It has been 40 years since Jaguar has introduced anything like the F-Type, a sports car crafted by the legendary Scottish designer, Ian Callum. This two-seater offers a pair of potent supercharged V6 and V8 engines and pairs them with a quick shifting eight-speed automatic transmission to deliver a satisfying driving experience.
Forty years after retiring the E-Type, Jaguar presents the F-Type, a handsome and muscular sports car. This British manufacturer is back in the performance coupe business, presenting a pair of supercharged engines paired with a quick-shifting eight-speed transmission to place an exclamation point after the Jaguar name.
There is very little resemblance between the Jaguar E-Type, last produced in 1975, and the Jaguar F-Type 40 years later. The earlier model has a longer hood and a shorter deck, although both models have snug cabins.
The current Jaguar sports coupe is at once elegant as it is muscular, with its sinewy lines, beefy shoulders and a massive rear quarter. It is marked by a formidable grille with twin “shark gill” embrasures on either side of that. A front splitter, oversized headlamp assemblies with J-shaped LED tail lamps, functional hood vents and distinctive creases give this model an outstanding look.
Folding color-keyed side mirrors, rocker panel character lines and a sloping hood line accentuate the profile.
From the rear is a massive quarter marked by wraparound LED taillights, dual centered tail pipes and a liftgate. A rear spoiler emerges at speeds from 70 mph. Standard 19-inch, 10-spoke wheels are set within Pirelli P Zero radial tires.
Step inside the F-Type and you have an interior that is as snug as they come in this segment. Every model comes with bolstered sport seats with available 14-way power adjustment. Controls for the seats are located on the door panels along with memory settings and side mirror control.
A three-spoke steering wheel, a power-operated tilt and telescopic steering column, audio, climate control and power accessories are standard. Driver controls are placed on the steering wheel with ancillary stalks managing lighting, trip information and the wipers.
This model is generously draped in leather with chrome highlights, a carbon fiber headliner and molded plastics, the latter used very selectively.
The instrument panel features a two analog display — speedometer and tachometer — and a digital driver’s information center. The center stack is marked by an 8-inch touch-screen display to manage the infotainment system and navigation. Adjacent switches and knobs also accomplish that task.
Next to the transmission shifter is a switch to change the standard driving mode to sport or snow, which adjusts the dampers accordingly. Additional switches to manage traction control, the rear spoiler and to operate in eco mode are also present. This vehicle has two cup holders, a shallow covered storage compartment with two USB ports and one auxiliary input connection. Each door has slender, shallow pockets large enough to hold a snack and little else. An open storage compartment is located between the seats at shoulder level.
The sun visors are narrow and fixed in place, therefore they offer no protection for the driver or passenger when the sun is low and on either side of the vehicle. Sunglasses are not likely to provide sufficient help in these situations.
Raise the liftgate and a surprisingly large storage compartment is present. It is roomy enough to hold a pair of golf bags or enough luggage for two for a long weekend on the road.
In the 2015 F-Type, Jaguar presents two supercharged engine choices: a V6 displacing 3.0 liters and a V8 displacing 5.0 liters. Both engines are paired with a ZF-supplied quick shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. That transmission can be operated in manual mode with the stick shifter or by means of the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The standard 340-horsepower V6 can be upgraded to 380 horsepower with the up level S Coupe edition. That power edge is gained solely by a software upgrade. Choose the V8 and you’re supplied with a whopping 550 horsepower.
As tested, the F-Type delivered superior performance off the line, quickly shifting through each forward gear. When operated manually, rapid shifting promptly brought the big cat up to highway speeds and beyond. The supercharger kicked in early and low in the power band, delivering copious amounts of torque and without the anticipated lag inherent to turbochargers.
Where this sports car shines best is on meandering roads thanks to its rigid body, taut suspension and low profile. The F-Type stays centered, firmly planted and works cooperatively with every flick of the steering wheel. The exhaust system purrs and growls at various engine speeds and transmission downshifts, providing a rich melody that is best enjoyed with the audio system turned off.
The S Coupe also offers something the standard model does not have: adaptive dynamics to automatically adjust the handling, control and agility each second. The system influences vertical movement as well as pitch and roll rates. When activated, the average driver will feel like a race car pro.
The best technologies associated with the Jaguar F-Type have everything to do with its engine, transmission and active damper system. Still, there are a few in-cabin technologies of note.
This model is outfitted with an 8-inch touch screen, which controls the infotainment system and manages climate control. The system is fairly easy to comprehend, but synching your smartphone may take multiple attempts before it recognizes your music library. Ancillary switches and knobs can be used instead of the touch screen.
Individual technological upgrades bring in a number of amenities, including a 770-watt Meridian sound system, adaptive and intelligent front lighting and safety features. HD Radio and SiriusXM satellite radio represent a $450 optional equipment upgrade.
The Jaguar F-Type is not yet rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nor has been it been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Every F-Type comes with four-wheel anti-lock brakes, front and side impact air bags, emergency braking assist and dusk sensing headlamps. Stability control, traction control and a tire pressure monitoring system are included. Front sensors, a rear parking camera and blind spot monitoring are available.
With a base price of $65,000, the Jaguar F-Type is in the neighborhood of other European sports cars. Pricing quickly rises to $77,000 with the S Coupe and well beyond $90,000 with the V8 engine (and when key options and packages are selected).
The tested model came in at $86,963 and included the Italian Racing Red Metallic paint ($1,500), a Premium Pack with 14-way power seats ($1,800) and a $2,400 Vision Pack with adaptive lighting and blind spot monitoring. Expect to pay at least $80,000 for a well-appointed F-Type.
Exquisite styling, potent engines and superior handling are among the chief attributes of this Jaguar sports car. Its pricing seems high, particularly when compared with the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.
Where money is of no concern, the Jaguar F-Type successfully picks up where the E-Type left off. For that reason alone this sports car has assured itself of a core following.