Few cars have captured the automotive world’s attention like the legendary E-Type Jaguar sports car. And to say that E-Type driving excitement has been missing from the Jaguar line up for decades would be an understatement. But finally, Jaguar is doing something about that. And it just seems fitting that that something is called… the F-Type.
Fans of the Jaguar brand, including us here at MotorWeek, have been waiting a long time for a car like the 2014 Jaguar F-type to arrive; a Jag that looks stunning, as you would expect, yet has performance as its number one goal.
Well, looking like it just drove out of a James Bond movie, the F-type appears to be worth the wait, as it is equal parts classic Jag and sleek modern sports machine; and thus begins a new page in the Jaguar design book. Sure, the long hood, short rear deck, proper roadster proportions are there, but the face of this cat is more aggressive than any Jag to this point.
There will be 3 versions of the F-type available and all will have unique styling cues. The base F-type is the mild mannered Bruce Wayne of the bunch and comes with a 340-horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged V6.
The F-type S gets a bit more aggressive with gloss black elements added to the grille, front splitter, side vents, and rear diffuser, 19-inch wheels; and boasts 380-horsepower out of the same supercharged V6.
The F-type V8 S cranks things up even more with enhanced aerodynamics in front and down the sides, exhaust tips that move outboard, 20-inch wheels, and power that comes from… you guessed it, a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 cranking out 495-horsepower and 460 lb-ft. of torque.
All models feature a power operated soft top, as no hard top will be available. Jag feels a hard top would add too much weight, and require too much space to store it. We agree, as the multi-layer fabric top looks great, and folds in 12-seconds time.
Being the horsepower junkies that we are, we spent most of our time in the V8 S, and with almost 500 horses packed into its tiny body; we can report that acceleration is more than brisk. Jaguar claims a 0-60 time of 4.2-seconds and we don’t doubt it.
A new Quickshift 8-speed automatic is the only transmission available, and responds accordingly to whichever driving mode you’ve dialed in. You can also take full control with the shifter and steering wheel mounted paddles.
We got a chance to try out the F-Type at the Circuit of Navarra near Pamplona, Spain. And while we weren’t “running with the bulls”, we did run wide open and found the F-type to be absolutely no bull. There’s all-aluminum double-wishbone suspension at all four corners, and the weight is distributed almost perfectly between them.
Selecting Dynamic Mode will get you increased throttle response, better steering feel, quicker shifts, and limited-electronic intrusion from stability control. Adaptive Dynamics are also on hand to keep pitch and roll subdued, by adjusting damper rates, and a new Configurable Dynamics option allows you to program a custom track setup as well as monitor lap times, and get telemetry info.
Thanks to all of those electronics, when cruising through the Spanish countryside we were also able to dial in a ride that was comfortable, while remaining composed, and the F-type’s rigid, aluminum structure made top down cruising a solid affair.
The interior environment is highly driver-focused, with the minimal controls all within easy reach. A passenger “grab-handle” doubles as a reminder for your companion to keep their hands off. You’re in control, here. It’s not a total throwback however, as there is a large touch-screen for navigation and the like, as well as a configurable TFT screen between the race-inspired gauges. Interior trim elements vary with models, but all are beautifully finished.
As for pricing, well you’ve waited this long for a car like this to return to the Jaguar line-up, what’s another few months more to save up some cash, as you’ll need plenty. Pricing starts at $69,895 for the base F-type, climbing to $81,895 for the F-type S, and peaking at $92,895 for the F-type V8 S.
It may take some time and another product or two for the Jaguar brand to fully regain their reputation for building dynamic head tossers that do more than just turn heads. But the 2014 Jaguar F-type is a huge step in that journey back to high performance relevance. It looks like the “Leaper” has finally taken the big leap.
Engine: 5.0-liter V8
Torque: 460 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 4.2 seconds