‘Jaguar was once known for brilliant two-seat roadsters like the epic E-Type. They are again thanks to the F-TYPE S, a leaper for all seasons,’ blogs Dan Scanlan.
Called one of the 100 most beautiful cars in the world, the E-Type’s grace was matched by the pace of its 3.8-liter inline six with 265 horsepower. Later it received a V-12. But when the last version of the bullet-shaped roadster once called “the greatest crumpet-catcher known to man” was laid to rest in 1975 that was the last great Jaguar sports cars.
The new F-TYPE comes in supercharged 3-liter V-6 versions with 340 or 380 horsepower, and the 495 horsepower 5-liter supercharged V-8. Ours was the middle model, aimed right at the 350-horsepower Porsche 911 Cabriolet. Our 2,700-mile-old roadster emitted a rising snarl as it accelerated toward 60-mph in 4.3 seconds in full Dynamic transmission setting to make shifts more aggressive with higher shift points. Launch control is simplicity – left-foot brake while nailing the throttle, and when the trip computer screen flashes “Dynamic Launch,” releases brakes and go! That gave us a bit of controlled wheelspin at launch to 60 mph in 4 seconds as we paddle-shifted at 6,000 rpm, and 100-mph in 12 seconds. In “Sport,” the throttle is blipped automatically to match engine revs for very rapid downshifts. In a curve, the transmission holds it so we were in the right gear for the exit.
There’s a forged aluminum double wishbone suspension up front and multilink in back with a sports suspension system and adaptive damping that assesses body motion, roll and pitch rates 100 times per second and adjusts accordingly. The Dynamic option, a first for a Jaguar, lets the driver select the firmest steering feel weight and suspension as well as the sharpest throttle response. The result was a firm suspension in normal, and a really firm setup in Dynamic. We felt every pavement break, but it wasn’t brutal, even at full firm. The well-designed convertible body offered no squeaks/flexing other than some driver’s seat leather creaking.
Not just another pretty face! Here is a snarling cat’s face on its grille and a leaping cat on its streamlined tail, with lightweight aluminum body above and architecture underneath. And while the face may have a bit of current XJ sedan, there are some E-Type cues.
The wide mouth grille with gloss black bumper dead center hints at the chrome bar on the E-Type snout. Slim tapered headlights also echo the classic, but with white LED accents down each side. Underneath, twin vertical vents, then a slim lower center air intake over an air dam with small side winglets. A classic slim power dome runs up the bonnet’s centerline, a true clamshell with vents that reveal “SUPERCHARGED” legend on the engine cover.
telescope had the usual buttons for stereo, telephone, cruise and trip computer – but oddly
no voice command for stereo and navigation. Polished alloy pedals live in the foot well,
where I would have loved another inch of legroom.
Don’t look for a manual gearbox – that’s a BMW-style electronic toggle with eight forward speeds, reverse, and sport setting. There’s a button for active exhaust, an “ECO” switch to engage engine start/stop for gas savings, and another to pop up the spoiler.
Unfortunately we picked up a couple of electrical gremlins – the navigation screen refused to light up twice and the driver’s window would close, and then open. The power top folds flat in 12 seconds up to 30-mph and is beautifully finished inside. We found the seating position with door tops at shoulder height a bit low. But thanks to the laid-back windshield and mesh wind-blocker clipped between the rear roll bars, lots of typical wind noise at 70-mph was blocked out.
A base 340 horsepower Jaguar F-TYPE starts at $69,000, while the 495 horsepower R version starts at $92,000. Our mid-spec S started at $81,000 with standard leather, active exhaust, bigger brakes, 380-watt Meridian stereo, navigation and alarm. Options including Performance Pack S with the high-back performance seats, configurable Dynamic mode, bigger brakes with red calipers, active exhaust and flat-bottom steering wheel brought the total MSRP to $100,538.
For more information about the latest luxury-performance vehicles from Jaguar, please visit http://www.jaguarusa.com/all-models/all-models/index.html