The Jaguar F-Type was an easy winner as MotorWeek’s Drivers’ Choice for best convertible of the year. But, beyond top down luxury cruising, we think the F-Type is the reincarnation of Jaguar’s sports car past when C, D and E-Types dominated roads and racing circuits around the world. So, we brought this F-Type to our favorite circuit, Savannah’s Roebling Road Raceway, to see just how deep, and fast, those Jaguar genes run.
While we didn’t have the means to do a complete CSI-style DNA workup on the 2014 Jaguar F-type V8 S, we did perform some flying forensics around Roebling Road Raceway’s high speed turns.
Our finding, while not totally unexpected, were still a little surprising. The word on the street was that when it came to track work, the supercharged V6 was the way to go. To that, we say “hogwash!” We’ll take this V8 and all of its power any day, as this “F”, flat out, gets around a race track in a hurry and sounds great while doing it.
Indeed, Jaguars have upped their performance ante of late, but the F-type truly goes all in. It felt right at home on this high speed track, capable of both diving deep into corners and exiting them quickly. And even with the extra weight of the V8, the extra power more than compensates. This chassis is so well balanced we think it could handle even more of both.
There’s no manual transmission available, just an 8-speed Quickshift automatic. While certainly not as tactile as a true sequential unit, shifts are almost instantaneous when the steering wheel mounted triggers are pulled. It also did a fairly good job of selecting the proper gearing by itself when left in sport mode, thanks to Corner Recognition software.
Steering is nice and direct with solid feel, and the Super Performance Braking System stayed on point through 3-days of hard abuse with no loss of confidence on the driver’s part.
And now back to the engine that makes all of this fun possible. It’s a 5.0L V8 with supercharger that plants 495-horspower and 460 lb-ft. of torque on the pavement. That’s enough juice to get this 37-hundred pound, rear-drive roadster to 60 in less than 4-seconds. Unhappily for us, a very cold track lead to a serious lack of grip and kept our times in the low 4’s. Still, pretty impressive.
As was the 116 miles-per-hour, 12.7-second quarter mile. An electronic active rear differential manages power distribution, and can go full lock almost instantly. The higher the speeds, the more our car felt secure.
When it comes to style, the F-type is certainly all Jaguar; but compared to many recent rides from the brand, it’s actually less sexy and more serious.
Large intakes up front signal the need to inhale plenty of O2 to keep the big motor happy. While small bi-xenon headlights sit behind slender vertical clear lenses with J-Blade LED daytime running lights adding a touch of menace. 20-inch wheels are standard on the V8 S, which also adds sill extensions. Red brake calipers come with the optional Performance Pack.
And we still tend to get mesmerized by the slick pop out door handles.
Being a proper sporting roadster, there’s just two seats; and when nestled in the left perch it’s easy to tell this car was designed with drivers in mind. Everything is within easy reach and all controls are snap to comprehend at a glance. It is intimate, however, as larger drivers yearned for a little more hip and knee room.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings fell right about where you’d expect a 500-horsepower sports car to be: at 16-City, 23-Highway, and 18-Combined. Though somehow we managed a very good 24.1 miles-per-gallon of Premium. The Energy Impact Score comes in at 18.3-barrels of oil burned annually with CO2 emissions of 8.1-tons.
Pricing for our track ready V8 S starts at $92,895, but you can get into a base F-type with supercharged V6 for as little as $69,895.
Our conclusion? Well, for all-out track work, there are a few cars for the dollar that do it better. But, for straddling that delicate balance of luxury and performance; no car has more prowess for the pound than the 2014 Jaguar F-type. Clearly our “cause of delight” is that classic Jaguar genes do indeed run deep.
Engine: 5.0L V8
Torque: 460 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 4 seconds
1/4 mile: 12.7 seconds @ 116 mph
EPA: 16 mpg city/ 23 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 18.3 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 8.1 tons/yr