
The Jaguar E-Type was first shown at the 1961 Geneva Auto Show
to rave reviews. It was then marketed in the early 1960s as either a coupe or a roadster, and was a successor to Jaguar's
D-types. These racy automobiles were only called E-Types in Europe; apparently in America we got Jaguar XK-Es instead. Jaguar
had won lots of races during the '50s with their D-Types, including Le Mans three years in a row. But by 1960, William Lyons
(Jaguar's director at the time) decided to concentrate more on road cars. It cost money to keep advancing in the world of
racing, you see, and Jaguar apparently didn't have this sort of money on hand at the time.
The E-Type brought back
the magic. Although not as stellar as D-Types, Jaguar's E-Types competed successfully in GT racing, winning many events in
the SCCA's production sports car class, for instance. They also made success in drag racing, too. There was a movie
by Jan and Dean (surfing movie, I'm assuming...I've never watched it) where Jaguar E-Types were drag racing, helping
proliferate this car's reputation in the quarter-mile.
Officially, there were three versions
of the E-type made from 1961 until the mid '70s. The car in our game was originally code-named the E-type 3.8, but eventually
became the "Series 1". There was a Series 1, Series 2, and Series 3. Prototypes of the E-Type 3.8 included an aluminum
body, but once actual production started, Jaguar decided to go with conventional steel instead. This car (in our game)
is already somewhat of a lightweight when compared to many modern GTs, can you imagine if it were even lighter?
first 500 Series 1 cars were known as "flat floor" E-types. These had (obviously) a flat floor that didn't cater to much
leg room. This eventually changed. The flat-floor cars also featured old-fashioned exterior wire-type hood latches,
and are amongst the rarest of the E-types. After these 500, the hood could be opened via a conventional interior cable,
as most of today's cars have. The car in GT4 is apparently not a flat-floor, since from what I can see it hasn't
got these exterior latches.
Over its 14-year life span, 70,000 E-Types were made, and there were 15,498 Series
1 cars, which isn't bad. The E-type features an aerodynamic design and a classic long hood/short deck body situation. Apparently,
real-life drivers complained that the interior is cramped, ingress and egress difficult, especially for taller people. Notice
also the bodywork. In its day, the E-Type was still surrounded by a slew of others with chrome, art deco looks, and tail fins.
The E-Type, with its oval-shaped grille, large fenders (which hang far over those wheels), and slippery shape was on its own
path. No other car of its day (or since) was or is like the E-Type. Not Lotus, not Chevy, not Porsche. Some Italian cars
of the late '50s / early '60s come close, but the E-Type is certainly not Italian. This feminine machine boasts a flat-slung,
sleek & slinky look, even before it's been lowered with an aftermaket suspension. And check out that HUGE chrome-plated
Finally, there's the wheels. Those big, shiny, wire-spoked wheels, with authentic knock-off centers. Watching
them spin during replays is downright hypnotic at times. Nothing modern from BBS, American Racing, Yokohama (whatever)
even comes close to holding my attention anymore, so far as fascination goes.
Weight has always been a
problem with Jaguars in our games. Even the XJ220 can't be accused of puffyness. Since the E-Type weighs in at a very managable 2,687
pounds, one might wonder what the heck happened! I've never driven a modern Jag in any Gran Turismo which weighs
under 3,000, and that's with full weight reductions. It's a shame there aren't any modern Jags seemingly devoted to a simple
sporting nature. Nowadays, they're all about luxury ... performance is secondary in any modern Jag (excepting the XJ220, of
course). But enough talk, let's get to driving!
-------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN-------------
By the time I got behind the wheel of my first E-type, it had 188 miles on its odometer! I let B-spec
Betty drive before me, you see, and she put these miles on. And she was driving on some N3 tires. But I'm feeling
lucky...a low-mileage E-type as this one should sell for quite a pretty penny, yet I didn't have to buy it! It's a prize
from GT4's British GT Cup series, after all.
My GT5 E-Type, on the other hand, can be bought from this game's
used car lot. It earned me a "Maximum Mileage" trophy, matter of fact, with a mighty 213,752 miles on its odometer.
I'm not entirely sure if it feels like a car with over 200,000 miles on it, though.
The 3.8 liter dual-overhead
cam straight 6 in this model had been proven over the course of earlier Jags by the time it appeared in the E-type. Featuring
three SU type carburetors, it may not have been all that fuel efficient, but there should be plenty of speed. Redline is at
5,500 (which is also where peak power lies) which is kind of a bummer, however there are a full thousand RPMs of revving available
after this area is passed. +Rep!
So I sat there revving for awhile after Betty went off to wherever the B-spec drivers
go when we give them time off. In GT4, it's an indistinct sound this engine makes. It's hard to say whether or not it's an
actual E-Type, you see. As I get to know it better, I start to notice what sounds like a zippy sound along with the engine's
revs...going like zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! I'm assuming this is the sounds of those twin cams having their fun, so
more +Rep to Polyphony! Install a racing exhaust, and the engine's even purr at idle turns into a delicious, rich-fuel grumble.
GT5 car has a different engine sample, interestingly enough. At lower revs (below 4,000) there's an audible tik-tik-tik-tik
going on, something I have not yet heard in any of GT5's others so far. This tends to go away once we rev to faster speeds.
I'd say GT5's 3.8 sounds more delicious overall, but both cars in both games are aurally pleasing. More +rep to PD.
gear provides lots of torque to those rear wheels early. One must be careful. 2nd is also difficult at times,
when we're really pushing this car out of a turn, for instance, those rear tires can light up a storm (losing speed) if the
driver isn't cautious enough. This is truer with the car's bias-ply (N) tires than it is with sports, of course, but
as power gets raised sport tires can suffer too. The differential in the back is apparently not a limited-slip
unit, and the car shows it, as often its inner-rear tire starts smoking with traction-loss out of corner areas.
parts shop provides three NA tunes; no turbos or supercharger. At best, they can arrange about 461 horsepower
and 422 foot-pounds for us, which ain't bad in a 2,600 pound car, let's face it. The E-Type is
useful (although painfully difficult at times) to race with full Stage 3 tuning.
Off the mark, the Jag does provide
some decent acceleration, although discretion must be used to make sure speed is being created and not smoke. But I was surprised
actually, to find my E-Type making 10th place for this particular GT4 memory card's 400 meter dash, underneath a couple
Corvettes, a Chrysler Crossfire, and a couple more Jags (amongst others). All 10 spots had already been taken before the 400
M was attempted, which means the Jag bumped somebody off. It also made 6th place for this card's Max Speed test, despite
being RPM limited.
In comparison, the GT5 E-Type has problems getting off the line properly, as it's equipped with
harder tires while it's stock. At best, I could get from zero to 60 mph about a half-second slower in the GT5 car, but a full
second slower to 100 mph.
Everyone's waiting for the next section I'm sure. When I finally drove the
E-Type in GT4, GT5 was already on the shelves. But I looked forward to the E-Type in the earlier game anyways, so now for
your reading pleasure...
---------CHASSIS / HANDLING-------------
this car around Infineon, and then attacking GT4's NA Tune challenges, it becomes quickly obvious that the E-Type is definitely
NOT one of Jaguars more slovenly efforts. Earlier I was asking if the E-Type resembles newer Jaguars at all. The answer is
Honestly, it's a little unnerving how skittish this car is at first. How much more like a jaguar,
perhaps, or at least a lighter animal from the feline family. The E-Type Coupe (unlike its heavier, more luxurious successors
in our games) abandons all traction in those corners at times, gets sideways, and even screams about with
lots of tire smoke! It's a mighty experience.
At some times and at some tracks, this car also feels absolutely
GREAT at times...helpfully great, that is. It corners with confidence, does what you want it to do, and lives up to all
its past-day hype. At others, you'll be wondering what the heck happened, as all a sudden the E-Type feels completely
nervous, difficult to point, and like a totally different car. In these ways, this vintage classic choice actually feels
as if it has several personalities. In other words, the E-Type has a habit of keeping us guessing. That's not always
a bad thing, I guess.
This all sounds good when we realize all this is being caused by a car that's over
40 years old. Despite these problems, this Jag is actually able to keep up with some modern machines better than some others
of its day ('63 Corvette? '64 Pontiac GTO? All those wobbly '60s-era Skylines?).
....Oh and by the way,
the drifter in me (what drifter there is, anyways) is finally pleased by this car. I've managed several drifts spontaneously
while cruising around here and there. Drifting under throttle, that is. There isn't enough lift-off oversteer usually to actually
start a drift just by slinging the car about...not in my hands anyways. To be fair, there are times when it seems this Jag
wants to drift, and other times when you'll want to get playful and it'll respond: "Huh? You want me to do that
now???" This all ties in with that split personality bit I was talking of earlier. Never can you be completely
sure about this car.
This is, of course very unlike all the other Jags that appear in Gran Turismo; all
of which are very very predictable. Usually with lots of understeerish traits, virtually zero oversteer, and lots of
stability caused by weight. Not so with this E-Type.
But the bottom line so far as racing goes? There
is lots of work to be done if we are to take the E-Type to some serious GT racing. Sometimes, this car seems to act
like it wants to drift, even if we don't!
Arguably, the E-Type is not race-ready when it's
stock. Oh sure, plenty have tackled GT4's 1,000 Miles! in an E-Type with N-type radials and no tuning
whatsoever, but notice it's very possible to do this. As long as the 400+ horsepower AC Cobra doesn't show up, the E-Type
Coupe gets to perform with little debunking towards its limelight.
...I'm talking about serious GT racing,
up against some modern vehicles. If we were to take the E-Type up against some moderns...Corvettes, Skylines, RUFs, et cetera,
we'd better do so with some tuning involved. The E-Type's love of leaning, dipping, and rolling into corners often leaves
it perilous to disaster otherwise. For instance, it's commendable how many bumps this car soaks up at speed. Having
a longish wheelbase helps, as well as the car's low-slung atmosphere and supple suspension. But throw a bump into the equation
when leaving some slower corners, and beware, for the rear has a habit of getting very scrambly. Very much like a cat chasing
a mouse, matter of fact.
The rear. In its day, the E-Type's independent "150 mph high-speed rear end" (Jag's
words, not mine) was highly touted. The D-Type which won so many events in the 1950s used an ordinary old-fashioned live
rear axle, so for 1961 Jaguar wanted to step up their game. The new rear suspension was a somewhat complicated design,
and featured "inboard" rear disc brakes which were located on each side of the differential instead of next to each
wheel. Many accounts I've read about the E-Type's handling boast nothing but praise. All of this sounds as
if great things are promised.
But in the game, all the rear-end tends to do is get scrambly out of many
corners, especially in 2nd gear. The rear loses it, the car jerks and sways, and finally the E-Type gets passed up by the
Mustang Cobra R which has been on its tail. Even with a limited-slip in place (odd that the car apparently hasn't got
one when stock) the E-Type still gets sideways on occasion, although with an aftermarket limited-slip, traction
is vastly improved.
...On the other hand, let's have a moment of celebration here! FINALLY here's
a car in GT4 that can oversteer-on-demand, and does so with less than 300 horses. Anyways, there are races during which
I've purposely got a little sideways after passing some other car, just because I know it'll look
ultra-cool in the replay from that Ai car's point of view! Can't complain here.
One thing we can complain
about, unfortunately, is understeer. Sigh. Many many times, the E-Type inspires me to enter corners
too hot (it seems) when I should know better. Maybe it's that long, slopey bonnet with its row of little air vents,
which looks as racy as anything from America's '60s, yet certainly this car can't be accused of being American.
Whatever it is, one of the things that really sucks about this car's handling (in GT4, anyways) is it often gets too
understeery; sometimes even when it seems there has been plenty of braking time before corner entry. It's annoying, but as
the saying goes, "this is GT4, and GT4 means understeer".
Perhaps it's the fact that there is virtually no understeer on-entry
in this car. You turn in, the car seems to agree with you. Braking is perfectly ordinary. When compared with modern GTs and
sports cars, the E-Type falls somewhere in the middle, so far as braking capability goes. It had all-disc brakes, power-assisted,
too, and perhaps its this braking action that permits a driver like myself to get a little overconfident; for it's usually
mid-corner or late-corner (after braking is over) that everything seems to fall apart. I
can't say whether or not the real E-Type suffered in this way, but in the game we can blame it mostly on those Dunlop tires
firstly, and the E-Type's habit of transferring too much weight secondly.
During longer, higher-speed curves,
the E-Type also displays understeer under-throttle, even after tuning with a semi-racing suspension. This car may display
plenty of useful oversteer-on-demand in slower areas, but during faster curves, all this behavior seems to vanish. Maybe
I haven't got this car set-up correctly, but it's rare that any lift-off oversteer or throttle-driven oversteer shows up
once the car is at speed. Surely, GT4's higher echelons of tuners out there must have managed to dial some of this
car's trickier handling traits out while including more positive ones, but I'm at a loss here, sorry to say. Full-custom suspension tuning
is obviously needed.
didn't think there would be much of a diff from 4 to 5. In some ways there isn't. The E-Type Coupe is still nervous, still
skittish, still very much like an alarmed cat. It's the way in which it's nervous, skittish, and like a cat
that makes all the difference from GT4 to GT5.
I found my high-mileage E-Type in the used car lot in this game.
Despite all those miles, it was priced only slightly less than the GT4 car. After looking for somewhere competitive to
race my E-Type, I finally settled on some Classic Seasonal events. These are the silly races PD has been giving us via the
Internet thru our PS3; the ones in which we always start in last place. They're annoying, but also challenging,
and they award a ton of money, even if you don't make 1st place.
Anyways, first track is Cape Ring South...a
new one for me. Perfect testing ground for the high-mileage E-Type. This track has all sorts of curves, and undulates up and
down as it twists and turns.
First thing I'm noticing is....wow, where did all the understeer go?
GT4, remember how the car (even when it was on sport tires) would push when exiting turns? So wow....all of this is
gone in GT5. And that's WITHOUT sport tires. I purposely used bias-plys (what PD calls "Comfort tires" during
the Seasonal races because that's what the other competitors were equipped with. There's a bit of understeer when entering
turns, but this assumes the driver brakes too late. Understeer on exit? It has taken a vacation. And I don't miss it.
Let's all hope Mr. Understeer is having a good time ruining somebody else's videogame experience. :p
there's still lots of oversteer of all kinds. The good news is the oversteer in 5 doesn't feel nearly as
harsh as it did in 4. It's more predictable and easier to tame in GT5, but this is still not a car for novices. As a
rear-drive car in GT5, the E-Type now feels a heck of a lot more fun as it slips and slides, burns and smokes, but it can
also be a lot more dangerous if the driver doesn't get this all right.
Braking in this car feels terrible!
Let's get right to the point here, folks...if there's one trait that's gotten worse from GT4 to GT5, it's those brakes.
Granted, I did turn off the ABS system (as I do far all cars that would normally never have ABS) so this is why, but I suspect
even if I did turn ABS back on, GT4 would still feel a bit "safer". Braking distances in 5 are always longish...and braking
while turning is almost as dangerous as it is in any of America's muscle cars.
But in the right hands, the E-Type
offers some behaviors while braking which truely feel fun, like you're in some sort of movie, playing the role of the arch
villain who slides his classic car around every turn. Give a little too much brakes while skewing the steering wheel a little
too strongly can create an interesting situation. This is one of those automobiles which can be cleverly thrown and tossed
into turns, all four tires fully smoking, yet somehow the car is still turning while all this is going on. Turning,
Finally, let's take notice of what I wrote during the GT4 article above...the part where I said
something about a "lack of lift-off oversteer while at high speed". This is yet another area where GT5 has improved.
Cape Ring South has a very long curve which is shaped like a crecent Moon. During this curve, it was very obvious that as
I got too deep in 4th gear, and then let off the gas, the entire car changed orbit. During the replay, it was obvious what
was happening, as the rear of the E-Type was getting slightly pulled to the outside, swinging the entire vehicle
slightly sideways. I'd give out more +Rep to Polyphony, but I gotta "spread it around" first. ;)
you don't have to persuade me. I am persuaded. Here's a car that deserves to be in our games for sure. Its reflexes, its poise,
its behavior is definitely more cat-like. It's too bad Jaguar didn't continue making "jaguars" after 1975, if that makes any
1). A true classic
for us to exploit *ahem* uh....play with. Check out the attention to detail on this model, even in GT4. Low-slung,
hand-built, curvy bodywork.
2). A smooth, torquey engine delivers the goods; can hold its own against modern
GTs any day.
3). Fun to race. One of the few cars in GT4 which works with us as we try to drift. GT5's E-Type
is even better in this regard.
4). GT4: Seems easy on those tires during endurance races. Although I haven't personally
tried this car in an endurance yet, I have yet to see its tires turn anything lighter than a deep green during sprints.
Some exhaust upgrades really make this cat growl!
6). Tuner's paradise.
7). Plenty of agility. Not just
another understeery, heavy Jaguar as we've seen previously.
8). Three NA tunes boost power over 430 hp.
A '60s-era automobile without those '60s-era brakes (not applicable to GT5).
10). As is typical of Jaguar, there
are lots and lots of colors to choose from. Too bad we only get to win or buy one at a time.
1). Can't buy this car in GT4; must be
won or traded. The GT5 E-Type shows up in the used car lot, but it's a rarity.
2). Those tires (N or Sports, it doesn't
matter) get overwhelmed sometimes during races and time trials. Understeer and oversteer can result, often during
the same corner.
3). Leany, swaying behavior into turns. Blasts of traction-loss out of them. This car basically
needs lots of work!
4). 4-speed tranny eventually meets its maker during those longer straight section. Full-custom
unit may be needed.
5). No turbos or supercharger. Didn't Jaguar make supercharged versions of some of their
cars back in the day? I coulda swore they did. Here's a car that could certainly handle it.
6). That zone
of dead revs below 3,000 rpm. Outside of 1st gear, this area is somewhat useless.
7). And of course, tricky launches...in
1st gear. Any throttle heavier than about 75% is to be avoided. Not something to expect from a car that only makes 265
ponies when stock.
8). Long moments of braking action don't always guarantee understeer won't show up later in that
corner (truer in GT4 than GT5).
Published: January 3rd, 2011
for GT5 content: July 2nd, 2011