New & Used Jaguar F-Type: In Depth
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The Jaguar F-Type is a two-seat high-performance coupe or convertible that marks the brand’s return to the sports-car segment. Due to its tweener size and price, the F-Type competes with the Mercedes-Benz SLK, BMW Z4, and Porsche Boxster, as well as the Porsche 911, Chevrolet Corvette, and the new Mercedes-Benz AMG GT, among others.
For more information, see our full review of the 2015 Jaguar F-Type, including options, prices, gas-mileage ratings, and specifications. You can also see the F-Type vs. its competitors. And, finally, first-drive impressions of the F-Type can be found at Motor Authority.
The two-seater was slotted below the larger XK coupe and convertible, but its sales success essentially guaranteed the end for the XK, which was withdrawn after the 2014 model year. The F-Type shares some of the XK's aluminum construction techniques, though the shared heritage isn't as clear at first glance.
The F-Type ushers in some new design themes for Jaguar. It sports a high front end--in part to handle European crash regulations--and LED front lighting, with some strong influences of Maserati and Corvettes of the past. The taillamps are also LEDs, and they're the thinnest possible shapes that could be made, Jaguar says. The cockpit has a driver-oriented theme, with the passenger given a grab handle--a strong visual cue to the F-Type's dynamic intentions. There's a big LCD screen for infotainment displays, but a set of rotary knobs control some secondary functions. Not everything's been steered off into touchscreen interfaces.
The Jaguar F-Type was offered with three engines at launch. Two are supercharged V-6s, both 3.0-liter units, one with 340 horsepower, the other with 380 hp. In its slowest form, the F-Type will accelerate to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. But with the top-level supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 with 495 horsepower, it's capable of 4.2-second 0–60-mph times and a top speed of 186 mph.
At launch, the F-Type was offered with rear-wheel drive only, and all models featured an eight-speed automatic transmission. At that time, Jaguar said it was considering adding a manual transmission to the car, which it made good on with the announcement of the 2016 model. Speculation also says the brand may add its turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine at some point to provide a lower cost of entry, although that has not yet become reality. All original models use an engine stop/start system to reduce fuel use when stopped, while the top models can be optioned with a raucous active exhaust to increase audible emissions.
A bit larger than the intended competition of SLK, Boxster, and Z4, the Jaguar F-Type is about 176 inches long, riding on a wheelbase of 103.2 inches. Curb weight of about 3500 pounds is kept low with aluminum construction down to the suspension level--it's all independent, and steering is electric, and there's an adaptive suspension available so that all the F-Type's responses can be controlled from a comfort mode to a sport mode.
Luxury features haven't been left off the menu just to save a few ounces--not if the well-heeled buyer wants them. Power sport seats have manual fore/aft adjustments to save weight, but upgraded "Performance" seats are an option, as is full power adjustment. Audio systems come from Meridian, with either 10 or 12 speakers, and either 380 or 770 watts of power. The convertible top is power-operated, but it's lined in Thinsulate, and folds in such a way that no tonneau cover is needed. (It also lowers or rises into place in 12 seconds, at speeds of up to 30 mph.)
The Jaguar F-Type went on sale in the U.S. in May 2013. The base 340-hp supercharged V-6 model is priced from around $69,000; the 380-hp supercharged six, from around $81,000; and the V-8 sportscar, from about $92,000. A wide range of personalization options is also available.
A coupe version of the F-Type was launched in 2014, bringing with it the F-Type R variant, good for 550 horsepower and 4.0-second 0–60-mph times, as well as a 186-mph top speed.
Jaguar has announced big changes for the 2016 F-Type. For starters, all-wheel drive will be available on the V-6 S and standard on the R. Rear-drive V-6 and V-6 S models will be available with a six-speed manual transmission. The R adds a convertible model, while the former V-8 S convertible model will be discontinued.