Jaguar kind of lost its way back in the 1990s and early 2000s, putting out cars that had the distinctive Jaguar profile but overall were rather pedestrian in nature and were always at least a half-step behind when it came to emerging technological features like in-car navigation.
Since the change of ownership with Tata Motors of India taking over Jaguar along with Land Rover from the auspices of Ford in 2008, however, the famed British marque has undergone a significant revival in product with its stunning XJ full-size sedan and XK coupe among the most scintillating vehicles on the market today.
The company also has come out with a new midsize sedan, the XE, for 2017 along with its first SUV-crossover, the F-Pace.
But the company’s shining moment came when it brought out the F-Type, a two-seat sports car first as a convertible for the 2014 model year and then last year as a coupe. It traces its roots back to one of the crown jewels in Jaguar’s history, the ground-breaking E-Type of the 1960s and early ’70s that Enzo Ferrari called the “most beautiful car ever made.”
The F-Type is more than a worthy successor. If not the “most beautiful car” on the road today, it is at least in contention for such an honor.
The F-Type has a bit more aggressive overall outer appearance with a bigger rear end and wider stance, but you can still see the family resemblance with the E-Type. Naturally, the F-Type has a lot more kick to it and is filled with modern-day technology. The 3.8-liter V6 in the E-Type produced 256 horsepower. The V6 in the base model F-Type produces nearly 100 more.
So if you like horsepower, you go with the F-Type. If you lean toward classic period styling, perhaps the E-Type is for you.
Interestingly, depending on what year E-Type you are looking for and its condition, the cost may be about the same as the F-Type. MSRP for the 2016 F-Type starts at $65,995 (including $995 destination and delivery) for the base coupe with a six-speed manual transmission and runs up to $104,595 for the F-Type R Coupe with an eight-speed shiftable automatic. Cconvertibles run roughly $3,000 more. Options like ceramic brakes and a carbon fiber roof ran the cost of the F-Type R Coupe that served as our test vehicle to $122,495.
Meanwhile, a 1967 E-Type Roadster recently sold for $107,800 last January at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale (Arizona) auction, and a 1966 E-Type Coupe for $62,000 at Mecum’s auction in Kissimmee, Florida, the same month.
The F-Type comes in three trims for both coupe and convertible versions with the base available with either a manual or automatic transmission. The S is offered with a choice of transmission and can be had in all-wheel-drive configuration as opposed to just rear-wheel.
The base and S models have a 3.0-liter, supercharged V6 power plant with the S tuned to put out 380 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque over the 340/332 in the base.
For those seeking the ultimate in performance, the top-of-the-line F-Type R comes with a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 that is rated at 550 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 502 pound-feet of torque ranging from 2500 to 5500 rpm, moving it from zero-to-60 mph in 3.9 seconds. It’s AWD only and drinks fuel at the rate of 15 miles-per-gallon city, 23 highway. (But you don’t really care about those latter numbers if this is your target vehicle anyway.)
While definitely a sports car with a typical firm ride that may be jarring for some, the F-Type doesn’t lack for interior luxury. Its cabin features lots of premium leather, 14-way adjustable power seats, Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, premium sound system, and keyless operation among standard features. Kind of a cool feature (pun intended): the center air vents rise from the center stack when the ignition is engaged, creating a futuristic aura.
Taller riders may wish the seats would go back farther, but there does seem to be plenty of headroom.
The most serious hangup comes in the operation of the technological features, including even the cruise control. It takes a lot of pushing the right buttons to get the desire speed set. When it comes to the 8-inch touchscreen display screen, changing radio stations or settings can be frustrating. The navigation, however, is much improved over earlier attempts.
Another cool feature: Set in dynamic mode, the R delivers an unbelievable exhaust note and driving experience (though it does cut down on in-car conversations).
What’s good about the F-Type R: The handling and throttle response is extremely pleasing. It’s just an impressive vehicle to drive.
What’s no-so good about the F-Type R: The technology is fussy, and storage space is limited.
For a look at the 2016 Jaguar F-Type R and more details, check out the accompanying slide show.