Designed as a smaller, sportier and less-expensive offering than the Jaguar XK grand tourer, the F-Type is 3.8 inches longer than Porsche's Boxster but 0.8 inches shorter than the 911. The platform and much of the body are made of aluminum, helping to keep weight in the 3500-3700 pound range depending on model.
Styled under the watch of Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum, whose previous credits include the Aston Martin DB7 and Vanquish, the F-Type features an athletic stance and an oversized front grille that leans forward slightly to convey a sense of motion even when the car is stationary.
Aside from aggressive front air intakes and a set of de rigueur side vents, the F-Type's sheetmetal is clean and simple, with the visual highlights being two "heartlines" that define the front fenders and the muscular rear haunches. Hidden in the rear deck is a spoiler that automatically rises at 60 mph to improve high-speed stability.
The F-Type is offered in four different models, each with an engine of its own.
The entry-level F-Type uses a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission come standard, and eight-speed automatic is offered at an extra cost.
The F-Type S uses a 380 horsepower, 339 lb-ft of torque version of the standard car's engine. It shifts through either a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive comes standard, and the automatic model is offered with all-wheel drive.
The F-Type R gets a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 that churns out 495 ponies along with 460 lb-ft of twist. It's only offered with all-wheel drive and the automatic transmission.
Finally, the F-Type SVR occupies the top spot in the hierarchy with a 575-horsepower version of the supercharged V8. It's also exclusively available with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic.
The base F-Type hits 60 mph from a stop in 5.5 seconds. The range-topping SVR performs the same task in 3.5 seconds.
To help provide an auditory experience that's appropriate to both spirited driving and relaxed cruising, the F-Type features an Active Exhaust system. Standard on the S and V8 S and optional on the base model, it features electronically controlled bypass valves in the rear section of the exhaust that open under hard acceleration, effectively providing a free-flowing straight-through arrangement. On the highway, the valves close to bring the volume down to a suitably moderate level.
F-Type S models feature a mechanical limited-slip differential, while the V8 S uses an electronic diff with a multi-plate clutch to transfer torque to whichever rear wheel has the most traction. Each of the three variants gets a unique brake setup: the "base model" employs 13.9-inch front discs and 12.8-inch rears, the S is fitted with 15-inch front discs while the V8 S boasts 15-inch front and 14.8-inch rear units.
The cabin is defined by a steeply raked dashboard and a grab handle that sweeps down the center console to separate the interior into distinct driver and passenger areas (Jaguar actually refers to the car as a 1+1). A flat-bottom steering wheel, sports seats and simple controls emphasize that the F-Type is fundamentally a driver's car, while hidden central air vents provide a bit of theater by rising up out of the dash when needed.
The softop is a power-operated unit that can be raised or lowered in just 12 seconds at speeds of up to 30 mph. It features Thinsulate for improved thermal and auditory insulation.
Standard and Optional Features
The standard F-Type comes with leather and Suedecloth sports seats with partial electronic adjustment, a 10-speaker, 380-watt Meridian sound system, Bluetooth connectivity (including audio streaming) and 18-inch "Vela" wheels.
Aside from its more powerful engine and other performance-related goodies, the F-Type S adds a proximity key, configurable interior ambient lighting, 19-inch "Propeller" wheels and power folding, heated exterior mirrors with integrated LED turn signals and puddle lamps.
The R brings fully power-adjustable sports seats, full leather upholstery, rear parking sensors with touchscreen visual aids, dual-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming exterior mirrors and 20-inch "Cyclone" wheels.
Finally, the R benefits from a specific body kit, 20-inch wheels, a titanium exhaust, chassis and cooling enhancements, and Suede upholstery in the cabin.
A Carbon Ceramic Matrix braking system that adds beefier rotors on all four corners is available as an option. Buyers can also order InControl Apps, Jaguar - Land Rover's new smartphone integration software designed to work seamlessly with both Apple and Android devices. Passengers can access the bulk of their phone's features on the touch screen and use additional purpose-designed apps to book a hotel room, get parking information, check traffic and make conference calls.
The F-tupe comes standard with dual front and side airbags along with a rollover protection system and traction and stability control systems.
The F-Type can be compared to a wide variety of roadsters depending on engine selection. Six-cylinder F-Types can be cross-shopped against the Porsche Boxster S and Audi TTS Roadster, while the V8 model counts the Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet, the Chevrolet Corvette Convertible and the Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG as its rivals.