Jaguars have a special place in my heart, and it's all because when I was just 9 years old my dad brought home a 2004 Jaguar XJ8 as his "I made it" car. Nearly 20 years after he first parked up, that silver-over-black XJ8 still sits happily in our family home's garage. I love that car. But why am I telling you this? Because I fell in love with the automobile as a whole the second I laid eyes on it. The path I walked from then on had anything and everything to do with cars. Serendipitously, it also led me to this: the end of the F-Type. Life is a weird thing, you know?
2024 Jaguar F-Type 75 Final Drive Review: Saying Goodbye to An Icon
One final blast through Spain to celebrate the F-Type's legacy was a proper send-off
Saying goodbye is always hard, and when Jaguar announced that the F-Type was being sent to the great racetrack in the sky with a special run-out model, the 75, there was a collective sigh from enthusiasts all over. The world has one less supercharged V8 and one less beautiful, attainable grand tourer to pick from — we're all worse off without it.
But Jaguar, not content to let the F-Type go quietly into that good night, decided to send the F-Type out with the sort of dignified drive into the sunset it deserved. The planned route took two days to cover and took us from the southern coast of Spain near Barcelona, up through the Pyrenees near the northern border with France, and back west to the northern coastal town of St. Sebastian. Nearly 500 miles and two days later, it was time to say goodbye, but since first impressions matter no matter what age you are, we’ll start with the looks.
The pre-face-lift F-Type is one of the best-looking cars to roll off a production line in the last 30 years. Looks are subjective, but there really is something special about the original F-Type. Designer Ian Callum penned a timeless shape that apes the original Jaguar E-Type without looking like a copy-and-paste job. For 2021, the F-Type received a nip and tuck in some places and an all-new face.
The result is slightly less successful than the original. The squinty headlights add a little more menace to the front end, but the longer front bumper adds a lot of visual mass. From the front three-quarters angle, the F-Type looks much longer than it really is. That said, it's still one of the most photogenic cars on sale — something the Corvette recently lost with its transition to a mid-engine layout and that is basically impossible to say about the current Porsche lineup in general. The Corvette and 911 are nice, sure. But they don't hold a candle to the F-Type.
A quick look over the F-Type's decade-long history reveals a number of attempts to mix up the formula and make it more affordable and more appealing. There was initially a supercharged V6 offered, then a supercharged V8, then all-wheel drive, then a track-ready SVR model, a face-lift, and a tuned-up four-cylinder. Eventually it became clear that the F-Type was best at its most raucous, and for 2022 Jaguar announced the F-Type would be offered exclusively with a supercharged V8 in two states of tune.
These are the cars the 75th Anniversary models are based on. The P450 model makes, as you might have guessed, 450 horsepower, sends power to the rear wheels exclusively, and comes only as a convertible. The R75 is painted in a sinister matte black, kicks out 575 horsepower, features all-wheel drive, and is only available as a coupe. We were able to sample both along our drive through Spain, but it quickly became clear to everyone around that how these two cars drove didn't really matter.
As we burbled our way from Sitges, a small Mediterranean town just west of Barcelona, up through the Pyrenees we never felt the need to push the F-Type. Not because it isn't confidence-inspiring or plenty capable in its own right, it's just that there was really no reason to. Its supercharged V8, in either state of tune, burbles and crackles away and delivers countryside-crushing pace almost effortlessly. Its V8 soundtrack might be muffled by a gasoline particulate filter, but it's still got plenty of volume (and, honestly, the pre-GPF cars might have been a little too obnoxious for some).
Despite the way it looks, the F-Type isn’t an out-and-out sports car. It won’t be able to keep up with even the lowliest 911 on a backroad, and it shouldn’t be counted among that car’s ranks. It's not about being the quickest or fastest or sharpest when you're behind the wheel of an F-Type. It's about putting the top down, putting the exhaust in loud mode, and enjoying living in the moment. It won't match any Corvette on track because it doesn't have anything left to prove — it's already a bona-fide classic in a world where cars like this simply don't exist anymore.
It doesn’t need to be driven hard to be at its absolute best, and that might be the best thing about it. The F-Type delivers at 80% effort, maybe even less than that. You get everything you want from it — the wind in your hair, the sun on your face, and that thunderous V8 soundtrack — without having to push to heights that cars like a Carrera S and BMW M4 Competition demand of you. What's more, anything it lacks in sports car feel is made up for with exceptional long-distance cruising credentials.
After two days in the driver's seat, nothing was amiss. The old F-Type's stiff ride has been rounded off, and it's even what you'd call comfortable. The only real concern was that a surprise pothole might ding one of the car's 20-inch wheels. But no such thing happened, and after that 500 miles our backs didn't hurt, our ears didn't ring, our hair wasn't even that out of sorts. It was no more or less demanding than navigating the local Walmart parking lot, and that's exactly the way it should be. The F-Type makes cruising an entire country an easygoing, life-affirming experience that any 911 short of a GT3 would turn into a flat, turbocharged meh.
At this point it's worth mentioning some of the F-Type's foibles. There's practically no storage space in the convertible (which makes the coupe the more ideal partner for longer distances), the infotainment setup feels old in 2023, the Meridian hi-fi doesn't compete with the Bose systems other automakers offer at this price point, and the driver aids could use a little refinement. These 75th Anniversary editions are also quite pricey, starting at $93,175 (with destination) for the convertible and $116,275 for the R75 P575, and the additions — like the performance seats, the nicer Windsor leather and the Ebony suede headliner — are all options you can spec on your own.
Therein lies the solution. Buy an F-Type, add options to your heart's content (or don't), and go make a bunch of noise everywhere you go. You'll look and feel cooler than any 911 owner who ever lived, giggle with delight anytime you go near the throttle, and you'll be behind the wheel of a gone-but-not-forgotten automotive superhero.
The F-Type and its sonorous V8 might be gone, but we happen to think it's one of those cars we'll look back on in 10 years and miss ever so dearly.