New & Used Jaguar F-Type: In Depth
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Jaguar's F-Type is Exhibit No. 1 as evidence the British brand is back in the sports car business. Though Jaguar produced a series of open-top two-seaters, they were really more grand tourers than sports cars. In both convertible or coupe style the high-performance F-Type competes against smaller cars such as the BMW Z4, Mercedes-Benz SLK, and Porsche Boxster, as well as larger cars such as the Chevrolet Corvette, the new Mercedes-Benz AMG GT, and the Porsche 911.
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 Maseratis and Corvettes of the past. The taillamps are also LED units, and Jaguar says they're the thinnest shapes that could be manufactured. The cockpit has an asymmetric, driver-oriented theme, with the passenger fenced in by a large center-tunnel grab handle--a strong visual cue to the F-Type's dynamic intentions. There's a big LCD screen for infotainment and settings, while a set of rotary knobs controls some secondary functions. Not everything's been steered off into touchscreen interfaces, thankfully.
MORE: See our full review of the 2016 Jaguar F-Type
The two-seater received a sufficiently rapturous reception that the larger XK coupe and convertible went out of production soon after the F-Type was introduced. The F-Type essentially acts as that car's indirect replacement, sharing some of the XK's aluminum construction techniques as well.
The Jaguar F-Type was offered with three engines at launch. Two were supercharged V-6s, both 3.0-liter units, one with 340 horsepower and 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, something 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 employ 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. There's also an available adaptive suspension that allows the F-Type's responses to be switched 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, and it's lined in Thinsulate to reduce noise and heat transfer, folding 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 sports car, from about $92,000. A wide range of personalization options is also available.
A coupe version of the F-Type was launched in 2014. It was also the only body style offered in the new V-8 R trim, which is good for 550 horsepower and 4.0-second 0–60 mph times, as well as a 186-mph top speed.
For 2016, all-wheel drive is available on the V-6 S and standard on the R. Rear-drive V-6 and V-6 S models are now available with a six-speed manual transmission. The convertible gains an R model, while the former V-8 S convertible model will be discontinued. As a result, three engine options are each offered on either body style: V-6, V-6 S, and V-8 R.