Jaguar F-Type (2014 - present): Review, Problems, Specs

The F-Type is the sports car fans were hoping Jaguar would make. With through its engine choices, the way it looks and its driving characteristics, it genuinely harkens back to the glory days of the classic E-Type.

The look is undeniably Jaguar and if you opt for any of the six-cylinder cars you will be rewarded with an eerily E-Type-like engine note that is intoxicatingly good; it’s a raw, macho sound that dominates the experience.

You can opt for a V8 variant, if you’re so inclined, but that will add weight over the front axle and make the car less responsive. As you’d expect from a Jag V8, the soundtrack provided by the 5.0-liter supercharged unit is just as pornographic as the six-pot — choosing between the two styles of engine will be the biggest decision you’ll have to make when buying one.

That and also choosing if you want a stiff, focused coupé or a drop-top to pootle about in on sunny days.


Pros & Cons
Strong Points

Pros


Strong Points
  • Stunning design
  • Characterful, great-sounding engines
  • The manual gearbox option
  • Much-improved cabin quality over XK

Recommended Versions
Strong Points

Cons


Weak Points
  • High price
  • Top-spec R version only available as AWD in US

Stay Away From
  • -
Strong Points

Attention


Known Problems & Recalls
  • December 2014 recall of over 7,000 examples due to electrical fault (seatbelt sensor)
  • December 2014 recall of 272 cars to replace engine accessory belt, address possible issue with battery cable
Car Details
Powertrain

The engine you choose defines the experience you get. Either of the V6s, be it the 340 hp base car or the 380 hp S model, will bring back memories of the old E-Type through the highly evocative (deliberately engineered) exhaust note.

The 550 hp supercharged V8 is certainly a valid way to go, but it will turn your sporty GT car into more of a muscle car. Moreover, for US buyers it’s even more pronounced of a change as it can’t be had without all-wheel drive; you can still get a rear-wheel drive V8 R in Europe and other markets.

All-wheel drive is optionally available on the 380 hp S version too.

Two transmission choices are available: a very smooth eight-speed automatic and a six-speed manual (that was added a year after the car’s official debut).

Also worth noting is the choice of differentials; the base V6 has an open diff, the S gets a mechanical limited-slip one, while the top V8 R gains an electronically controlled LSD (as well as standard torque vectoring).


Handling

Finesse is not the first term brought to your mind after taking an F-Type on a twisty road blast, but it does have precise steering and excellent grip (that you can progressively take away with the throttle).

You’d probably have to take it to a trackday to fully explore its pleasantly progressive oversteer, though, as it needs room to play (and a gravel trap for when your talent runs out).

Keep all electronic aids enabled, and you’ll see yourself making swift progress regardless of which version you choose.


Safety

The F-Type comes with what Jaguar calls InControl Secure, which will beam back its location to the user if the car is moved without his or her knowledge.

Aside from this more unusual feature, it comes with four airbags, standard traction and stability control, blind spot monitoring system, a reversing camera with cross-traffic alert system, and intelligent high beams.

Convertible cars also feature mandatory pop-up rollover hoops.

Comfort

The automaker has managed to make all versions of the F-Type feel taught yet still comfortable, in true Jaguar fashion. Body roll is present through the corners, but it’s generally not excessive and it’s perfectly acceptable given the high level of comfort provided by the suspension.

Fitting the car with adaptive suspension will stiffen things up at the flick of a switch, though.

It can occasionally crash over larger ripples in the road or tram lines/train tracks, but it’s really only certain types of imperfections that unsettle it.

This is bolstered by the sculpted seats which offer a good blend of support and comfort.

Road noise is probably its main comfort-reducing gripe and you occasionally do hear the suspension as it does its bump soaking thing.


Quality

If your last contact with a sporty Jaguar coupé was the XK, then you will be really impressed with the interior quality of the F-Type. It also seems to fix the old XK’s slight issue with panel gap consistency and generally feels like a more solid car.

Material quality also sees a big step up, and it’s hard to find a surface inside the F-Type that is not pleasant to the touch. It definitely has a more crafted feel than before and there’s metal trim where on older Jags you would have expected to find plastic.


Practicality

The F-Type can be used to carry things, just as long as it’s the coupé version. The convertible’s trunk is awkwardly shaped and very shallow, whereas the coupé’s is far more usably shaped featuring a maximum load volume comparable to that of a compact hatchback.

It is therefore more practical than, say, a Porsche Cayman or Audi’s TT.

Cockpit practicality is pretty good too, with stowage spaces in the doors, in the armrest all complimenting the vast glovebox.


Infotainment

Jaguar improved the infotainment system quality one year after the F-Type went on sale. Now it’s the same system the automaker uses in its newer sedans and it works just as well as it does in those cars — the eight-inch touchscreen is good but can sometimes be plagued by laggy response.

As is common nowadays, the system can also be controlled via additional physical controls, in this case a rotary knob and some adjacent buttons.

Efficiency

The most frugal engine/transmission combination for the F-Type seems to be the 380 hp V6 hooked up to the eight-speed automatic. It’s officially quoted as being able to return 8.6 l/100km/27 mpg US on the combined cycle, and even if you won’t be able to match the figure, it should still be more bearable than the real-world economy of the V8.

Generally, the choice of the automatic transmission over the manual seems to shave as much as 15 percent off the consumption figures.


Equipment

Each F-Type comes generously equipped will everything you could possibly expect a modern sports car to have as standard: it gets parking sensors that work with the 8-inch infotainment system, digital radio, climate control (with an electrically-operated rising center nozzle), mood lighting, part-electric seats, electrically-adjustable steering wheel and a deployable rear spoiler.

Options include an upgraded Meridian sound system, red seatbelts instead of black, an active sports exhaust (a must-have for enthusiasts) and extend to making the roof out of carbon fiber or having the tailgate go up and down electrically.

You can mess around with the trim and material choices available for the interior, and chances are you’ll never spot two of these cars that are exactly the same.


Acquisition

The F-Type’s main selling points are its looks, its sound, its heritage and also Jaguar’s newfound quality boost that was actually started by the sexy two-door and later followed up with the XE and XF.

It’s also great to drive, has all the latest pieces safety and connectivity tech, plus it feels more substantial than Jaguars of old — it builds the prospect for a more reassuring ownership experience for past owners of German or Japanese sports cars of the same type.

It is a bit pricey to begin with, kicking off in the US at $65,000 in base 340 hp spec; the drop-top adds another $3,100 on top of that and also renders the trunk virtually unusable when the roof is retracted.

Options can also alarmingly ramp up the price, and you could end up spending well in excess of $100,000 for a top-spec V8 R with most of the boxes ticked.

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