If the name of your newest model is supposed to evoke memories of one of the most influential sports cars of all time—the midcentury E-type—then the machine itself better live up to it. Thankfully this one does.
The all-new F-Type is an aluminum twoseater, here now in convertible form, with an even slicker looking coupe to follow. It comes in three flavors, two V6s and a supercharged, 495hp V8. That last was the test vehicle, and in almost every respect it moves the game on for Jaguar, while being a completely credible rival to today’s finest driving sports cars— the Audi R8 and Porsche’s iconic 911.
The F-Type look is almost perfect; only a slightly narrow and upright frontal aspect keeps it from joining the styling greats. Inside, its modern and dynamic forms are swathed in supple leather, with simple-to-understand controls helping to accentuate a modern ambiance. Two center consolemounted buttons in particular are worth paying attention to: the first opens the optional active exhaust’s baffles, leading to one of the world’s greatest V8 symphonies, full of rapid-fire staccato percussion and gloriously arching tenor choruses. The other, a sliding brass colored switch, engages Dynamic mode. This buttons down the F-Type’s firm yet compliant ride, speeds throttle response and lends real weight to the steering.
That’s important, for this is the fastest-acting Jaguar helm ever. Combined with the F-type’s razor-sharp turn-in, it can unsettle the rear tires if all the safety systems are switched out. Thankfully though, the steering offers up real road feel, and the ESP is so well calibrated that most anyone can drive this 500hp machine right up to the limits. When freed of its electronic leash, the F-Type is a ferocious drift machine, always ready to lead from behind and indulge in massive slip angles. Like the best Jaguars, you can dial it back, power open the top (at speeds up to 30mph) and cruise in comfort, enjoying the supple damping and quiet ride. That’ll make it easier to hear all the compliments passers by and other drivers are yelling at you.
Only a few nits need to be addressed. Firstly, taller occupants wont get the kind of muss-free top down motoring the best convertibles serve up; also the eight-speed transmission seems to want to upshift to the highest gear possible as quickly as it can, even its most hard-core settings; finally, the paddle-actuated downshifts are quieter than one would hope from such an amazing sounding engine. Thankfully these are all minor issues; in every other way the F-Type is superb right out of the gate. It is indeed a worthy—if long delayed—successor to its illustrious forebear.
Here’s more info from Jaguar:
EPA ratings: 16/23; 18mpg combined
Price as tested: $105,170