BEING a fan of big ‘cats’ all my life, when Jaguar brought out their new two-seat sports car, the F-Type, back in 2013 I must admit I was slightly disappointed.

Styling-wise it did not really impress as having true Jaguar DNA and I found some of its embellishments’, especially the button to make the exhaust growl even more accentuated, it came as quite a letdown.

The new Jaguar F-Type model, though, looks more beautiful and embodies Jaguar design DNA in its purest form. The two-seat sports car offers a perfect balance of performance and driver reward with an even more muscular, assertive design and a cabin defined by rich, luxurious materials and beautiful details.

The range of powerful, responsive engines includes four- and eight-cylinder options, all matched to eight-speed Quickshift transmissions with full manual control using either the SportShift gear selector or the steering wheel-mounted paddles.

The new F-Type also offers more driver-focused technology, including a reconfigurable, high-definition, 12.3-inch Interactive Driver Display, Touch Pro infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard and software-over-the-air functionality so future software updates can be made at the customer’s convenience, without having to visit a retailer.

Two superb Meridian sound systems also offer enhanced sound reproduction.

The interior combines traditional Jaguar craftsmanship with rich, contemporary materials such as Windsor Leather and satin-finish Noble Chrome. Beautiful details include monogram stitch patterns in the seats and door trims, Jaguar Leaper motifs in the headrests, and subtle ‘Jaguar Est.1935’ markings on the centre console finisher, glovebox release button surround, and seatbelt guides.

The 12.3-inch reconfigurable Interactive Driver Display offers a choice of different display modes; including full map mode.

As befits a true sports car, the default mode is characterised by the large central rev counter.

This feature and the gearshift light subtly convey the F-Type’s driver-focused character and performance potential.

Unfortunately, all engines – 300PS turbocharged four-cylinder and 450PS and 575PS V8s – still feature active exhaust systems, which are switchable either as an option or as standard. Customers who choose the 450PS or 575PS supercharged V8s benefit from the new Quiet Start function, which ensures a more subtle, refined sound (like it should for any Jaguar), or which can be over-ridden by selecting Dynamic Mode or by pressing the switchable exhaust button before starting the engine (tacky, or what?).

The new 450PS supercharged V8 has been developed to offer exploitable and rewarding performance, it is offered with a choice of all-wheel drive and – for purists – rear-wheel drive. Both versions can accelerate from 0-60mph in just 4.4 seconds, and reach a maximum speed of 177mph.

Raising the output of the all-wheel drive F-TYPE R supercharged V8 to 575PS performance is exceptional: the benchmark sprint to 60mph takes just 3.5 seconds, while maximum speed is an electronically-limited 186mph.

F-Type is built at Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich plant in Birmingham with pricing starting from £54,060. Now, where did I put my Christmas wishlist for Santa?