The 2014 F-TYPE is an all-new, two-seat, Jaguar sports car. It represents the company’s return to the full-size sports car segment, focusing on performance, agility and driver involvement.
C comes before D, which in turn precedes E. It’s basic preschool stuff, but it’s also a primer on Jaguar’s racing and sports cars of the 1950s and ’60s. The legendary C-, D-, and E-types of that period appeared to be drawing a clear line to a direct successor—an F-type—but the larger, GT-ier XJS became the follow-up.
It’s not as if Jaguar hasn’t flirted with building another small sports car, and rumors started swirling almost immediately following the E-type’s demise in 1974. An F-type concept appeared at the 2000 Detroit show before a mid-engined take on the car was confirmed for a 2004 arrival. (That never happened, by the way.) Then, in 2011, Jag dropped the stunning C-X16 concept onto its Frankfurt show stand, finally signaling that it was serious about bringing a Boxster/Cayman-fighter to market. The production F-type was announced this past April.
Super Is the Only Way to Charge
Featuring V-6 and V-8 power, the F-type debuts first as a roadster, but a coupe will soon follow. (Jaguar’s new turbo four-cylinder—essentially a Ford EcoBoost unit—doesn’t make the U.S. options sheet.) Both engines are supercharged, and the six is available in two strengths. The base F-type has 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque; the F-type S boasts 380 hp and 339 lb-ft. The top model is the V-8 S, which packs 495 hp and 460 lb-ft in its eight-pot ammo box.
The V-6 is new—it’s derived from the V-8—and the standard output is identical to that of the six-cylinder 2013 XF and XJ sedans. Both S models feature tunes unique to the F-type achieved via changes in supercharger boost. (The V-8 is the same basic piece found throughout the Jag lineup.) Jaguar has pegged 0-to-60 times for the three models at 5.1, 4.8, and 4.2 seconds—the company typically is conservative in its estimates—and the electronically limited top speed rises from 161 mph to 171 and 186. The S models feature launch control, an active exhaust system is optional on the base car and standard on the others, and all engines have a stop-start system.
At launch, every F-type will shuttle its power to the rear wheels via a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission that has been programmed to prioritize acceleration. The car will cut fuel during upshifts to ensure quick gearchanges, lock the gearbox to bypass the torque converter after second gear, and blip the throttle on downshifts. Gearswaps can be controlled via steering-wheel-mounted paddles or the shifter. Jaguar skipped its rotary gear selector in favor of a traditional lever in the interest of driver involvement. Before you scoff, we have been told that a traditional manual transmission is on the way to offer actual driver involvement.
The future could bring a hybrid powertrain—the C-X16 featured a gas-electric setup—and/or all-wheel drive. We mention these two items because we asked about them and were told that the car has been engineered for many possibilities. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a particular feature will make it to production, only that Jag has thought ahead; business cases must be made, of course. Size-wise, the F-type is 3.8 inches longer than the Porsche Boxster and 0.8 inch shorter than the 911 while being at least 4.5 inches wider than either. The 103.2-inch wheelbase is 6.7 inches longer than that of the 911.