In etymology, philia is an ancient Greek word for love. These days it’s a suffix indicating an abnormal liking for something. Put Jaguar’s striking new F-Type and Audi’s R8 Spyder on the same stage and it’s easy to see how anyone would develop an abnormally large liking for either.
As soon as you see either of these beautiful creatures, consider yourself bitten, with the venom instilling an infectious desire that lingers long after both have disappeared into the distance. The R8 has been around since 2006, but it’s no has-been – avant-garde lines, classic mid-engined proportions and newly applied all-LED head- and tail-light treatment see to that. Where the R8 is all smooth and sleek, the F-Type counters with flexed muscularity. Its long bonnet and bulging haunches suggest a big cat ready to pounce. And big it is. While not especially long at 4.47m, its 1.93m width provides serious rear-view mirror presence.
Beneath the rivets
Roadsters are all about that top-down motoring and the freedom that projects. With everything on view, it’s important they look great inside, too. Age and familiarity has taken a bit of the initial glow off the R8’s cabin. It’s hard to shine in a family where even the little A1 has such a great interior. Quality is still evident throughout the R8’s leather, alcantara and satin metallic-laden cockpit and the ergonomics and comfort are top-drawer. Does it lack a sense of occasion? Maybe a little.
Being newer, the Jaguar has a head start, and it’s clear a lot of creative thought went into the details – the start button pulses, mimicking a heartbeat, the air vents rise theatrically when required and there’s an aviation-like toggle switch for Normal/All Weather/Race mode selection. Gear selection is by lever as opposed to the dial you find in other Jags, and the touches of copper signifying important drive bits are a visual delight. It’s attractive, comfortable and quality appears comparable to the Audi. Is it special enough? Perhaps not for some in standard trim, but then both cars feature extensive personalisation options allowing you to tailor an interior according to your taste and wallet thickness.