Vital Stats

Engine:
5.0L SC V8
Power:
488 HP / 460 LB-FT
Transmission:
8-Speed Auto
0-60 Time:
4.2 Seconds (est.)
Drivetrain:
Rear-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,671 LBS
Seating:
2
Cargo:
7.1 CU-FT
MPG:
NA
Shotgun In Coventry's First Sports Car In Decades



For every car, there is a passionate group of fans who love it, and the F-Type already has a few million rabid followers. These are fabulous things, sports cars, and we're very happy that Jaguar is making one again. Finally. (Before you start relishing the prospect of correcting us, the XK is really a grand tourer, not a sports car.)

The main question, however, will be whether someone in a position to buy a lifestyle-enhancing yet impractical F-Type will do so in the face of more established competitors from Porsche, Aston Martin, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW. The last time Jaguar built a true two-seater sports car (1974 E-Type; the last of the XJ220 limited run in 1994 doesn't count in this league), most of today's new buyers were too young or may not yet have been born. At any rate, the F-Type has a lot of work to do for the brand beyond just selling itself.

Jaguar inviting us to Wales for an early ride in both the 375-horsepower F-Type S and 488-hp V8 S can be interpreted in many ways. Perhaps they want our opinions, as they are now in the final phase of pre-production testing. Or maybe they wish to stretch out coverage by key media outlets instead of depending entirely on the first drive "big bang" that will happen shortly. It's a little of both, we'd guess. The inevitable comparison tests in early summer should be quite revealing, as well.
2014 Jaguar F-Type side view2014 Jaguar F-Type front view2014 Jaguar F-Type rear view

The hot, low-lying Jag is a properly quick sports car.

The hills of north-central Wales are where Jaguar frequently wrings out the ride and dynamics of its cars prior to public launch. These country two-lanes (and more frequently 1.5-lanes peaking right on the center line and with no shoulder) are exactly the sort of roads for which all British car brands engineer their sportier offerings. Rain squalls howl through regularly, temperatures vary from hour to hour, and the sun emerges from dark, low clouds as brightly as the reflection from a sheet of Mylar. It's all dramatic and blustery, like five acts of a Shakespeare play, and so the job of the British car is to handle it all so that there is never any loss of face. No quivering of the iconic stiff upper lip. The car can snort and holler as much as it pleases while dominating its environs, but in the end, we need a simple cup of tea or a preferred pint of ale consumed quietly to celebrate.

For our rides in both the S, with its supercharged V6, and the also supercharged V8 S, we were driven by the F-Type's vehicle engineering manager with the thrillingly fabulous name of Erol Mustafa. (We promised Jaguar we would exaggerate the wonder of his name.) From what we could tell riding shotgun, the hot, low-lying Jag is a properly quick sports car that can at the very least compete with, and perhaps even scare, the occasional Porsche 911.

Autoblog Short Cuts: 2013 Jaguar F-Type

We would crave a manual shifter and clutch pedal for enhancing our interface with the F-Type.

In most basic terms, the 3,558-pound, $81,875 F-Type S with 375 hp and 339 pound-feet of torque is thrilling in a different manner from the 3,671-pound, $92,875 V8 S and its 488 hp and 460 lb-ft. This happens a lot with such choices, such as the one between a base Boxster/Cayman or the S versions. The 3.0-liter F-Type S is more the traditional nimble sports car, and it utilizes more of its rev range while piping out a lovelier sound more readily than the V8 S. Meanwhile, the 5.0-liter V8 S (the white car featured in our photo gallery and Short Cut video) seeks longer straights between the curves in order to stretch its considerable legs and make more of its belligerent noise. Both engines benefit from a twin-scroll Eaton supercharger packing a punch but producing absolutely no whine.

In a setting like this Welsh one, we would honestly crave a manual shifter and clutch pedal for enhancing our interface with the F-Type. Well, at least they've left the recessed gearbox rheostat found in the rest of the brand's lineup out of the F-Type recipe. We can choose to manually shift the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission using either steering-wheel-mounted paddles or the shift lever when it's moved left from Drive into Sport. Fortunately, there are rumors being carried by the winds from Coventry that Jaguar intends to grace the F-Type with a manual transmission before too long.

2014 Jaguar F-Type interior2014 Jaguar F-Type paddle shifter2014 Jaguar F-Type gauges2014 Jaguar F-Type shifter

The two S models get this sport exhaust as part of the base price.

Happily, the ZF Quickshift sequential automatic eight-speed still performs extremely well whether upshifting or downshifting. Timings are nicely placed for each flick of the paddles, especially in Jaguar Drive Mode's Dynamic setting, where the little checkered flag icon lights up. It's easy, as well, to induce a nice raspy shift sound in between gears, like a well-traveled jazz vocalist's signature growl in a smoke-filled room. The two S models get this sport exhaust as part of the base price.

The base S trim also gets a self-locking mechanical limited-slip differential in back as standard kit, while the V8 S comes with an active electronic rear differential. With the roads as they were on this typically blustery West Country day, both cars – the S on standard 19-inch wheels and tires, the V8 S on a standard 20-inch set – performed smoothly while dancing over the scrubby hills whether the electronic stability control was engaged or switched off. The V8 S rear axle is noticeably quicker thinking and the power and torque delivery solid from low revs, so the throttle play is subtler stuff than with the S. It's simply two understandably separate driving styles and both are well executed. We're comfortable referring to both setups in the F-Type as true driver's cars and we're eager to see if future plans include a member of the F-Type clan hitting 3.5 seconds on acceleration dashes to 60 miles per hour. F-Type R, anyone?

2014 Jaguar F-Type headlight2014 Jaguar F-Type wheel2014 Jaguar F-Type rear wing2014 Jaguar F-Type tailpipes

Much of the whizbang gadgetry seen elsewhere in the Jaguar lineup is absent inside the F-Type.

The tracks front and rear are wider than on a Porsche 911, and the steering has been left up to trusted hydraulics (huzzah!). We have the feeling we'll really enjoy the steering, too, once given the chance to drive an F-Type for ourselves in a couple of months. With either engine located mostly arrears of the front axle and a more rigid suspension than any other recent Jag, turn-in can nearly be called kart-like, though a Leaping Cat is always more civil than that. The standard adaptive suspension on S models is supplied by Bilstein, and we enjoyed the authority with which it negotiated these demanding roads. Most of the all-aluminum body-in-white is derived directly from the XK lineup, but torsional stiffness is up by 8 percent and lateral stiffness up 30 percent.

We enjoyed the ambiance inside the F-Type, especially because much of the whizbang gadgetry seen elsewhere in the Jaguar lineup is absent here. We like the cleanliness of the cabin design, and the Jaguar onboard interface is equally clean and simple to interact with. Our seats in both test cars were the optional XKR-S performance seats with adjustable support wherever you need it, which we've always enjoyed as they hold one firmly in place laterally.

2014 Jaguar F-Type rear 3/4 view

The fixed-roof version comes for the 2014 model year.

The F-Type launching as a convertible – the fixed-roof version comes for the 2014 model year – makes sense for several of Jaguar's key markets, China excepted. The simple, fully automated cloth top uses 12 seconds to open or close and is a lighter-weight roof system than a folding hardtop would be. When up, it doesn't quite make you feel as though you're in a coupe. Roof stowed, the F-Type cockpit is pretty well isolated when it comes to wind noise at interstate speeds, though it could always do a bit better in this regard.

It's good that the base 2014 Jaguar F-Type with a 335-hp V6 will start at $69,000, because the pricing of the two S models we sat in this day in Wales frankly worries us. The explanation from Jaguar for pegging its prices nearly spot-on with the iconic Porsche 911 is that there is far more standard equipment on these cars than Porsche's obsession with profits from options would ever allow.

Here's hoping true shoppers for this heady bracket care to keep these practical things in mind and manage to see the real beauty of this new Jaguar F-Type.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 114 Comments
      Matthew Miles
      • 1 Year Ago
      "It's all dramatic and blustery, like five acts of a Shakespeare play, and so the job of the British car is to handle it all so that there is never any loss of face. No quivering of the iconic stiff upper lip. The car can snort and holler as much as it pleases while dominating its environs, but in the end, we need a simple cup of tea or a preferred pint of ale consumed quietly to celebrate" Not a bad piece of writing for a car blog, I'd say.
      Carguy
      • 1 Year Ago
      I do think this car competes against a broad range of cars from the Boxster/Z4 price range to Porsche 911/Mercedes SL shopper. Outside of the hard core track day buyer - no one really needs a two seat roadster so when they decide to make a purchase like this its an unnecessary emotional purchase and I have helped people who have said they have budget from $60-120K and they are brand agnostic and they just want a cool looking fun car.
      M-M
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm not sure why everyone is comparing this to the Vette. Very different cars for very different people. ohh and thank you Jag for keeping buttons and knobs on the center console for climate control and other common functions! I like the Porsche like sport seats as well.
      libertedelacroix
      • 1 Year Ago
      As a die-hard Audi fanboy, even I must admit I would take this over an R8
      likeaboss1234boss
      • 1 Year Ago
      this car is beautiful if i had the money i would buy one tomorrow. one of the sexiest rear ends on a production car today.
        Lachmund
        • 1 Year Ago
        @likeaboss1234boss
        i agree...the rear is simply amazingly looking. i like the V6 even more with the 2 centered exhaust pipes
      ZenDriver
      • 1 Year Ago
      Great strategy to introduce this F-Type platform. Worldwide sales of this convertible roadster to the new wealth in emerging markets in Asia, Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and the Middle East will lay down a solid foundation for the introduction of the fixed head coupe, and then the manual transmission model which well sell to a more niche demographic like myself and my fellow Jaguar sportscar enthusiasts. This should allow for a low-volume, lightweight, F-Type R model designed with track use in mind, as well as incremental improvements along the way. Like maybe moving those seat controls to the seats. I'm looking forward to this.
      Lachmund
      • 1 Year Ago
      definately my new dream car...as a lighter V6 would be the perfect big brother for my miata... ...ok, at least i can dream :)
      brighton_corgi
      • 1 Year Ago
      Can\'t wait for the manual version, could be my next Jag!
      onewayroll
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not sure why people think it's a Caymn/Z4 competitor, the engine options alone should be proof enough that it's running after the 911 crowd. Hopefully when the hardtop comes the price should be a little less.
      Classic_Engr
      • 1 Year Ago
      Just beautiful. I'd love to see this in BRG or black. I'd wager that the FHC with a manual will weigh around 200lbs less, don't you think? If I find one parked in my garage next to my current Jaguar saloon in 2015, then I'll know I did things right.
      waetherman
      • 1 Year Ago
      In my mind, this is going squarely up against the Stingray (or maybe it's the other-way around). For the price and the performance, I don't think there are any two cars that are more evenly matched.
        Matthew Davis
        • 1 Year Ago
        @waetherman
        waetherman - We're all entitled to our own comparisons, but the C7 Stingray and F-Type are not really at all in the same ballpark according to either company business case.
        joejoe509
        • 1 Year Ago
        @waetherman
        This thing is no where near the Stingray. Price-wise we're talking ZR1 territory and the ZR1 would stomp on it. But even then, I don't think the world compares the two in any way. This directly competes with other European sports cars in the same price bracket.
      F_Monk
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've always been a Jag admirer, and sincerely hope this is the real deal. So often, after such a build up of hype, the actual tests begin and the car is found wanting. There's always something. The last highly anticipated brand new, built from scratch/not a new version of an existing model vehicle I can think of that didn't disappoint is the 86/FR-S/BRZ.
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