The Jaguar F-Type hasn't altered its wetsuit-tight skin much at all since it was new in the 2014 model year. It's just about perfect to our eyes, especially in coupe form.
We give it a perfect score of 10, as much for its over-the-top shape as for its beautifully framed sports-car cockpit. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The F-Type has a stunning shape that's sure to age gracefully. It evokes hints of the classic E-Type while being completely original and thoroughly modern.
The tall front end wears a large, non-oval grille; LED accents sharpen the nose; round taillights give a bit of a vintage aesthetic. The lines along the side flow organically, the roofline of the coupe especially drawing streamlined, designed-by-nature themes for the eye. Wide haunches speak of power and capability.
Door handles? There aren’t any, at least not in the traditional sense. Instead they’re inset, and pop out only as they are prodded (or with the press of a button on the key fob).
The interior of the F-Type is clearly sports car-themed, with a functional feel belied only by the luxurious swathes of leather. You won’t find any wood here, however—another nod to the F-Type’s fully modern construction and intent. A passenger grab handle is formed into the center console, some major controls are highlighted in orange, and the mechanical bits are purposefully elevated and brought to the front, as they should be in a car that can turn in a 200-mph top speed.
A gorgeous two-seat sports car, the Jaguar F-Type looks great from nearly every angle.
Base, S, R, SVR: whichever form you choose, the F-Type is a riot to drive, with power to burn down its tires and slap a grin on its driver's face. It's an automotive tonic, though it's not the absolute best at handling and ride in its niche.
We give it a 10 for performance, exposing our inherent bias toward the supercharged V-8 monsters in the lineup, but saving some love for the still-powerful 6-cylinders. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Last year, the F-Type added a manual transmission and all-wheel drive to its platter. This year, the big news is the power-bumped F-Type SVR, the fastest production Jaguar ever, aside from the exceedingly rare XJ220 supercar from a generation ago.
For 2017, the F-Type engine lineup is familiar. Four variants are offered, including two takes on the V-6, and two extra-potent V-8. All engines in the F-Type coupe and convertible range are supercharged.
At the entry point, there’s the 340-horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, dubbed simply “F-Type.” Step up to the F-Type S and you’ll get a 380-hp version of the same engine. The V-6 models are capable of great acceleration, with 0-60 mph times of 5.5 seconds or less and a top speed of up to 171 mph. It's an older V-6 design, and the pleasant whine of the supercharger gets overwhelmed by coarser noises—but slow, it's not.
Opt for the F-Type R and you’ll get a 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 good for 550 hp. It's a muscular V-8 that wouldn't sound out of place in a Mustang, with buckets of overrun crackle, even before the optional sport exhaust system is fitted. Acceleration times drop to below four seconds, while top speed rises to 186 mph.
In the F-Type SVR, the V-8 gets dialed up to 575 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 mph times fall to 3.5 seconds, and top speed hits a 200-mph high, while the engine note gets even more raspy and raucous thanks to a titanium exhaust.
Most versions get a sweet-shifting, paddle-controlled 8-speed automatic, but a manual transmission can be ordered on V-6, rear-drive F-Types. It's fine, but it's a sign of the times that the automatic is not just better and faster at shifting, but that it also helps deliver better fuel economy. The computers are better here than the brains.
All-wheel drive is an option on the V-6, and standard on all V-8 F-Types. It's the best way to deliver that massive power to the ground, Jaguar says.
F-Type ride and handling
It's crafted from aluminum like the XK, but it's shorter, though still bigger than the Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman, its primary competition. At 3,500 pounds and up, the F-Type is heavier, too.
In the end, the aluminum is less about weight loss than weight balance. The F-Type's basic setup is quick and nimble enough, but it's in the higher-output V-6 and the V-8, with adaptive dampers, where it truly intrudes on established sports car turf.
In base form, the coupe handles better than the convertible—as you'd expect—thanks to a more rigid platform. Add in the adaptive dampers, and the convertible becomes a better option, but still the coupe outpaces the drop-top. Ride quality is a bit stiff, but not jarring, in any model.
It lacks the finer precision of a Boxster or Cayman until you opt into the track-able Coupe R—at which point the rorty, yaw-happy F-Type goes fully in on grip and responsiveness. We think it's more entertaining to drive than just about anything in its class, except the 718 Cayman S and possibly, the Corvette Stingray Z06.
Our favorite F-Type for the street would be the most practical one, the all-wheel-drive V-6 automatic. Scratch that: give us one of the slap-happy V-8s, set the exhaust to full boom, and you'll see why the F-Type Coupe R and convertible R are some of the best sports cars on the road today.
The SVR? It's a step too far for the street. For the price of entry, it gets a retuned suspension, wider wheels and tires, and some pumped-up fenders, with an option for carbon-ceramic brakes and other available carbon goodies (roof and interior pieces) for a weight savings of around 110 pounds. The SVR feels slightly less composed than the F-Type R when it's not on a track, and that's worth knowing when there's more than $125,000 on the table.
The trademark raucous Jaguar F-Type performance gets more intense with this year's new SVR edition.
Two intimate seats, no pretense of vestigial “rear seats,” and a premium on trunk space—the Jaguar F-Type makes no bones about its role as a sports car.
That's why we give it full faith and credit for the two seats it has, and its high level of finish—but nothing more. It earns a 7 on our scale for comfort, utility, and quality. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Taller F-Type occupants will find head room snug, and leg room is a bit short on the passenger side, but the seats are highly adjustable, and quite supportive and comfortable despite the sporty bolsters. Step higher in the trim walk to the R and SVR versions, and the seats get more confining, more grippy.
And that's what the F-Type does best. Especially in convertible form, there's not even really an attempt to be an everyday utility. It’s a weekender, and it’s proud of it. With just 7.3 cubic feet of space in the trunk of the convertible (a bit less than a Mazda MX-5 Miata) or 11.7 cubic feet in the coupe, you’ll have to pack lightly.
That’s not to say it’s not comfortable. It rides well, the cabin is quiet (in both hard- and soft-top guises), and materials are all high-end and well-finished.
There are cars in the F-Type's class that make a bigger gesture toward more passengers, but they're not much more than pump-fakes. The Porsche 911 offers up a pair of vestigial rear seats that no one will ever use. The Corvette Stingray? It has a lot of room under that rear hatch, but who ever uses it?
It's comfortable for two, and well-finished--but the Jaguar F-Type is a two-seater, after all.
The Jaguar F-Type has never been crash-tested, and it's highly unlikely the NHTSA or the IIHS ever will perform those tests. They rarely do on high-priced cars, especially low-volume sports cars.
We don't rate the F-Type for safety as a result. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Nevertheless, we can point out how the F-Type might help its drivers in the case of a collision. It’s a modern car designed with rigidity and crashworthiness in mind, and offers a strong set of basic safety equipment, including airbags, stability and traction control, and, for convertible models, rollover protection built into the structure.
Bluetooth and a rearview camera are standard, while Jaguar offers some safety technology as options in the form of blind-spot monitors; front and rear parking sensors; and active torque vectoring via the anti-lock braking system (available on some models).
No crash tests have been performed; the F-Type has lots of collision-avoidance tech on tap.
With its grand-touring aspects already evidenced in its size and performance, it’s no surprise that the F-Type’s cabin isn’t the minimalist, stripped-down environment of a pure sports car.
It's fully stocked with standard features and has a rich options list, with lots of choice in trims and colors—and it also comes with Jaguar EliteCare, which covers all maintenance for the first 5 years and 60,000 miles of driving.
For those reasons we give it a 9 for features. (Read more about how we rate cars.) Prices range from around $62,000 to about $127,000.
In the case of the F-Type's balance between svelte sports car minimalism and high-tech luxury, the balance tips to the side of comfort. Standard equipment on the F-Type Coupe includes power features, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity, 18-inch wheels, and cruise control. Satellite and HD radio are also included, as are navigation and a 770-watt Meridian sound system.
A power-operated soft top on convertible models opens and closes in about 12 seconds, at speeds up to 30 mph.
The base sport seats offer power back adjustment, but manual fore-aft adjustment; an upgrade to full power adjust, with lumbar and side bolster controls, is available. It's packaged with keyless ignition and automatic high beams in a Premium package.
The F-Type S adds adaptive dampers, 19-inch wheels, ambient lighting, driver-configurable Dynamic mode, and a limited-slip differential. The F-Type R gets 20-inch wheels, performance brakes, its own sport seats, and an electronic limited-slip rear differential with torque-vectoring—to which the SVR adds its own suspension tuning and wheels, another 25 hp via a retuned powertrain, and its own aerodynamic and cockpit details.
F-Type infotainment and trim
The InControl Touch system offers 3-D maps, smartphone app connectivity, surround sound audio, and remote engine start, as well as an 8.0-inch capacitive touchscreen display. The InControl app functionality includes both Apple and Android compatibility, via a USB connection, enabling app control through the car’s touchscreen. Remote services include automatic emergency services calls in the event of a crash, roadside assistance summoning in the event of a breakdown, and more.
In addition to these features, options packages include such features as adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, a rearview camera, keyless entry, heated seats, a premium leather interior, a choice of black or carbon fiber interior accent trim, and a red leather interior package.
The F-Type has a rich cabin with lots of trim choices, and a new infotainment system brings it up to speed.
The Jaguar F-Type can be efficient, if ordered in the right form. That'd be the V-6; opt into the V-8 and you'll see fingers wagging, and hear tisks of disapproval, from the Prius-driving planet-saving cognoscenti.
We give the F-Type a green score of 6, based on its EPA numbers. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The standard F-Type Convertible and Coupe both rate 20 mpg city, 28 highway, 23 combined when equipped with an automatic. With a manual, they're pegged at 16/24/19 mpg.
F-Type S sportscars with the automatic score 19/27/22 mpg, while manuals check in at 15/24/18 mpg. Opt for all-wheel drive and the F-Type S models downgrade slightly to 18/26/21 mpg.
The F-Type R line takes another step down the gas mileage hill, with the all-wheel drive convertible and coupe rating 15/23/18 mpg.
The V-6 F-Type gets reasonable gas mileage; the V-8 has much lower numbers.