It occupies a place the XK and XJS models desperately tried to recapture, but never did.
F-Type is made from Aluminium. The body sits low on 19” alloys with a tail the sweeps up gracefully to meet LED tail lights carved into slits. Staring at the rear wheel, the ribbons of light run along the side and across the rear, bathing each corner in an eye-catching light show.
E Type’s hatch design has been recreated in the F-Type with a 21st century power-operated twist. It has an elegant swoop towards a rear end where a spoiler electrically deploys at 100kph. Like the door handles, the spoiler sits flush with the bodywork until needed.
Door handles house a discrete ($1,200) keyless entry button. When it senses a key nearby, it flicks the trailing edge of the handle outwards to be easily grabbed. At speed, or when the F-Type is locked, they sit flush, waiting to be called upon once again.
E Type’s iconic grill and headlights have been reimagined for the F-Type. LED headlights are standard on the R Dynamic. The muscular bulging bonnet gives the front end a 007 look. At any moment you expect a rocket launcher to pop up, and lasers to shoot from the DTRLs.
Remember, Jaguar cars have been used in bond films for decades. That’s the kind of street cred most of us would never admit to loving the hell out of, but secretly, we adore it. Who doesn’t want to don a tux, then drive to a casino in Monte to down a vodka martini in a single gulp?
The bijou cabin has just enough space for a driver and a friend, and a bottle of champers.
It has a completely different feel to other Jags and Rangies. The ambience is more premium racer than luxury cruiser, and this is not by accident. F-Type is Jaguar’s sports car. It is not a GT car, there simply is not the space for luggage for a long road trip, even though a bespoke 5 piece set is available. With the luggage in the boot, there is no room for a spare.
The 310L boot gains another 98L if you ditch the luggage cover. Almost all of the boot is taken up with a space-saver spare tyre if you choose that factory option. If you do have a flat, the tyre you take off won’t fit back in. I suggest you leave it at home and call the auto club if you get into strife. Have a G and T while you wait.
Driver instruments are old-school dials with an LCD between them.
There are 3 memory positions for the power adjusted steering wheel, power heated/cooled seats, and power mirrors. Seat controls are on the door rather than the seat itself, and look much cooler where they are easily seen.
Our centre console had a carbon fibre make over, with buttery-soft Windsor leather for the seats. The option pack also covers doors, dash, and console with the same buttery glory. It feels like being inside a full-length Dior glove. Carbon fibre on the console and dash looks cool, but why bother?
DAB costing an extra $640 sounded great when it worked but the stations frequently had no reception. Touch Pro infotainment includes an 8” touch screen which looks spookily like the old Ford SYNC II system. It responds fairly quickly but the ( $1,060) reversing camera needs tweaking. It was more like a series of still pictures rather than a continuous movie display.
Like the sexy Range Rover Velar we tested last week, Bluetooth music streaming was buggy. It refused to operate from the screen. You are not allowed to operate from your phone while on the move so until the car’s software is “flashed”, the system is useless. USB operation is unaffected, so you’re not totally transported back to the stone age.
Jaguar upgraded our car from the standard Meridian sound, to even better ($7,260) Meridian sound. I’m not sure my ears could pick the difference from the excellent standard system so it was wasted on me.
Jaguar has managed a couple of cup holders and a few other neat cubby holes for your stuff. There is no handle overhead, so the passenger has a Jesus-grip built in to the centre console.
The $2,110 glass roof comes with a manual shade. Like most fixed glass roofs, it adds weight and raises the centre of gravity. If it doesn’t open, I can’t see the point. In the bin with it.
Buttons, switches, and knobs don’t have quite the same look and feel as the posher Jags. It’s not bad, just different.
Many of the coolest features we’ve talked about are at-cost options as listed below.
- 8-Speed Automatic Transmission
- Dynamic Mode
- Rear Wheel Drive (RWD)
- Intelligent Start/Stop
- Adaptive Dynamics
- Limited slip differential with Torque Vectoring by Braking
- Gearshift paddles
- Rain, Ice, Snow mode
- 19″ 7 Split-Spoke ‘Style 7013’ Silver Alloy Wheels
- Infrared reflective windscreen
- Rain sensing windscreen wipers
- Heated door mirrors
- LED tail lights
- Electrically adjustable steering column
- Cruise Control and Speed Limiter
- 5″ display with instrument panel
- 8″ Touchscreen
- Navigation Pro system
- Meridian Sound System
It would be a mistake to suppose the feisty four-pot might not be as nippy as its V6 and V8 siblings. The 4-cylinder 2.0L Ingenium engine is “the most efficient and advanced engine ever found in an F-Type”, says Jaguar.
A raspy exhaust note is enhanced in sports Dynamic mode (or by using the bi-modal button). It cackles manically as you back off, and chirps between gears in manual mode. The 8-speed feels like a double clutch gearbox if sports mode, dynamic mode, and manual shift mode are used together. It is as near to a sequential box as you’ll get without donning full leathers and a helmet.
Ride is firm, and in dynamic drive mode is even firmer. However, it was surprisingly supple over the hideous road surfaces around Wisemans Ferry.
Twists and turns were dispatched with the alacrity of a bobcat. We encountered deep ruts while cornering friskily which caused a little bounce. Double wishbone suspension front and back kept the F-Type glued to the bitumen, and the electric power steering simulated road feel beautifully. I could almost imagine the old-time feel of hydraulics.
City driving was rewarding, but country roads were a pleasure the likes of which your mother smacked you on the bum for even wishing for.
You’re completely enveloped by the experience. You’re not sitting in a car, driving it. You’re attached to a machine that is part of you, or more correctly, you’re part of it. You feel directly connected to the road with the car acting as a rocket-powered exoskeleton.
You can easily flick between modes, knocking the auto in and out of sports mode.
As you climb out of the ravines onto a straight ribbon of black, the spoiler raises rises like a cobra from the rear decklid. It looks as sexy as hell but blocks even more of the already limited rear view. I don’t care. I’d rather look cool, and if you get really annoyed by it you can use the button to lower it again manually.
Sadly, AWD fun can only be had in the V6 and V8 models. The 2.0 makes do with good old fashioned rear wheel propulsion.
Active lane and blind spot guidance make you feel safe, because you are.
- 6 airbags (4 in convertible)
- Jaguar Smart Key System with Keyless start
- Emergency Brake Assist
- Rear parking aid
- Pedestrian Contact Sensing
- Valet Mode – Lockable Trunk & Glove Box
- Stunning looks
- Balanced ride and handling (for a sports car)
- Tasty cabin
Not So Good Bits
- Slightly twitchy on very rough surfaces
- No Ppple CarPlay
- Glitchy DAB and Bluetooth streaming
Beautiful from every angle with a visceral driving experience, the all aluminium Jaguar F-Type rewards its driver way the beyond expectation created by its princely RRP.
You get looks and comments. It drives the way it looks.
Facts and Figures: Jaguar F-Type 2.0L R Dynamic
- Engine: 2.0 litre 4 cylinder, twin scroll turbo, 221kw/400Nm
- Transmission: 8 speed quickshift auto
- Warranty: 3yrs/100,000km
- Safety: Not yet tested
- Origin: United Kingdom
- Price: from $114,812