Looking for the epitome of the contemporary luxury sports car? The Jaguar F-Type delivers in spades.
I’ve never been much of a cat person.
I had a cat once. Her name was Ajax, but we called her “smelly” for obvious reasons. Although I have horrible pet allergies, the two of us bonded. Ajax would follow me around the house and “help” me with projects (usually she just laid on stuff). She would sleep on my pillow when I was at work, which resulted in years of waking up with puffy swollen eyes and a sore throat.
Ajax eventually passed away and frankly I cried. I also swore off cat ownership forever, or so I thought.
For 2014, Jaguar introduced a “spiritual successor” to one of the most iconic vehicles of all time, the 1960-70’s E-Type. The original E-Type had a design so lovely that it was reported Enzo Ferrari himself called it “the most beautiful car ever made.” The outrageously long hood, excellent performance and relatively affordable price made the British sports car an almost instantaneous hit.
The graceful E-Type has become a collector’s favorite and pricing has become out of reach for many would-be buyers. Even those with the finances are also confronted with the reality that a vintage car requires lots of maintenance and often time-consuming and costly repair.
Thankfully, the Jaguar F-Type arrived with the E-Type’s motoring mojo, all while being available at the local dealer with a warranty, airbags and navigation. The F-Type shares much of the E-Type’s graceful design in a modified and modernized form. It also has the E-Type’s fantastic performance, albeit kicked up for a new generation. While I may not have the resources immediately available to park one in my driveway, the new Jaguar provided me with a sudden change of heart; the F-Type was a cat that I wouldn’t mind owning.
Built on a rigid aluminum chassis, the F-Type is a solid car. Even in the open top convertible format, it feels incredibly stable on the road. Jaguar has gone the way of supercharging, which provides incredible forced induction performance without the draw backs of turbocharging. Namely, the F-Type doesn’t suffer from turbo lag and power arrives instantly and forcibly.
Base models are fit with a 340-horsepower supercharged V6. Moving to the S grade tunes the V6 to 380 horsepower. While earlier models were available only with an automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive, Jaguar started offering a six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive on 2016 F-Type.
Higher trims, like the 2016 F-Type R, are powered by a majestic supercharged V8 that kicks out an impressive 550 horsepower. The top SVR model has a V8 that’s tuned to deliver 575 horsepower. All V8 models are all-wheel drive and employ an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Speaking of music, the F-Type’s exhaust is arguably the best sounding system currently available on a street car. From the ignition-induced snarl to the constant growl that is interrupted by the angry crackles between shifts, the F-Type sounds like a bonafide race car.
Originally launched as a convertible, for the Jaguar added a fixed roof to the formula for the 2015 F-Type, creating a strikingly beautiful grand tourer. The design is elegant, refined and garners attention like a well-placed illuminated neon sign.
Regardless of model, the F-Type’s interior is elegant and graceful. The fit and finish is superb, Jaguar’s attention to detail is evident throughout the two-passenger cabin. The standard sport-style front seats are leather and suede-cloth wrapped for comfort and durability. Jaguar allows almost limitless personalization, with upgraded performance seats and a wide variety of premium leather options. Thanks to the 14-way adjustability in the Premium and higher trims, finding a comfortable driving position is simple.
I’m a fan of the F-Type’s gauge cluster and center console. The shifter is easy to actuate, climate control knobs provide instant analog-style control over the system, and the three-spoke steering wheel provides just enough buttons to help driver’s key their eyes on the road.
I’ve spent time behind the wheel of various trim levels of both the F-Type Convertible and Coupe. Both cars offer similar performance, with ultra-precise steering, excellent interaction with the road and thrilling acceleration. Obviously, the soft-top convertible is noisier inside than the coupe. Jaguar’s drop top is insulated enough to provide some buffering of road and wind noise, but fabric convertible tops can’t provide the isolation of a well-designed fixed roof. Of course, once you hit the center console mounted button and open up the exhaust system’s baffles neither really keeps the rasping F-Type’s spectacular sound at bay. Which really isn’t a bad thing at all.
I’m not a big fan of Jaguar’s InControl infotainment system, but the latest implementation does fix quite a few of my previous disappointments. While not quite as quick or intuitive as some of the F-Type’s competitors, the system does work well. Audiophiles will enjoy the standard 770-watt Meridian audio system, which provides a nearly flawless sound stage for the driver and passenger.
If all things are equal, the deciding factor between the convertible and coupe just might come down to cargo space. The F-Type convertible provides 7 cubic feet of truck capacity compared to the coupe’s 11 cubic feet. While neither is spacious, the coupe does have enough space to work as the perfect long-weekend getaway car. The convertible, on the other hand, might prove useless for more than an overnight trip with a couple small carry-on bags.
The 2017 Jaguar F-Type is priced from $61,400, plus a $995 destination charge. The top-performing F-Type SVR is priced from $125,950 and $128,800 for the coupe and convertible, respectively. With three earlier model years available, the F-Type is also readily available for used car buyers who want a luxury sports car. We typically see well-equipped models for as little as $55,000 in our used car listings.