The Jaguar F-Type is the British automaker's first new sports car design in half a century, and the heir apparent to the iconic E-Type. While the new F-Type convertible bears little resemblance to the E-Type, it does its legendary predecessor proud with an impressive mix of distinctive styling, sharp handling and rousing acceleration.
While Jaguar's stable is still full of luxury sedans and larger two-door grand touring convertibles and coupes, make no mistake: the Jaguar F-Type is a real-deal sports car.
Current Jaguar F-Type Specs
The Jaguar F-Type is an all-new convertible sports car for 2014. Jaguar says it benchmarked Porsche's 911 during the F-Type's development, along with Audi's R8 and the Aston Martin Vantage V8. But it's clear in the finished product that Jag not only aimed to match the performance numbers and dynamic characteristics of these cars, but also the more subtle standards they set for refinement and day-to-day versatility -- which are undeniably harder to hit.
The entry-level F-Type comes standard with 18-inch wheels, xenon headlights, leather and faux-suede upholstery, a navigation system and a 10-speaker sound system. The midrange S model adds a more powerful version of the base model's V6 with an active exhaust system, 19-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension system, a limited-slip differential, keyless ignition and entry and steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles.
Besides the V8 engine, the top-of-the-line V8 S variant gets 20-inch wheels, an adaptive electronically controlled differential, rear parking sensors, auto-dimming outside mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, full leather upholstery and 12-way power seats. Major options include upgraded brakes, adaptive headlights, sport seats, upgraded leather trim and a premium 14-speaker Meridian sound system.
Beneath its aluminum hood, the base Jaguar F-Type gets a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine that produces 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. The S model comes with a tweaked version of this same engine that boosts output to 380 hp and 339 lb-ft. The V8 S is fitted with a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 that cranks out an impressive 495 hp and 460 lb-ft. All three engines send power to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
To climb behind the steering wheel, simply touch the appropriate spot on the F-Type's bodywork and hidden door handles pop out to greet you. While the interior is as handsome as the car's muscular exterior, the cabin is trimmed in understated aluminum instead of the genuine wood found in other Jaguar models. Materials and craftsmanship are top-notch, and there are neat touches like the air vents that pop up out of the center of the dash only when needed. There's a large centrally mounted touchscreen for the audio and navigation systems, and straightforward knobs and switches for the climate controls. Although the Jaguar F-Type is a two-seater, the cockpit offers a good amount of room, with a low-slung seating position that's enhanced by the optional sport seats.
The lined soft top folds down at the touch of a button in about 12 seconds to create its own tonneau cover. Compared to some competing convertibles fitted with retractable hardtops, the F-Type's soft top saves weight and doesn't eat into the pint-sized 7.1-cubic-foot trunk when it is down.
On the road, the Jaguar F-Type has impressed us with its excellent handling, especially on models equipped with the adaptive suspension. The ride quality is on the firm side, but not so much that it's likely to put off most sports car buyers.
While hard-core driving enthusiasts will decry the lack of a manual transmission, the eight-speed automatic offers quick shifts. Acceleration is brisk, too, with quick throttle response that delivers you to 60 mph in an estimated 5.1 seconds in the base model down to 4.2 seconds in the F-Type V8 S. An active exhaust system on upper trims opens up under hard acceleration, creating a ripping exhaust note that makes driving the car hard just that much more fun.
Read the most recent 2015 Jaguar F-Type review.