By Bruce Caldwell
It took five decades for Jaguar to market a successor to the iconic sixties E-Type, but the all-new 2014 Jaguar F-Type is a noble heir. The new F-Type is a serious performance car that’s also gorgeous. The 2014 Jaguar F-Type has all the benefits of a half-century of technological innovations packed into an evocative body. The 2014 Jaguar F-Type has it all: performance, style, comfort, luxury, and safety.
Walkaround: The 2014 Jaguar F-Type is stunning. The designers did a fantastic job conceiving and executing a shape that is sleek and sexy from all angles. The long nose and short deck pay tribute to the revered Jaguar E-Type, which is easily one of the finest sports car shapes ever penned. The new F-Type has echoes of the past with a fully modern interpretation. The F-Type is one of those cars you can’t park and walk away from. You’re compelled to turn and admire it.
Differences between the three F-Type variants are subtle with increasing tire/wheel sizes (18-, 19-, and 20-inch) being a chief difference, but the quickest way to distinguish between V-6 and V-8 models is the extra pair of exhaust tips on the V-8 models.
Interior: The cockpit has a distinct racer/aeronautical flavor with the emphasis being on the driver, not the passenger. The multi-adjustable seats are form fitting and very comfortable. They hold and support you like performance seats should.
There is little room for extraneous items. Driving is the F-Type’s purpose, not cruising between latte stands. The sound system, HVAC system, and various info systems are all on par for a vehicle with MSRP prices between $69,000 and $92,000 (options can push prices over six figures).
Interior quality is excellent, as is overall fit and finish of body panels. The interior design is handsome, not gimmicky. The soft top is well insulated for warmth and quiet.
Under The Hood: There are three engine choices, all of them supercharged. The base engine is a 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. The first optional engine is in the F-Type S, which boosts the 3.0-liter V-6 to 380 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque. The F-Type V-8 S has a 5.0-liter aluminum V-8 that produces a prodigious 495 horsepower with 460 lb-ft of torque.
Jaguar lists 0-60 times of 5.1 seconds for the base V-6, 4.2 seconds for the V-6 S, and 4.2 seconds for the V-8. Some enthusiast magazines have reported sub-four second 0-60 times and quarter mile times less than twelve seconds. This cat is quick.
The V-8 reminded us of a highly tuned Corvette small-block (we mean this in the most complimentary way) after it attended finishing school. Depending on your driving style the engine can either be mildly restrained or ready to rip up asphalt. The two V-6 engines are excellent, but the V-8 is so much fun (and not too much more expensive than the V-6 S model) that it’s our first choice by a large margin. Also, in terms of future resale/collectability we predict the V-8 F-Type will be the model to have.
An eight-speed automatic that’s so good you won’t complain about the lack of a manual transmission backs all three engines. Jaguar calls the transmission “Quickshift” and the term is accurate. There is a console-mounted SportShift selector and steering wheel paddle shifters. The transmission has a very sophisticated adaptive shift program with 25 different strategies depending on driving style and road conditions.
The engine and exhaust sounds are a symphony to any gearhead’s ears. Both S models have Active Exhaust. The system has electronically controlled bypass valves that open under hard acceleration. If you share our adolescent hot rodder tendencies you’ll want to activate the Active Exhaust frequently, but you can just as easily cruise in relative peace.
Behind The Wheel: This is where the thrill ride begins. It’s open-air fun for two people and very little else. People who can afford a Jaguar F-Type have other vehicles for mundane transportation chores.
The F-Type is loaded with state-of-the-art technologies that maximize handling and braking. The car is so smart that it will make you a far better driver than you’d be in a lesser vehicle. We drove V-6 and V-8 models at The Ridge Motorsports Park. A professional driver tutored us first, but we couldn’t come close to matching his lap times. Our nerve limiter stopped way before the Jaguar’s limits.
As exciting as the racetrack experience was (it impressively demonstrated how thoroughly engineered the F-Type is) the real fun was blasting through the twisty roads around Mount Rainier. We also spent time in the mountains of Oregon on another occasion. The F-Types shines in both venues.
Speaking of shining-when the sun shines the power canvas top can be folded on the move at speeds up to 30 mph. The top retracts in a mere 12 seconds.
Whines: A lack of trunk space is to be expected in a convertible sports car, but a little more room (7.1 cubic feet is not suited for people prone to frequent wardrobe changes) would make extended road trips more enjoyable.
Bottom Line: The 2014 Jaguar F-Type is a fantastic sports car worthy of the company’s legendary letter series predecessors. The F-Type isn’t practical, but if it fits your financial future it’s fun that shouldn’t be missed.