2014 Jaguar F-Type

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Date Posted: August 21, 2013
By Zack Spencer

One of the most anticipated cars of the year is the all-new Jaguar F-Type

The Scoop

A lot has been written about this new F-Type and the heritage of Jaguar. Sure the classic E-Type was and still is a legendary car, one of the most beautiful designs ever made. But this new F-Type has nothing to do with the E in any way other than the progression of alphabetical naming. So much has changed over the past several decades at Jaguar from miserable quality in the 70s and 80s, to changes in ownership and design direction. Jaguar was vastly improved under Ford's ownership, cleaning up huge quality problems to the point that Jag is now above average in the latest JD Power and Associates Initial Quality Study. The company was sold a few years ago, along with Land Rover, to Tata of India, which has injected cash to overhaul their lineup of products with leading edge engineering and design. So the F-Type is a true 2014 model, modern and efficient with only a tip of the hat to the past.

The Skin

It is interesting to look at Jaguar's design metamorphosis over the past five years. Until the XF mid-sized luxury sedan was introduced, all their designs were trying to capture a long lost time, the 1960s, when Jaguar was a true force in automotive design and sales. By abandoning their rearward looking designs and coming up with fresh new approaches, they have transformed the brand into something that young and old would be happy to own. This new F-Type is a perfect example of this approach. You can see that it is a Jag from the oval front grille but the rest of the car could be something else. The long hood and short rear deck looks like a Maserati Spyder or other high-end brand. It is the small details that make this a Jag. The badge inside the grille is subtle, the headlights look modern, thanks to the inclusion of LED accents and the back of the car is framed by either a twin or quad set of exhaust pipes, depending on the engine chosen. In fact I think the back of this car is what makes it look most like a Jaguar, but a modern one.

The Cockpit

Jaguar calls the interior a 1+1 design, meaning it is a driver-orientated cockpit and the passenger gets to come along for the ride. The seats are supportive and the view, even with the roof up, is perfectly acceptable for a convertible. The three big knobs on the dash access the heat and A/C functions and the rest of the communications and entertainment functions are retrieved through the touchscreen in the centre console. I'm not a huge fan of their infotainment system, it feels a bit older than many other brands but at least the software has been updated to make it faster than previous versions. The console looks better in light colours; the black shows the cheaper looking plastic surfaces that surround the centre console and instrument pod. For a starting price of $76,900 the materials could be a bit better. Since we are on price, the next model up from the base is called S, with a starting price of $88,900 and the top V8 S is $100,900.

The Ride

The base model and S versions come with a supercharged 3.0L V6 engine with 340hp and 380hp respectively. I've had a chance to drive both and to be honest the base model is more than acceptable, it snaps your head back with ease and the size of this new F-Type is perfect for daily duty or a Sunday morning twisty run. The S V6 is livelier and you can notice the 40 additional HP but the price jump is big. I can't imagine what it would be like to drive the supercharged V8 model with 495hp that would be earthshattering. If you are someone that likes attention, this is the car for you, especially in this bright red/orange colour and the optional sports exhaust that burps and growl at every movement of the throttle, turning heads everywhere it goes. To be slightly more incognito, the driver can detune the exhaust with the switch of a button and raise the automatic roof in seconds at speeds up to 50km/h.

Verdict

Jaguar isn't going to flood the market with these cars, at least initially, unlike Porsche with the Boxster and 911. This is a car that will be sought after by someone wanting a prestigious brand but wants to have a lot of fun at the same time. The top of range 495hp model is cheaper than a Porsche 911 cabriolet and this car has more power. The less expensive models are good value when you compare this F-Type's power and ability head-to-head. This is a car that can backup its looks; very capable in the corners, power to spare and a great looking package that is hard to resist. I have two areas that I'd like to see improved. The centre console and other trim pieces don't look as rich as other Jaguar products and there is no manual transmission offered, just the shift-able 8-speed automatic. Yes, this is the way the industry is going but a manual 6-speed in my hands would make this car feel more connected. Until that time I'd be very happy with this V6 model. Do you really need it back Jaguar Canada?

The Good, The Bad

Good:

Looks hot, sounds hot. It is hot!

Bad:

Plastic interior trim pieces and no 6-speed manual.

The Lowdown

Power: 3.0L supercharged V6 with 340hp or 380hp. 5.0L Supercharged V8 with 495hp

Backup: 4-year/80,000km

Fill-up: 10.4L/7.1L/100km (city/highway)

Sticker price: $76,900-$100,900

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