Review: 2013 Jaguar F-Type
By Winding Road Staff
September 26, 2012
This is the Master Landing Page for the Jaguar F-Type. From now on, as we further review this car, we will be updating this page with whatever fresh content we create. Future drive reviews, updated specifications, videos, and other relevant information will all be found right here, in one convenient spot.
There’s no shortage of love for Jaguar’s stunning XK
(and its various iterations) among the Winding Road
office staff. Heart-stopping style and sumptuous luxury combine with a variety of 5.0-liter V-8 engines to create an excellent GT car. Still, even the 550-horsepower XKR-S
is more GT than true sports car. If you are one of those lamenting this fact, then Jaguar has answered your prayers.
This is the F-Type and yes, it is devilishly good looking. Drawing inspiration from past Jaguar concept cars (the C-X16
in particular) and its E-Type forbearers, it is a classically penned roadster. The long hood dives aggressively into the vertical headlights. The xenon units are shadowed by what Jaguar calls a J-Blade LED design. If the front isn’t dramatic enough for you, the tail surely will be. The taillights are Kate Moss skinny, wrapping around the rear of the car’s fenders. The lower bumper sports a set of meaty quad exhausts on the V-8-powered car, while V-6 models feature twin center-exit exhaust tips.
Speaking of those powertrains, there’s a good deal to like here. A supercharged, 3.0-liter V-6 is standard, pumping out either 340, while the F-Type S nets 380 horsepower. Porsche 911 owners, take note. For a more potent F-Type, there’s the familiar 5.0-liter, supercharged V-8. Opting for the eight-cylinder will net you 495 horsepower. As for performance, the run to 60 takes 5.1 seconds in the base car, 4.8 seconds in the S, and 4.2 seconds in the V-8. If those numbers aren’t conservative, we’ll eat our hats. Top speed for the V-8 sits at 186 miles per hour.
Sending power to the rear wheels is an eight-speed automatic, called Quickshift by Jaguar. The F-Type ditches the dial shifter found on the rest of the Jag range, in favor of a more traditional lever. Naturally, a set of paddle shifters is standard.
There’s much more to be found in the press release below. We can confirm the F-Type will arrive Stateside summer of 2013. There’s no official mention of price, but our friends at Autoblog
are reporting a starting price of $69,000. We’ll hopefully have official pricing info soon.
Please scroll down for the official press release from Jaguar.
26 September 2012
JAGUAR F-TYPE UNVEILED AT THE 2012 PARIS MOTOR SHOW
• The F-TYPE is an all-new two-seat Jaguar soft-top convertible sports car
• Front-engine, lightweight aluminum architecture and rear-wheel drive, the F-TYPE is engineered to be a true high-performance sports car
• Three models will be available – F-TYPE, F-TYPE S and the F-TYPE V8 S, powered respectively by the new Jaguar supercharged 3-liter V6 engine in 340hp and 380hp outputs and a 495hp 5-liter supercharged V8
• The convertible top folds in 12 seconds at speeds up to 30 MPH
• Constructed on the fourth generation of Jaguar lightweight aluminum architecture. Torsional and lateral stiffness have been prioritized to maximize handling agility
• The F-TYPE introduces a new sports car design language for Jaguar, with bold, clean lines accented by the discreet use of technology, including a deployable rear spoiler and hidden door handles
• Exciting performance, with 0-to-60 in 5.1 seconds for the F-TYPE, 4.8 for the S model and 4.2 for the V8 S. The V8 S has a top track speed of 186 mph2
• All engines drive through an eight-speed 'Quickshift' automatic transmission, with a center console-mounted SportShift gear selector and steering wheel-mounted paddles for full manual control
• Available Configurable Dynamics program allows the driver to tailor a number of the dynamic features to personal taste and includes displays for lap timer and G-meter functions1, 2
• Driver-focused interior melds classic sports car feel with high-tech controls
• Jaguar F-TYPE to arrive in U.S. market in summer 2013
"Jaguar is a founding member of the sports car segment with a rich sporting bloodline stretching over 75 years, and in the F-TYPE we've reignited that flame. The F-TYPE isn't designed to be like anyone else's sports car. It's a Jaguar sports car – ultra-precise, powerful, sensual and, most of all, it feels alive."
Adrian Hallmark, Global Brand Director, Jaguar
The new Jaguar F-TYPE represents a return to the company's heart: a two-seat, convertible sports car focused on performance, agility and driver involvement. The F-TYPE is a continuation of a sporting bloodline that stretches back more than 75 years and encompasses some of the most beautiful, thrilling and desirable sports cars ever built. Joining the XK convertible and coupe models, the new F-TYPE provides Jaguar with a broader line of sports and GT models.
The 2013 Jaguar F-TYPE combines low vehicle weight (starting at 3,521 pounds), high power (340hp, 380hp and 495hp versions) and superb aerodynamics to achieve a pure sports car experience, yet with Jaguar elegance and luxury.
A true two-seat sports car, the all-new Jaguar F-TYPE is equipped with a modern, lightweight soft top that, when lowered, serves as its own tonneau cover. This not only provides a weight savings, but also improves packaging and contributes to the car's low center of gravity for greater agility. The top can be fully raised or lowered in just 12 seconds at speeds of up to 30 mph. Its multi-layer construction includes a Thinsulate® lining for optimal thermal and sound-insulating properties.
Jaguar cars have always defined sinuous, muscular elegance, and the F-TYPE continues -- and advances -- this tradition with new, assertive design language. Two "heartlines" define, in just two bold strokes, both the profile and top-down view of the F-TYPE. The main "heartline" theme begins in the blade dissecting the shark-like gills on either side of the grille. This first heartline runs up and forms the sharp top crease of the fender line, which provides sight lines that aid the driver in cornering maneuvers. It leads the eye along the top of the front fender, which is emphasized by the headlamp design, and then into the door and toward the rear of the car where it gracefully disappears.
This sweeping line is mirrored by the feature line that runs back from the side vent. Along with "lightcatcher" surface detailing above the sill, the line instills a sense of speed to the car. The lightcatcher surface detailing also allows the door surface to wrap around the side of the car, creating a fuselage effect.
The second "heartline" swells out to form the muscular rear haunch before sweeping dramatically around the rear of the car. The clean, sleek lines of the tail are made possible in part by the inclusion of an active rear spoiler that deploys at speed to reduce aerodynamic lift. The spoiler rises when the F-TYPE reaches 60 mph and then lowers to fit flush when the speed drops below 40 mph. Further discreet aerodynamic aids include a front splitter and a sculpted rear valance.
"Every aspect of a sports car, dimensionally, allows us to create something that is visually exciting; visceral as well as physical. To me the definition of sports car design is being fit for purpose, wrapping up the occupants and mechanicals in the most exciting, beautiful and sensual package possible with no unnecessary surfaces or adornment. A piece of design should tell a story and this is why every line in the F-TYPE has a start, a direction and a conclusion. If you approach every line individually and get it as aesthetically correct as possible, get the dimensions right, it will stand the test of time."
Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar
The headlights run vertically rather than horizontally, which leads the eye naturally up and along the fender crease. Technology has facilitated the design language of the F-TYPE; the compact xenon unit requires just one projector, while the J-Blade LED running lights further emphasize the design of the heartline running through the lamp.
The grille leans slightly forward to create a suggestion of motion when the car is stationary. The lower edge of the clamshell hood forms the top of the side vent. The mesh in the grille and side vents is a hexagonal design that gives greater form and depth.
The hidden, automatically deploying door handles support the design purity. The handles remain flush with the door panel until activated by either unlocking the car with the key fob or touching a touch-sensitive area of the handle. Their automatic deployment provides a mechanical "handshake," inviting the driver and passenger to enter. Once the car is moving, the handles retract to leave an uninterrupted aerodynamic surface.
Full LED rear lamps create a new Jaguar sports car signature by reinterpreting classic cues from the past. By wrapping the lights around to the trailing edge of the rear wheel arch, the car's powerful rear-wheel drive stance is emphasized. Reflecting the way the front grille leans forward, the tail tucks inward, reinforcing the impression that the car is poised to leap forward.
Differing exhaust and tailpipe designs distinguish the V6 and V8 variants of the F-TYPE. The V6 models feature twin center outlets in a nod to the classic Jaguar E-TYPE introduced in 1961. The boldest exhaust finishers ever fitted to a Jaguar, these are stamped from a single piece of stainless steel, creating an unbroken gleaming surface. The V8 S model exclusively features four outboard-mounted exhaust outlets, with twin outlets on each side.
Further detail differentiation between the three variants is found in the exterior trim. The F-TYPE V6 model is marked by satin black trim elements in the grilles, vents, front splitter and rear valance, while the two 'S' models receive gloss-black finishes in these areas. The V6 model features standard 18-inch alloy wheels, with 19-inch and 20-inch wheels standard for the S and V8 S, respectively, and available as options for the V6. The V8 S also receives additional aerodynamic features, including front vanes beneath the shark gills and flat side sill extensions to manage airflow.
"This is the car that, as a team, we have always wanted to do. It was very much a team operation because we work very closely together and have a strong shared aesthetic. To begin with, I will let people express themselves as to what they think a Jaguar sports car should look like. Of course I will have a view in my head but I won't impose that on them. It's important because great things come out of it. It's an iterative process, it's about problem solving. Not just the functional and the practical but how to make that line work with that one or that form with another. The whole process is very intimate, very detailed and comes from the first sketches."
Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar
Jaguar, which has innovated the use of aluminum body structures, built the new F-TYPE around its most advanced rigid and lightweight aluminum architecture to date. Jaguar engineers applied more than a decade's worth of aluminum construction experience to achieve the twin goals for the F-TYPE of low mass and an extremely rigid body.
Key to this was the further development of alloy technology. AC300, a 6000-series aluminum alloy, was specifically selected for parts of the F-TYPE to meet these goals. The F-TYPE structure is riveted and bonded, and this manufacturing process emits up to 80-percent less CO2 compared to that from welding a comparable steel structure.
In addition to the structural alloy, Jaguar further developed an AC600 aluminum panel alloy in order to deliver the desired design language. This AC600 alloy offers robustness and quality of finish but with a great degree of formability. The effects can be seen in the clarity and tightness of radii and feature lines. It was the radius tightness of just 8mm that allowed the engineers to reproduce the car's "heartlines" exactly as the designers had intended.
Aluminum construction, including all-aluminum double wishbone front and rear suspensions, helps endow the F-TYPE with an ideal balance, which enhances the agility demanded of a pure sports car. The new structural alloys used in the F-TYPE construction results in high rigidity. Using detailed Computer Aided Engineering programs, Jaguar achieved lateral stiffness gains of up to 30 percent in key areas, such as the front suspension mounting points, compared to other Jaguar models. This rigidity provides a precision foundation for a finely tuned suspension system to deliver a superb driver connectivity and fidelity of response.
Significantly, the beautiful clamshell hood, an exotic signature feature of the F-TYPE and where the front heartline begins, is a one-piece stamping, made using a 1,000-ton press. Jaguar developed other new manufacturing techniques in order to deliver both the design and structural integrity engineered into the F-TYPE. A new process, known as "warm forming", is used to produce the inner door stamping. The ordinary stamping process with cold metal could not achieve the desired shape. Jaguar engineers developed a method in which the metal is heated to 500°F (260°C) before pressing. As a result, the desired shape and structure are achieved from one large pressing rather than numerous smaller ones, reducing complexity and weight.
The F-TYPE employs more composite materials than in any previous Jaguar, with structures under the sill and the trunk lid constructed from high-strength polymers. Extensive analysis throughout the car's structure, powertrain, body and convertible roof contributed to the overall vehicle weight of about 3,521 pounds (1,597 kg). Concentrating as much of the mass as possible within the wheelbase by minimizing the front and rear overhangs also contributes to the car's agility and stability.
Aluminum forms a great part of the commitment Jaguar has made to sustainability. More than half the content of the car comes from recycled or reclaimed metal. In addition, Jaguar is rolling out its closed-loop recycling system to its suppliers, ensuring all waste metal from the manufacturing process is reused.
"We are creating a new generation of Jaguar sports car so it has to be credible from both a performance and design point of view. It has to deliver, it has to be a great handling car with a stiff, rigid platform underpinning and it has to look every inch an icon. For our team the greatest satisfaction was delivering a structure that underpinned the desired performance attributes - ride, handling and agility – by increasing stiffness and at the same time reducing weight.
We also worked hard to deliver the designers' vision. The biggest design challenge was the hood. Not only is it a one-piece pressing, it's where the first heartline begins. When we produced that stamping, we all stood around the gloss black painted hood under the high intensity lights and the designers said to us, 'yes, that's what we wanted' and the tooling engineers said, 'we can make that'. That was us working at our best; delivering the design proposition in high volumes."
Mark White, Chief Engineer, Body Complete
The F-TYPE showcases the new supercharged Jaguar engines, a 3-liter supercharged V6 in 340hp and 380hp states of tune and the 5-liter supercharged V8 in the F-TYPE V8 S with 495hp and 460 ft-lbs of torque. All are equipped with the new Intelligent Stop/Start system to enhance fuel economy under certain driving conditions.
The 340hp version of the supercharged V6, which debuted in the 2013 XJ and XF sedans, produces 332 ft-lbs of torque at 3,500-5,500 rpm. The 380hp version, exclusive to the F-TYPE, produces 339 ft-lbs of torque at 3,500-5,500 rpm. The V8 produces an even broader torque curve, with 460 ft-lbs produced over the 2,500-5,500 rpm range.
The 340hp V6 model can accelerate from zero-to-60 mph in 5.1 seconds (0-100km/h in 5.3 seconds). The 380hp S model lowers that to 4.8 seconds (0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds), and the V8 S can hit 60 mph from rest in just 4.2 seconds (0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds). Electronically limited maximum track speeds are 161 mph (260 km/h), 171 mph (275 km/h) and 186 mph (300 km/h), respectively, for the V6, V6 S and V8 S models.2
In addition to rapid zero-to-60 acceleration, the new Jaguar supercharged engines give the F-TYPE outstanding merging and passing performance. The 340hp V6 model will go from 50 to 75 mph in just 3.3 seconds; the 380hp S version in 3.1 and the V8 S model in 2.5 seconds. 2
Based on the Jaguar 5-liter V8 engine, the 3-liter V6 shares its all-alloy construction. The lightweight die-cast aluminum block is stiffened with cross-bolted main bearing caps, increasing rigidity and refinement. A system of counter-rotating front and rear balancer weights help give the new supercharged V6 the smoothness and refinement characteristics of the V8 on which it is based.
The supercharged V6 and V8 engines combine high compression, direct fuel injection, dual independent variable cam timing (DIVCT) and a supercharger to deliver their high levels of performance and efficiency. A twin vortex supercharger is mounted in the engine's "V", and a water-cooled intercooler reduces the temperature of the intake air to optimize power and efficiency. The supercharged V6 uses a higher compression ratio than the V8, 10.5:1 vs. 9.5:1.
In both the V6 and V8, the aluminum cylinder heads package an innovative valve control system. The dual independent variable cam timing (DIVCT) system is activated by the positive and negative torques generated by the movement of the intake and exhaust valves, allowing exceptionally quick actuation rates of more than 150 degrees per second throughout the rev range.
Spray-guided direct injection delivers precisely measured quantities of fuel directly into the center of the combustion chambers at pressures of up to 150bar (2175 psi) , creating a more homogenous air-fuel mixture for cleaner and more efficient combustion. This is aided by spark plugs that are precisely indexed both in relation to the injector and within the combustion chamber.
The new Intelligent Stop/Start system offers fuel economy benefits under certain urban driving conditions. Stop/Start uses a twin solenoid starter, enabling the system to restart the engine quickly as the driver's foot to move from the brake pedal to the accelerator. There is also a strategy for engine stop-start "change of mind" scenarios. This will bring the engine back up to speed even during its run-down phase if, for instance, the car is coming to a halt at an intersection when the driver sees an opportunity to join the traffic flow. As the engine is shutting down, but before it has completely stopped, it can rapidly restart by injecting fuel into the cylinders.
Standard for the V6 S and V8 S models and optional for the V6, an Active Exhaust system enhances the exhaust note. Electronically controlled bypass valves in the rear section of the exhaust open under hard acceleration, effectively providing a free-flowing straight-through arrangement. At cruising speeds, the valves will close, retaining a powerful exhaust note with comfortable sound levels.
Eight-speed 'Quickshift' Automatic Transmission
With eight closely spaced ratios in the Quickshift automatic transmission, the F-TYPE driver can select a gear which will keep the engine within its optimal power band. The transmission was specifically tuned by Jaguar for the F-type to prioritize acceleration. The V6 S model has a slightly lower (higher numerical) final drive ratio, 3.31:1 vs. 3.15:1 than the standard V6 model.
The entire drivetrain of the F-TYPE – up to and including tire contact patches – is tuned for optimal response to allow for ultra-fast transient torque delivery, which provides the driver with a high degree of responsive feedback. Importantly, once the transmission has shifted into second gear, a locking clutch bypasses the torque convertor, creating a direct mechanical link between the engine and the rear wheels. The Quickshift system enhances the sense of connectivity by ensuring sharp, immediate shifting performance via rapid and precisely timed engine torque intervention.
The operating parameters of the transmission are determined by the adaptive shift strategy that has 25 different programs available to it, depending on driving style and road conditions. The transmission can detect the manner in which the car is being driven by monitoring acceleration and braking, cornering forces, throttle and brake pedal activity, road load, kick-down request and even whether the car is being driven up or down hill. On detecting a more spirited driving style, the transmission will automatically make the shifts more aggressive and move the shift points higher.
In order to maintain the car's balance during a downshift, the transmission will instruct the engine management system to automatically blip the throttle to match engine revs. This function also allows the transmission to perform multiple and very rapid downshifts during hard braking. Corner Recognition senses when the F-TYPE is negotiating a curve, the transmission holding its ratio to ensure the correct gear for the exit. The transmission will also recognize when the car is performing a series of overtaking maneuvers requiring rapid changes in throttle position. Rather than upshift, the transmission will hold a lower gear to remain ready for the next demand for acceleration.
Manual override of the transmission is available to the driver at any time, using either the steering wheel-mounted paddles or the console-mounted selector. Moving the shift selector to the left gate accesses manual mode, in which the driver pulls the lever rearward for an upshift and pushes forward for a downshift. If Dynamic Mode is also selected on the Jaguar Drive Controller, the transmission will not automatically shift up at the engine's redline and will only downshift to prevent engine stalling, leaving control fully in the hands of the driver.
A Configurable Dynamics option is another first for a Jaguar. This allows the driver to select which elements of the Dynamic Mode are wanted so, for instance, the steering weight and throttle response can be sharpened while allowing the ride on models with Adaptive Dynamics to remain unchanged. Configurable Dynamics also adds functionality to the central touchscreen aimed at track use of the car. The system allows drivers to record lap and split times and will provide information on throttle and brake inputs and even G-forces generated. 1,2
Dynamic Launch Mode
The Jaguar F-TYPE S offers Dynamic Launch Mode for track-driving activities. When the car is stationary, the driver depresses the brake pedal while simultaneously building engine speed with the accelerator until a message reading 'Dynamic Launch Ready' appears in the instrument panel. That signals that the traction control has been set to help facilitate maximum acceleration. Releasing the brake while flooring the accelerator pedal keeps Dynamic Launch Mode engaged for maximum acceleration performance until the driver releases the pedal. 1,2
A mechanical limited-slip differential is fitted as standard to the F-TYPE S, which offers driver the opportunity to explore the car's superb balance and outer limits of its grip within a progressive handling envelope.
The V8 S model is fitted with an active electronic controlled differential to maximize traction and offer even greater control. Inside the differential, an electric motor acts on a multi-plate clutch to transfer torque to the wheel with the most grip. Fully automatic in operation, the system can apply full locking torque almost instantaneously. Working in conjunction with the stability, traction and ABS systems, it allows for very fine control of power delivery and always makes the most use of available grip.1
The three versions of the F-TYPE offer progressively more powerful braking systems, all with the high levels of pedal feedback required for accurate modulation. The Jaguar Performance system fitted to the 340hp F-TYPE has 13.9-inch (354mm) front and 12.8-inch (325mm) rear brake discs with silver painted calipers. The F-TYPE S uses the Jaguar High Performance system, gaining larger 15-inch (380mm) brake discs at the front.
The F-TYPE V8 S uses the Super High Performance system with the largest set of brake discs fitted as standard to a Jaguar production car, including the 15-inch (380mm) front and 14.8-inch (376mm) rear. All cars are fitted as standard with ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist.
Jaguar engineers used Computational Fluid Dynamics to optimize brake-cooling using directed cooling air. Cold air is channeled to the brake discs via the air intakes flanking the grille and by the use of aerodynamically shaped suspension components to direct airflow beneath the car.
The aluminum structure of the F-TYPE ensures the best possible connection for the driver to the road. Every response from the steering to the transmission shifting, throttle, brakes and suspension has been finely honed to be as connected, accurate and involving as possible.
"Fundamentally, a great sports car is one you'll look forward to driving because it's fun, and the F-TYPE definitely delivers on that score. We've worked hard to make sure that responses to steering, throttle and
brakes are absolutely immediate, a task made far easier by the rigid aluminum structure at the car's base. It's precise and exciting, a car that you'll want to drive for the sake of driving alone – and it sounds fantastic."
Mike Cross, Chief Engineer, Vehicle Integrity, Jaguar
Agility in the Jaguar F-TYPE begins with its dimensions, which give the car a planted, "wheels pushed to the corners" stance. The F-TYPE measures 176 inches (4,470mm) in length on a 103.2-in. (2,622 mm) wheelbase. The track is wider in rear than front, 64.1-in. (1,585mm) and 62.4-in. (1,627mm), respectively.
Short front and rear overhangs also help in concentrating the mass within the wheelbase, reducing the moment of inertia and making the car much more immediate to turn in. To fully exploit this trait, Jaguar engineers paid particular attention to optimizing front-to-rear weight distribution. To that end, both the battery and windshield washer fluid reservoir have been placed in the trunk, rather than under the hood.
To give the steering the greatest accuracy in response and feedback, the F-TYPE uses an alloy front sub frame and very stiff front knuckles, also in aluminum. This arrangement allowed the fitment of the quickest steering rack ever used on a modern Jaguar, giving the driver a very connected-to-the-road feeling.
Every Jaguar is engineered and tuned to achieve an excellent balance between ride comfort and handling. In the F-TYPE, that balance naturally tips in favor of involving, accessible handling while still maintaining excellent ride compliance. The Dynamic Mode enables the driver – at the push of a button – to emphasize the sporting character of the car by sharpening throttle response, increasing steering weighting, performing gear changes more quickly and higher up the rev range and by also raising the threshold for stability control intervention. Dynamic mode also prevents automatic upshifts when the gearbox is shifted into manual mode.1
Additionally, the F-TYPE S and V8 S models are fitted with the Jaguar Adaptive Dynamics suspension damping system that controls vertical body movement, roll and pitch rates. The system continuously monitors driver inputs and the attitude of the F-TYPE on the road, adjusting damper rates accordingly up to 500 times a second to optimize stability and agility. The Dynamic Mode in these models also provides firmer damper rates through the Adaptive Dynamics system. 1
"Jaguar has a unique legacy of sports cars so the global expectations for the F-TYPE are immense. Developing it was therefore not just a great privilege but also a huge challenge. A Jaguar sports car is more than speed in its absolute sense; it is about its agility and its reactions to driver inputs, those millisecond responses to create a connection with the vehicle. This pure and predictable level of response is what enables the driver to exploit the potential and capabilities of the car as well as their own. Amongst the many test locations we use is our dedicated development center at the Nürburgring Nordschleife – a circuit unique in the demands it places on a vehicle. As well as being a very high-speed test facility, it is also very demanding of the transmission, the chassis and the brakes, allowing us to really exploit and test those final few tenths of the F-TYPE's abilities. Asking questions of every element of the F-TYPE's performance attributes allowed us to hone them as a holistic, integrated package."
Ian Hoban, Vehicle Line Director
The F-TYPE asymmetric cabin layout reflects the sharp focus on the driver. The aim was to create an enveloping cockpit for the driver with all the controls placed naturally to hand and logically grouped, allowing maximum attention on the driving experience.
A grab handle sweeps down the center console on the passenger side, delineating it from the driver's position and wrapping around the center console. Different finishes in the driver and passenger areas are used, including a different grain on top of the instrument panel and center console than that found on the passenger side. In the S and V8 S models, the main control interfaces – the Engine Start button, steering wheel mounted gearshift paddles and Dynamic Mode toggle – are highlighted in an "Ignis" orange finish, similar to that used on the markings on professional divers' watches. The controls are ergonomically grouped by function, enabling the driver to more easily use them without diverting eyes from the road.
"We wanted the experience of sitting in the F-TYPE to be exciting. A sports car cockpit should be an intimate place and so we aimed to get a sense of the surfaces falling towards and then wrapping around the driver. What we've done is given it the essence and spirit of doing what you want to do rather than what's expected of you. The more processed this world becomes, the more important that is."
Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar
A small-diameter three-spoke steering wheel will also be available in a flat-bottom design, as part of an optional Performance Pack. Numerals on the tachometer are larger and bolder than those on the speedometer, to enhance visibility when for shifting. A TFT LCD screen between the two dials provides further information for the driver.
Rotary dials control the heating and air conditioning for each side of the car. A display screen within the two dials indicates temperature and mode. The controls are dual-purpose: in cars fitted with heated seats, pushing the left or right hand dial controls temperature for that seat. A row of toggle switches below the dials control additional climate functions, their design echoing classic Jaguar sports cars. The air vents on top of the dashboard are hidden, and will deploy by rising out of the dashboard only when instructed to by either the driver or climate control system, staying tucked discreetly out of sight in other circumstances.
Switches are finished in soft-feel matte black with white markings for maximum legibility, and the highlight accents are deliberately understated satin chrome and dark aluminum. The two S models feature darker finishes than in the standard V6 F-TYPE.
Sports seats feature power recline and height adjustment with manual control of fore/aft movement, a nod to weight reduction. Available Performance seats can be ordered with additional side bolstering for greater support during high-force cornering. Both seat types can also be optioned with full power adjustment, including adjustable lumbar and side support. The car's driving position is 20mm lower than in the Jaguar XKR-S, lowering the center of gravity and allowing the driver to feel more connected to the car.
The F-TYPE is available with two audio systems from premium British audio experts Meridian™. These offer either 10 or 12 speakers with outputs of 380 watts and 770 watts, respectively. The Meridian™ systems benefit from the company's experience in digital signal processing to create life-like audio reproduction. The top of the range offering also features the Meridian™ Trifield System, which places both occupants at the center of their own perfectly focused surround sound field.
In one sense, the new Jaguar F-Type is a simple car to discuss. It is dynamically very good, though it has a particular character, like any well-done car. It looks beautiful, which you can probably glean from photos, and this fortunately turns out to be a judgment that holds up upon seeing the car in the aluminum and leather. It is comfortable and usable in daily driving, although it has rather strict cargo limitations. And it is expensive, although there is a reasoned argument that the F-Type is priced below its likely competitors.
At the same time, there is a lot of room for confusion around the F-Type. And those areas of confusion are sufficiently complex that they may trouble you, no end. Let’s start with the latter issues because you have to have some idea what the F-Type “is” and “isn’t” to be able to process our evaluation of the car’s behavior and character.
Let’s start by saying that Jaguar clearly intends the F-Type to be a sports car and a logical successor to the vaunted E-Type of the 1960s. This is troubling because Jaguar hasn’t made a sports car for 40 years, and as a result one’s mind has Jaguar solidly positioned as a luxury car maker, even if we tend to think of the company as a maker of luxury cars with a bit of sporting character (XK-R or XF-R or XJ-R anyone?). This parallels the problem Porsche had when they made a big sedan. Being a sports car maker, many assumed Porsch would make a sports sedan in the mold of the M5. Instead, the Panamera is a luxury sedan with some sporting character and not the sports sedan many imagined. Similary violating preconceptions, the F-Type is a sports car with some luxury refinements, not the grand tourer you expect.
To explain the ways in which the F-Type is a sports car, we could start with its form. It is a smallish, drop-top two-seater. But, given cars like the BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLK
, it is pretty clear that form isn’t enough. The F-Type, fortunately, skips the dynamic compromises of those cars. The F-Type is tautly sprung, responsive to the helm, and punchy even under part-throttle acceleration. The F-Type also provides quick shifting, well-weighted steering, and a general sense of connection to the driver -- like a sports car.
This helps clear up another point of confusion for some observers. They ask “Hey, wait a second Jaguar, you already have an expensive sports car, the XK, don’t you?” Jaguar answers, and we concur, that the answer is “no.” A back-to-back drive of the F-Type and the XK makes it clear the XK is a GT in the mold of the Mercedes-Benz SL: a touch on the big side, slightly damped in its responses, and a bit dull even if fast. If you want to put it positively, the XK and similar cars are “relaxed.” This is not what the F-Type is trying to do as its primary mission, although progress and brand DNA being what they are, the F-Type isn’t much less refined than the XK while being a whole lot more dynamically entertaining.
Perhaps an additional area of confusion revolves around the question of what the F-Type competes against. There aren’t that many $70,000 to $100,000 sports cars, so we can quickly look at a list of candidates. There is the Corvette, which has a similar layout, but is somewhat cheaper if you insist on similar power levels. Despite this logic, the stylistic and brand differences make it tough for us to imagine a lot of C7/F-Type cross-shopping. There is the Nissan GT-R, which is priced with the V-8 version of the F-Type, but is a coupe and anyway wants to be an entry level supercar, not a sports car. And there are the Porsches—Boxster and Carrera Cabriolet. We think these latter cars are perhaps the most logical competitors because they are premium-brand cars with dynamically desirable behavior. But still, Porsche is the more established sports car brand, and both Boxster and 911 offer drivetrain layouts that in the modern era are traditionally associated with “pure” sports cars. The same could be said for the Audi R8, though it is in a price category above the F-Type, as is the Aston-Martin Vantage.
We might conclude that, in fact, the F-Type is pretty well positioned in the sense that it offers a new alternative that the market doesn’t really have. If you like the Boxster, but want something more exclusive and fresher stylistically, the F-Type is a logical alternative. Or if you’d like a 911 or R8 Spyder or Vantage, but can’t get comfortable with their price tags, which tend to land well past $100,000, then Jaguar would be happy to talk to you about similar performance with lower payments.
The confusing part here is that there isn’t a simple F-150 vs. Silverado vs. Ram vs. Tundra head-to-head comparison. Really, though, consumers should take that as a good thing. Genuine choice is nice to have.
Unfortunately, as we catalog the confusing elements of the F-Type, the lack of a choice of transmissions makes it confusing for some to see the F-Type as a sports car. What we’re talking about is that Jaguar only offers an automatic torque-converter-based gearbox on the F-Type. Sure, it can be manually shifted via paddles or a console stalk, but for some the lack of clutches—and for others the additional lack of an H-pattern interface—removes a signature element of “sports car.” We think this omission is shortsighted, because the F-Type would almost certainly be even more involving and more charming and a more desirable car with a six-speed on the tunnel.
Jaguar has its reasons for using a traditional automatic transmission. They would remind you that Ferrari doesn’t offer a conventional H-pattern gearbox on any of its cars. We would remind Jaguar that Ferraris are, for the most part, in supercar territory—a space that operates by different rules. That, and we’d say that copying a mistake by a brand that can get away with mistakes isn’t exactly a genius move for a brand trying to move up in the world.
Jaguar would also argue that the percentage of people buying traditional manuals on Porsches and BMWs is rather low. No one wants to use numbers, but perhaps only 20 percent of Porsche buyers avoid PDK to get a "real" manual. If Jaguar sells about 10,000 F-Types annually, they might sell 1000 manuals, assuming Jag buyers are less committed to rowing themselves down the road. Apparently, it is hard to justify the regulatory certifications and design costs for so few cars. That’s practical, but Porsche didn’t get to be Porsche by making decisions that way. And, the likelihood is that manual buyers would pay more, which means some of those costs could be offset.
Fortunately, the F-Type works perfectly well with the transmission it has. That transmission is excellent and should make open-minded people quite happy. And since most of you would end up buying it with an automated gearbox no matter what Jaguar had on the option sheet, an evaluation of the car with the autobox is the relevant one.
All these points of confusion, which we hope to have clarified, add up to the F-Type not being exactly like any car we know. In turn, its driving dynamics don’t obviously fit a pattern either.
A few characterizations are in order to explain this. We drove two of the three F-Type models, the V6 S with 380 horsepower and the V8 S with 495 horsepower (Jaguar didn’t have any of the base 340-horsepower V-6 models for us to drive). We’ll characterize the V-6S because it is more affordable and in a lot of ways does the best job of delivering what we think Jaguar is trying to do. We can then explain how the V-8 differs.
Like the Porsches, the F-Type V6 S has strong acceleration, but acceleration that isn’t scary fast if you’re behind the wheel. We think this level of power is what most people in their right minds would want. Fast enough that part-throttle acceleration is brisk. Faster if you really want to open it up for passing or on a track day. But slow enough that you aren’t immediately at a speed that is dangerous. And slow enough that at usable street pace you can develop a flowing rhythm on winding roads. The wide torque band of the supercharged motor enhances this element of usability because you don’t have to be above some magical rpm level lest you be left with a boggy mess when you roll on the power.
The active exhaust on the S models enhances the allure of the power on tap. Jaguar offers two modes for the operation of the F-Type: Normal and Dynamic. In normal the exhaust is muted but noticeable with the top down. About what the Germans would give you in sport mode. But when set to Dynamic, the exhaust is half of the way to loud, which we would judge to be just about right with the top lowered, although we would ideally up the level a smidge if the top is raised. The V-6 sound is gritty and alert, with a high-revving sonority that we quite liked. It doesn’t sound gimmicky or artificial, although the “bwap” you get between shifts does make you think that someone programmed it into the ECU (they did). We loved it anyway.
The transmission is also a willing partner as you traverse the back country (we drove it through the Cascades near Seattle). We would highly recommend shifting the car manually at all times except in commuter traffic. Shifts are crisp and immediate, and the paddles feel good with an ergonomically satifying location. In town, where steering angles tend to be more severe, you can use the console shifter. Or you might wish to use the console mechanism all the time. If you are worried about this being a torque converter system, not a dual-clutch affair, we would suggest a test drive first. The Jaguar torque converter locks up in all gears, so the immediacy of mid-gear acceleration is the same as what you’d have with PDK or DCT. The difference we noted, which is pretty minor, is that upshifts and downshifts don’t feel as “hard” because there is a moment post-shift before the converter locks. You can take that as a good thing or a bad thing, depending. We’d slightly prefer a dual-clutch system, as much for its crispness off the line in town as anything.
When it comes to handling, Jaguar has done a lot right. As we’ve pointed out in many reviews, the trick in modern cars is to combine an accurate, responsive chassis with some sense of feedback and fluidity. Make a car too stiff and it feels inert seven tenths of the way to the limit. Make a car too quick to respond and it can feel darty and become tiring.
A comparison with the Boxster
will illustrate two valid but different approaches. In a nutshell, where the Boxster is sharp, the F-Type carves. Where the Boxster is crisp, the F-Type is flowing. Where the Boxster is tight, the F-Type dances. The two cars are not radically different in cornering composure, but the feel is different. The Boxster is probably the better handler, but it can feel more clinical. The F-Type gives up some of the data that the Boxster offers, but has a more organic feel, and well below the limit can be more involving because it demands more participation. It is interesting to note that the F-Type handles somewhat more like the 911 with base suspension and less like the 911 with PASM, PDCC, and torque vectoring. We approve of the F-Type's approach, if the street is your primary milieu.
Steering on the F-Type is good, though like most modern electric systems, not amazingly feelful. The ratio is about perfect—not too fast, not too slow, though it does have the fastest rack of any Jag. The turning weight is also good. Overall, it immediately had a sense of rightness to us that allowed us to forget it and get on with enjoying the drive.
We thought the F-Type was solid fun. It is small enough and likes to turn enough that it works on real twisties. It is stable enough and fast enough to work on more meandering roads. It has the reserve torque and intake system to feel right at moderate altitudes. And other than the standard convertible blind spot, its size, sightlines and ground clearance worked well in town.
We did get to do a few track laps and autocross runs with the car (at Ridge Motorsports Park—a nice new facility by the way). We can confirm that it works just fine in a track environment. The balance is good, reflecting Jaguar’s work to get the chassis dialed in around a 50/50 weight distribution. We really felt able to place the car precisely and the bushings and steering transmitted enough information about tire slip angles to inspire confidence. The F-Type tends to a little understeer (which is what you want, we’d vote), but proper use of brakes and throttle will keep the car going where you want it. We pass that on more as an indication that Jaguar, like BMW, has done some solid engineering here and that the F-Type isn’t just another nice car that wilts under the pressure of the track. Still, we probably wouldn’t pick a soft-top car if we wanted to do a lot of track work.
This is probably an appropriate point to insert a few thoughts about the V8 S. The argument for the V-8 is twofold. First, acceleration gets to the neck-snapping level (literally, we can attest), which is something the V-6 really can’t do. We have explained above, that, just as some don’t want their sex to be over in a few seconds, there are reasons to doubt the value of the V-8. But, if you want the beast, you want the beast. Fair enough. Also, the V-8's exhaust note is different and you might prefer it. At times it is louder and times quieter, but it has a different tonal character. It sounds like a Jag V-8, not an American one, and it is set up to backfire rapidly when off throttle in a charming way if that’s your thing.
We should add that the V-8 chassis doesn’t feel quite as responsive. The V-6 is a tad more wired to your brain, the V-8 takes an extra femtosecond to do your bidding. The difference isn’t huge, but you notice it immediately. All in all, if you are torn between the two, we’d save our cash unless the lease rates are effectively identical.
We won’t bore you with a list of features on the car, which you can look up on the Jaguar site anyway. We will mention just a few qualitative things that stood out. First, we thought the seats were unusually comfortable. We did about 250 miles in the car our first morning and felt fine upon arrival at our lunch stop, which is an accomplishment. Ride quality is excellent in our book, but we like a firm ride. Some of our journalist companions felt that a comfort setting on the suspension would have been nice. We’re not sure why, because on broken pavement (which Seattle has blissfully little of) the car seemed quite smooth. You do sit near the rear axle on the F-Type, which increases your sense of pitch, so a ride evaluation on your roads, with your body, is in order. We would add that Jaguar has seen fit to allow almost all the Dynamic mode settings (engine map, steering weight, damper stiffness, exhaust note, shifting) to be adjusted one by one. But the F-Type is not a Lexus no matter how hard you twist the knobs. Thank God.
The one element of flavoring in the F-Type that we think everyone would agree on is that space is limited. The car is relatively wide (four inches wider and one inch shorter than the 911) so the cabin feels nice, but the trunk is small and there is no storage space behind the seats. A coupe, which you would have to guess is in the works, may address this. And, there is fitted luggage on offer.
So, we return to our opening summary. Jaguar has built a sports car that is simple: fast, agile, attractive, comfortable. It is expensive, though competitively priced. Most of all, Jaguar has built a Jaguar sports car, meaning one that is fluid and organic feeling, not raw or aggressive or edgy. In achieving that Jaguar feel, the company hasn’t just compromised by making the car dull and as a result the F-Type is quite fun to drive. What you give up is just a bit of sharpness to get a bit more relaxed feel. That may or may not be what you want, but if it is, and if you want an automated gearbox, there should be a new car on your short list. The car is that good.
2014 Jaguar F-Type V6 S
Engine: Supercharged V-6, 3.0 liters, 24v
Output: 380 hp/339 lb-ft
0-60 MPH: 4.8 sec
Top Speed: 171 mph
Weight: 3558 lb
Fuel Economy, City/Hwy: 19/27 mpg
Base Price: $81,000
2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 S
Engine: Supercharged V-8, 5.0 liters, 32v
Output: 495 hp/460 lb-ft
0-60 MPH: 4.2 sec
Top Speed: 186 mph
Weight: 3671 lb
Fuel Economy, City/Hwy: 16/23 mpg
Base Price: $92,000
Driven: 2014 Jaguar F-Type
Base vs. Loaded: 2014 Jaguar F-Type
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Evo: Jaguar F-Type V8 S Roadster Review
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