The 2017 Jaguar F-Type clips the sports-car apex, with extreme performance meets extremely good looks.
The Jaguar F-Type is a real sports car. Jaguar takes great pains to explain that because, for years, it had the bigger, plusher, 2+2 XK convertible and coupe in the lineup.
Grand tourers are great, but they don't compare well with cars like the 911 and Corvette—the cars Jaguar chases with its slinky two-seater.
New in 2014, the F-Type has seen lots of yearly changes in its four model years. First it was R variants, then the addition of all-wheel drive and a manual transmission. This year, the headline is the 575-hp SVR, the fastest Jag since the XJ220 supercar.
It all conspires to make a distinct, flavorful, awe-inspiring sports car with oodles of character.
We give the F-Type a rating of 8.4, well into the highest ranges of our scoring system. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Jaguar F-Type styling and performance
With the F-Type, Jaguar riffs on its own history, putting heritage cues on a shrink-wrapped body that may as well be wearing Dri-Fit clothes instead of aluminum body panels. It's contemporary but graced with details like half-circles in its taillights, just enough to connote the past. There also are Corvette and Maserati influences here and there, especially at the front end, but the F-Type's best angle is clearly from the rear. The haunches? Olympian.
The cockpit's an intense, focused environment with deep-set gauges and a grab handle for passengers that can take a hint. There's not a splinter of wood in the cabin, but the F-Type does tint its start button and paddle controls in athletic orange; red leather and carbon-fiber are on the can-have list. Wide-screen infotainment and big rotary climate controls round out the interior.
All grand-touring bias gets swept away as you climb the F-Type ladder, from standard supercharged V-6 to extraordinary supercharged V-8. The V-6s are 3.0-liter units, one tuned to 340 horsepower, another to 380-hp tune. The 0-60 mph estimates for these range from 5.1 seconds and 4.8 seconds, respectively, and top speeds are limited to 161 mph and 171 mph. It's a powerful piece with 5.5-second 0-60 mph times at hand, but it's a little gruff (not melodious) under acceleration. All-wheel drive is an option, and there's a manual for anyone not captivated by the F-Type's sweet-shifting 8-speed automatic.
The soundtrack gets positively Mustang-like in the V-8 F-Type. The big supercharged 5.0-liter turns in 550 hp in the F-Type R, and a 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds, as well as a rated top speed of 186 mph. An 8-speed automatic is the sole transmission, and all-wheel drive is mandatory—but adaptive dampers and shift paddles give the V-8 car a commanding presence, even if it's not as light or direct as the V-6 car. The adaptive suspension doesn't quite deliver the same precise control of a Corvette or a 718 Cayman, but it's close.
At the top of the range, there's a track specialist: the new SVR gets 575 hp, retuned suspension and steering, and lots of carbon-fiber trim and optional carbon-ceramic brakes. It's best sampled on a private road course.
F-Type comfort, safety, and features
The F-Type suffers for being a sportscar, but no more than its rivals. It has a tiny trunk and a snug but comfortable two-seat cabin, with firmer and more heavily bolstered sport seats as the power levels rise.
On roadsters, the convertible top is power-operated and folds in such a way that no tonneau cover is needed. It also lowers or rises into place in 12 seconds, at speeds of up to 30 mph. Both it and the coupe are happily quiet on the go, until you trigger their adrenaline-stirring levels of overrun.
The F-Type has no crash-test data to vouch for its safety, but it does offer a raft of technology, everything from blind-spot monitors to a rearview camera to adaptive cruise control.
Other luxury touches are on the table. All models come with the usual power features, a 770-watt audio system, power seats, leather, and on coupes, a panoramic sunroof. F-Type S models come with active exhaust and driver-configurable dynamics. All F-Types now come with Jaguar's new InControl smartphone connectivity and infotainment interface.
On top of that, Jaguar offers EliteCare, a standard package of warranty and maintenance coverage that outpoints all its major rivals.
Prices range from about $62,000 to more than $127,000. Fuel economy ratings range from 18 mpg combined to 23 mpg combined.