Let’s make one point right away about the 2015 Jaguar F-Type. It is a beautiful car.
That’s not just my opinion. Everywhere I went people commented on the looks of the F-Type. Driving one is like dating a super model. Get used to lustful stares.
Of course, even dating a super model could get old if the beauty is only skin deep (OK, I’m just guessing here…). But the F-Type is beautiful outside, inside and under the hood. This super model has spectacular curves and wonderfully strong legs. This super model listens to you and cares about you.
OK, I better stop gushing. But you get the point.
Let’s talk about the part that gets all the attention. Jaguar did a spectacular job designing the F-Type. It’s not a tribute car with retro E-Type styling, but rather the evolution of that iconic car that Enzo Ferrari is said to have called the most beautiful in the world. There are styling cues taken from the E-Type, but this is a thoroughly modern car. The length is nearly identical to the Series 1 Jag, although the wheelbase is seven inches longer and the car is about 10 inches wider. That simply gives it a more stable platform. I love the way the body line tapers in the back. The original E-Type tapered down to the bumper line, the F-Type kicks that up a bit higher. The sides are rounded in a way that is very similar to the original E-Type. There’s even a pleasant bulge along the center of the hood as a reminder of the E-Type’s original style. The front is much meatier than the original and that’s OK. Styling tastes and aerodynamics have changed over the last 50 years. Honestly, there isn’t a darn thing I dislike about the looks of the F-Type.
Before I get to the engine, let’s continue the styling love fest. The interior is just as beautiful. My test car was black and red inside. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of red leather seats, but this car can sell it. They were wonderfully comfortable with all the usual adjustments plus side bolsters that could expand or contract to your shape. They were also slotted for racing belts. Even though you’re not likely ever to install them, it’s quite a fantasy to imagine what it would be like. The center console and display look great. I like the way they designed the passenger hand hold right beside the shifter. The three round knobs just underneath the display are a nice homage to earlier days, as are the flick switches directly underneath. I thoroughly enjoyed the vents that hide away when not in use. When you crank up the A/C, they come rising out of the dash like Darth Vader. All they need is theme music. It’s strictly a two-seater with no extra room inside, but it wasn’t cramped. I was also shocked to discover that it was one of the quietest cars I’ve tested. I take decibel readings for each car at the same speed on the same road. The F-Type won’t interfere with your conversations.
Of course what are looks without performance? The F-Type delivers again. I had the base model with a mere 340 horsepower. You can bump up to the S version and get 380 or make a massive leap to the R model and get 495 horsepower. While more horsepower is always fun, the base model won’t leave you with feelings of regret. It uses a Roots-type twin-vortex supercharger to create all that power. Like so many cars it gives you different power tuning options. Unlike a lot others, you can actually tell the difference in the F-Type. Choose the optional dynamic mode and not only do you change the engine, but you also change the exhaust. It has a beautiful throaty sound that just adds to the driving sensation. You also have the option of changing the exhaust note only. At one point my wife asked why anyone would do that. My only answer was “Why would someone not do that?” It’s like having that super model growl while nibbling your ear.
The engine is mated to a “QuickShift” ZF automatic eight speed transmission. There is no manual transmission offered, but the paddle shifters are plenty of fun for someone who wants to control the F-Type’s power. Incidentally, the S model also has a dynamic launch mode. I never got a chance to try it, but wouldn’t that be fun!
Fuel economy was an interesting story. It’s an impressive 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. My week with the Jag averaged nearly 25 mpg and I was never gentle on the throttle. You’re not likely buying it for mileage, but at least you won’t have to hang your head in shame.
The car handles wonderfully. The reality is that I, like most people, never made it out to the track. Nor did I take mountain roads like Fangio in the Mille Miglia. I drove it around town and every chance I got I powered through turns. It felt perfect every time. When you do pop over 70 miles per hour, the F-Type has a small spoiler that pops up to help with stability.
You’re probably asking yourself right now if there’s anything I didn’t like about the car. There a couple of minor bits that bothered me. I think the right rear has a pretty big blind spot. I’d love to see Jaguar put a lane change camera under the passenger side mirror. I think it would make a huge difference. My test car didn’t have a backup camera, and I think that is also critical for this car. The lamest thing on the car has to be the sun visor. Apparently they don’t see the sun much in England so the engineers decided the rest of the world doesn’t need to shield themselves. Not only is it not big enough to block the sun, it doesn’t swing to the side. Oh what a price to pay for such beauty!
Honestly, the only thing holding me back from buying an F-Type tomorrow is the price. It starts around $65,000 with my test car coming in $77,375 (of course that included $1500 for the switchable active exhaust which you must get!). On the other hand, it’s properly priced amongst competitors like the Corvette or the Lexus RC-F, and cheaper than a lot of exotic sports cars that aren’t nearly as good-looking. You have the option of buying the convertible. Normally, I’m a top down kind of guy, but this is one car that is so pretty as a coupe that I’d skip the drop top and save yourself some money at the same time.
If you can afford the entry price, the only real question left is whether you thing your ego can stand living in the shadow of a super model. I know I’d love to try.
By the way, check out Jaguar’s F-Type advertising campaign called “The Art of Villany”. It’s a riot.