From £54,060 (test car was £80,890 before options)
- Beautifully styled inside and out
- Dynamic performance with soundtrack to match
- Competitively priced
- Stiff opposition from the likes of Porsche
- The ride can be a little hard over time
- Thirsty when driven hard
Jaguar designers and engineers were faced with the toughest of challenges when it came to developing a new two-seater sports car for the 21st Century. After all, everyone would immediately be comparing the model to the iconic and legendary E-Type that dominated the scene right through to the sixties.
But the aptly named F-Type was launched in 2013 to great acclaim and it has recently undergone a major facelift with lots of new design cues, upgraded on-board tech, improved performance systems, plus the addition of some impressive powertrains.
The F-Type is available in Coupe or Convertible guise and buyers can also choose between rear- or all-wheel drive.
On The Road
The Jaguar F-Type is available in generously equipped trim levels starting with the F-Type, followed by R-Dynamic, then the First Edition and R models. And powering the sports car is a choice of 2.0-litre, four-cylinder or 5.0-litre, V8 petrol engines with outputs ranging from 300PS to 575PS. All units are matched to an eight-speed Quickshift transmission with full driver control via steering wheel paddles or the SportShift gear selector. Buyers also have the option of rear wheel or all-wheel drive.
We tested out the F-Type First Edition Coupe with the very latest engine that has been added – a 5.0-litre V8 450PS unit with 580Nm of torque. They may just sound like random figures, but when translated into performance stats it results in a 0-60mph sprint time of just 4.4 seconds and top speed of 177mph.
The power at your disposal is instant as the F-Type powers through the automatic gearbox. Even when driving along water drenched country lanes, the all-wheel drive F-Type was assured and the car felt perfectly poised and grounded without the slightest hint of slip.
Bends and corners can be attacked with total confidence and there is ample driver feedback from the steering wheel making it one of the most entertaining sports cars out there today. It may be totally modern in its appearance and technology, but it’s full of traditional ‘Big Cat’ charm.
New F-Type seems to have developed a more aggressive attitude and much of this is down to the uprated chassis set-up along with new dampers and springs that aid the improved agility and all-round performance.
The ride is certainly on the firm side, but the supportive seats do an excellent job of cushioning the shudders from any unexpected potholes along the way.
The meticulously-tuned electric power steering and torque vectoring by braking assist in delivering exceptional agility, making the new F-Type a driving purist’s dream car.
It feels much sharper on the open road than the outgoing version, which was starting to appear a little jaded by comparison. New F-Type is nimble, responsive and very potent with addictive and aggressive characteristics that simply dare you to push on. It’s a car that will keep driving through sharp twists and turns where others would have pulled up short long before.
All-wheel drive is an added bonus and a sensible choice with our wet and often greasy UK roads, although the rear-wheel drive models do offer a little more in the fun factor department with more tail-end movement if that’s what rocks your boat.
The Jaguar F-Type was originally a great looking car with dynamic styling and all the charm of a premium sports car. But new F-Type has really raised the bar with a fresh new appearance that’s more muscular and assertive than its predecessor. There is a new clamshell bonnet, revised front bumper and larger grille for more visual impact. And the styling is completed thanks to slim pixel LED headlights, subtly updated signature ‘J’ daytime running lights, plus flush door handles and air vents.
Move inside and it’s all about the driver with controls, dials and readouts perfectly positioned for ease of use. It oozes class and elegance without being garish and there’s a wealth of technology to be explored along the way. Fine leather upholstery, Nubuck edged carpet mats, ebony suedecloth headlining, high-end decorative inlays and soft-touch surfaces help to create an upmarket cockpit worthy of such a car.
When it comes to driver refinement, the F-Type is all about noise, power and sheer aggression. It’s a car that starts up with a roar and that sound gets louder and louder the more you push on. Switch the gear shift across to Sport and fire up the active exhaust sound and it gets all the more uncompromising with plenty of snap, crackle and pop. In fact, the F-Type is a car that is heard long before it’s seen … and then just like that, it’s gone again!
In The Car
Getting comfortable inside the snug cockpit of the new F-Type takes just a matter of seconds with a power-adjustable steering wheel and 12-way electrically-operated front seats. The nicely bolstered and supportive front seats on the First Edition model also have memory settings where your preferred set-up can be stored. An option on the test car was heated and cooled seats which added £500 to the cost.
It’s very driver-focused with all the very latest technology and connectivity systems at your disposal. There is a 10-inch Touch Pro infotainment system with navigation, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a pitch perfect Meridian sound system, Bluetooth, a rear camera and a whole lot more.
But the real eye-catching feature has to be the new reconfigurable high definition 12.3-inch Interactive Driver Display behind the steering wheel which can be personalised according to taste and requirements. For example, it can show one single dial for track or time-specific work, the more traditional twin dial view or even a full map for navigation purposes. All these displays have been designed so the driver can simply glance and get the necessary data they need without having to take their eyes from the road ahead.
If you’re looking for a spacious, practical car then it will soon become evident that the F-Type is not the car for you – it’s a two-seater sports car with limited storage options.
That said; the Jaguar designers have been clever to maximise the little room there is and the boot can actually hold a creditable 310 litres of kit. In addition, there is a small central cubby box, drop-down glovebox, narrow door bins, twin cup holders and a few other small compartments to tuck away bits and pieces.
The driver and passenger space are impressive though and even taller occupants will find there is ample leg and head room to stretch out in comfort.
While the Jaguar F-Type is not the most expensive sports car in showrooms today it’s not cheap either, especially if you start moving towards the range-topping versions and then introduce some options to the mix.
The line-up costs from a fairly reasonable £54,060 and rises to £102,370. Our test car, in First Edition trim level, was priced at £80,890 although a few add-ons such as privacy glass (£375), a Climate Pack consisting heated windscreen, heated steering wheel and twin-zone climate control (£670) and black brake callipers (£320) saw the final cost creep up to £85,395.
When it comes to running costs, under more stringent WLTP testing, the car could deliver a combined 26.8-26.1mpg with carbon emissions of 239-246g/km. This CO2 figure would result in a first year Vehicle Excise Duty charge of £1,815 dropping to a more respectable £145 after 12 months.
Our car was listed in insurance group 49.
It’s difficult to accurately predict just how reliable the Jaguar F-Type will be especially with the new powertrain – only time will tell.
However, the build quality within the car is most impressive with strong upholstered seats that certainly look like they will survive the test of time. In addition, the switchgear and infotainment screens are of the highest quality so should not cause any issues.
In the past, Jaguar’s downfall has tended to be electrics, but once again, the latest version of the car features all the necessary software and physical upgrades compared to its predecessor.
The car comes with a standard three-year, unlimited mileage warranty which will bring some peace of mind to owners and this can be extended to five years at a cost.
As the Jaguar F-Type is a relatively low volume model it has not been tested for a Euro NCAP safety rating, but the car does feature a lot of kit as standard with the option to specify extras.
Safety systems and driver aids include emergency brake assist, roll over protection, anti-lock brakes, a driver condition monitor, cruise control with speed limiter, lane keep assist, front and rear parking aids, a rear camera and six airbags. Blind spot assist and rear traffic monitor are a £450 option.
To help keep uninvited attention at bay, there is an alarm and immobiliser, remote central locking with deadlock and drive-away locking, plus the option of adding a secure tracker for £520.