- Driving dynamics with a brutally fast 5.0-litre V8 engine
- Packed with the latest technology
- Competitively priced
- Some strong competition, especially from Porsche
- Limited storage space
- Very thirsty if driven hard
Replacing a legend is no easy challenge, but that’s the issue designers and engineers faced at Jaguar when developing the F-Type sports car for the 21st Century. There was never any doubt that people would immediately compare the model to the iconic E-Type that graced the motoring world throughout the sixties.
But Jaguar launched its F-Type in 2013 to great acclaim and it was recently given a major facelift with lots of fresh design cues, powerful new engines and upgraded technology.
The two-door, two-seat F-Type is on sale in Coupe or Convertible guise and buyers can also choose between rear- or all-wheel drive.
On The Road
The Jaguar F-Type sports car is available in trim levels called F-Type, R-Dynamic, First Edition and R, powered by a choice of 2.0-litre, four-cylinder or 5.0-litre, V8 petrol engines with outputs ranging from 300PS to 575PS.
All vehicles feature an eight-speed Quickshift transmission with full driver control via steering wheel paddles or the SportShift gear selector.
We tested out the F-Type First Edition Coupe AWD model powered by the 5.0-litre V8 450PS petrol unit with 580Nm of torque. And those figures translate into impressive reading when it comes to performance with the car boasting a 0-60mph sprint time of just 4.4 seconds and maximum speed of 177mph.
The power at your disposal is breath-taking as the F-Type punches through the automatic gearbox and even in extremely wet conditions the all-wheel drive car was confident and well planted.
It can cruise effortlessly at 70mph on motorways, is agile enough in town centres, but is happiest when unleashed on quieter country lanes where the bends and corners can be attacked with total confidence and there is ample driver feedback from the perfectly weighted steering wheel.
The body control into tight bends is superb and there’s next to no vibration through the car. It was designed purely as a sports car and it lives up to all expectations.
The latest Jaguar F-Type has developed a more aggressive attitude thanks to an upgraded chassis set-up along with newly enhanced dampers and springs that help improve the car’s agility and all-round performance.
Although the ride is definitely on the firm side, the supportive seats and highly effective adaptive suspension system on the V8 do an excellent job of cushioning you from the shudders caused by any unexpected bumps and dips along the way.
There is a meticulously-tuned electric power steering set-up, along with torque vectoring by braking assist, and these help to deliver great agility on the twisting B roads, making the new F-Type a driving enthusiast’s absolute dream car.
New F-Type has a certain charm that almost dares you to push on with its relentless pace. A racing start will leave you pinned to the back of your seat and still this car keeps on giving. It’s nimble, agile and yet remains aggressive in its character. It’s a car that’s guaranteed to leave you beaming from ear to ear.
All-wheel drive is an added bonus and makes quite a sensible choice with our wet and often greasy roads. And the system operates with a rear-wheel drive bias most of the time feeding extra torque to the front when needed so it remains a ‘driver’s’ car.
At launch, the Jaguar F-Type boasted drop-dead gorgeous styling capable of stopping onlookers in their tracks. But the latest model really ups the ante with a more muscular and assertive appearance than its predecessor.
Fresh design cues include a larger grille for more visual impact, a new clamshell bonnet, a revised front bumper, slim pixel LED headlights, subtly updated signature ‘J’ daytime running lights, along with flush door handles and air vents. Our test car also boasted black brake calipers and 18-inch alloy wheels to complete the dynamic styling.
Moving inside and once again the level of quality and craftsmanship is impossible to ignore as it is finished to a very high standard. There is the finest leather upholstery, Nubuck edged carpet mats, an ebony suedecloth headlining, high-end decorative trimmings, soft-touch surfaces and a leather trimmed steering wheel with aluminium spokes.
And when it comes to driver refinement, the F-Type is a creature with two personalities. Yes, it can be calmly driven and offers a comfortable, cushioned ride. Or, it can be driven in a manner that matches its dynamic design with plenty of noise, power and sheer aggression.
The car starts up with a tremendous roar and that sound gets louder and louder the more you push on. And if you want even more volume, simply switch the gear shift across to Sport and fire up the active exhaust sound system for a full accompaniment of snap, crackle and pop.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
The F-Type cabin is very snug, but getting the perfect driving position only takes a matter of seconds thanks to a power-adjustable steering wheel and 12-way electrically-operated front seats.
The seats on the First Edition model are nicely bolstered for added support and also have memory settings where your preferred set-up can be stored. An optional extra on our test car was heated and cooled seats which added £500 to the final price-tag.
The main focal point is the new reconfigurable high-definition 12.3-inch Interactive Driver Display behind the steering wheel which can be fully personalised. You can opt for a single dial if you need to concentrate on track or time-specific work, a more traditional twin dial view or even a full map display for navigation purposes. The graphics are nice and sharp and it has been designed for minimal driver distraction.
The level of on-board technology is impressive too with the likes of a 10-inch Touch Pro infotainment system with navigation, a pitch perfect Meridian sound system, DAB radio, Bluetooth, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a rearview camera and plenty more besides.
Space & Practicality
If it’s a spacious, practical family car that you’re looking for, then look elsewhere, because the F-Type is a two-seat sports car with limited storage options.
But the Jaguar design team has been clever to maximise the little room there is within the compact cabin and the boot can actually hold a creditable 310 litres of kit too.
For smaller items, there is a drop-down glovebox, narrow door bins, twin cup holders and a deep central cubby box.
While storage room may be limited, the driver and passenger are treated to oodles of space. Six footers will find they have ample leg room and with seats that a fully adjustable, getting comfortable is a simple process.
Jaguar is a premium brand and the F-Type is its flagship sports car, so it’s never going to be a cheap option. However, it is competitively priced and if you are careful with the model choice and limit the number of optional extras, it works out far more reasonable than rivals from the likes of Porsche.
The F-Type line-up costs from a fairly reasonable £54,965 and rises to £103,200 for the F-Type R Convertible model. Our test model, in First Edition trim level, cost £80,890 although a number of optional extras such as) Eiger Grey metallic paint (£730), a powered tailgate (£470), 12-way heated and cooled electric memory front seats (£500), a Climate Pack consisting heated windscreen, heated steering wheel and twin-zone climate control (£670), black brake callipers (£320) and privacy glass (£375) saw the final price creep up to £85,395.
When it comes to day-to-day running costs, the test car could deliver a combined 26.8mpg under stricter WLTP testing, with carbon emissions from 239g/km. This CO2 figure would result in a first year Vehicle Excise Duty charge of £1,910 dropping to the standard £155 after 12 months.
And there is more bad news regarding costs because cars costing more than £40k incur an additional levy of £335 for five years starting from the second year of ownership.
The test car sits in insurance group 49.
Quality & Reliability
Jaguar did experience some initial issues concerning the electrics on the first versions of the F-Type, but these have been smoothed out now and the latest systems should all be problem-free.
The interior of the car is exceptionally elegant and upmarket with a combination of high-end upholstery and quality materials throughout. All the switchgear feels well put together and the touchscreen is easily wiped clean from any fingerprints.
The car comes with Jaguar’s standard three-year, unlimited mileage warranty which will bring some peace of mind to owners and this can be extended for an extra two years for a fee.
Safety & Security
Sales of the F-Type sports car are relatively low volume, so it has not been tested for a Euro NCAP safety rating. It is, however, packed with safety kit to protect occupants and other road users alike.
Features on the car include the likes of lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, emergency brake assist, a driver condition monitor, roll-over protection system, anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, front and rear parking aids and a rearview camera, cruise control with speed limiter, dynamic stability control and six airbags.
An optional extra on our car was a blind sport assist pack costing £450 that added blind spot assist and a rear traffic monitor system.
To help keep the car safe from thieves, there is an alarm and immobiliser, remote central locking with deadlock and drive-away locking, along with the option of adding a secure tracker for £520.