Jaguar's sporting heritage is one of the most illustrious and most enviable of all automakers, and the Coventry-based company has built some of the most iconic sports cars of all time. But it's not since the 1970s that we've seen a genuine sports car come from Jaguar, and they've been banking on that sporting heritage for far too long. The XK8 of the 1990s and the modern XK have looked the part, and certain high-performance versions of them have gone like stink, but for quite some time now the world has deserved a genuine sporting Jaguar (the super-expensive XJ220 not included). For 2014, the prayers of enthusiasts everywhere have been answered. The F-Type is here.
Right at first glance, the new car is painfully pretty, just as you'd expect from a Jag. But even though it does have a classic shape and profile, it's not a shameless retro copy of an old E-Type. This car has its own character. On the inside, it has the modern but restrained layout that is characterizing Jaguar interiors these days. For example, there are large, simple analog gauges instead of digital readouts but at the same time there is no classic wood trim to be found anywhere.Â
Nobody should be surprised at the F-Type's fantastic looks. The question is whether or not this long-awaited car has go to match its show. The F-Type comes in V6, V6 S and V8 S packages. The standard car has a 3.0 supercharged liter V-6 that makes 340 horsepower and 332 lb/ft of torque. This will get it to sixty in a little over five seconds and bring it to a top speed of around 160 miles per hour. Not bad for the base model. One step up from the $69,000 V6 is the $81,000 V6S, which has bigger brakes, bigger wheels, and a limited slip. Horsepower is 380 and torque is 339 lb/ft., which is enough to give it another ten miles per hour over the standard car. At the very top of the range is the V8 S, with its 5.0 liter supercharged motor that makes 495 horsepower and 460 lb/ft of torque. Zero to sixty and top speed are reportedly 4.2 seconds and 185 miles per hour, respectively.Â
The F-Type is a relatively heavy car at 3,500 to 3,600 pounds, but the extra power and the stunning looks make it a prime competitor for cars like the Porsche Boxster, and people eager enough to see a sporty Jag will find it a tempting alternative. The only problem is the question of whether or not it's sporty enough. An unfortunate but not exactly surprising reality is the fact that it only comes with an eight-speed automatic (with paddle shifters) and the interior seems a lot more refined than is necessary for a genuine sports car. Perhaps a more raw "R" variant will come along in the future, but for now these three choices will have to do.