Jaguar's F-Type, the first true sports roadster from the Big Cat Company since the iconic E-Type of 1960, was launched in South Africa this week with a ride-and-drive on the twisty back roads of Mpumalanga.

There's no coupe version (yet); the F-Type is available as a fabric-topped convertible only for now, with a choice of two three-litre supercharged V6's and the five-litre supercharged V8S flagship for which Jaguar quotes 364kW and 625Nm, taking it to 100km/h in a tyre-shredding 4.3 seconds and on to 300km/h.

Let's get the bad news over and done with now, shall we?

F-Type - R845 000

F-Type V6S - R975 000

F-Type V8S - R1 385 000

The more highly tuned V6S is rated at 280kW and 460Nm, good enough, says Jaguar, to dispose of the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.9 seconds, and top out at 275km/h, while the base V6 does 0-100 in a claimed 5.3 seconds and 260km/h flat out.

Each drives the rear wheels through an eight-speed auto transmission; the V8S has an electronic active differential and the V6S a mechanical limited-slip set-up, while the V6 makes do with a conventional banjo-box and the usual electronic nannies.

Jesse Adams of our sister publication Star Motoring drove the two 'S'-badged  variants in Mpumalanga.

The supercharged five-litre V8, he says, sends all of that 364kW and 625Nm to the rear wheels in relentless blasts that'll see its 20" tyres fighting for traction in four of its eight forward gears.

"Full-throttle launches require steering inputs to keep it tracking true and I advise leaving stability control permanently switched on.

"It's also quite a nervous handler once on the move; pushy throttle and steering inputs will get this bronco bucking wildly, so pat it gently or risk getting thrown."

The middle-spec F-Type V6S is more forgiving in nature, he says.

“But that doesn't mean it's more ordinary.”

“That supercharged three-litre howls over a long, elastic rev-range, and it has enough juice to kick out sideways if you're irresponsible on the gas.

"It may not be quite as perverse as its lunatic V8 sister, but the V6S is still plenty bonkers enough."

Part of what Jeremy Clarkson would refer to as its bonkersness is due to the fact that the F-Type is the shortest, lowest and widest road car in Jaguar history, and there's a price to be paid for that. The F-Type can take two people, and very little more.

The boot is tiny, reports Adams.

"With a space-saver spare stuffed in there there's barely space for a small bag - and, other than a little nook between the seat backs, a small glove compartment and door pockets, there's hardly place to stick a wallet and cellphone inside the cabin."

Read the full SA launch report in Star Motoring on Thursday.

Follow Jesse Adams on Twitter.