If it feels like it's been decades since Jaguar fielded an entry into the sports car segment, that's because it has. The Jaguar XJS and the XK that followed it were grand touring cars that, while plenty quick, didn't offer the visceral road connection of a true sports car.
The 2014 Jaguar F-TYPE offers a clean slate for the British brand to once again cater to the sports car market that it once owned outright. The Jaguar F-Type might be a paean to days gone by in terms of its mission statement, but there is absolutely nothing retro about this roadster, allowing it to go toe-to-technological-toe with any other drop-top currently available from its Teutonic competitors.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2014 Jaguar F-Type.
01. The 2014 Jaguar F-Type Is All-New
The 2014 Jaguar F-Type might ride on a shorter version of the same platform that underpins the Jaguar XK, but that's where the similarities end. The Jaguar F-Type features an all-aluminum chassis design that helps to keep weight around 3,500 lbs (give or take a hundred lbs depending on its engine configuration), and its two-passenger cockpit gives the roadster no pretensions towards following in the GT footsteps of its bigger brother. The F-Type also bears only passing family resemblance to the XK from a styling perspective, with its more extroverted looks and compact form factor appealing to a younger demographic.
02. The 2014 Jaguar F-Type Features A Pair of V-6 Options
The entry-level edition of the 2014 Jaguar F-Type features a 3.0-liter V-6 engine that has been tuned to provide 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. The unit makes use of a supercharger in order to deliver these numbers, and is in fact borrowed from the automaker's sedan portfolio where it can be found motivating the Jaguar XJ and XF models. For those who crave a bit more grunt, the Jaguar F-Type can also be had in V6 S trim, which turns up the boost from the vehicle's blower in order to squeeze out 380 horses and 339 lb-ft of twist.
03. The 2014 Jaguar F-Type Can Be Also Had With A V-8
The 2014 Jaguar F-Type additionally allows buyers to forgo its V-6 offerings and instead stuff a potent 5.0-liter V-8 under the hood. Also gifted with the displacement-enhancing efforts of a supercharger, this eight-cylinder motor grinds out a full 495 horsepower along with 460 lb-ft of torque. The effect completely transforms the personality of the F-Type from nimble roadster to supercar-squashing open-air ride, an effect that is driven home by moving its exhaust pipes from the rear center of the car to either side, allowing drivers to better hear the efforts of the rumbling lump under the hood.
04. The 2014 Jaguar F-Type Is Automatic-Only
The 2014 Jaguar F-Type, despite its sporting character, does not offer buyers the chance to row their own gears via a manual transmission - nor does it provide a dual-clutch box as a replacement. Instead, the F-Type is outfitted with an eight-speed automatic transmission sourced from ZF. Despite its use of a traditional torque converter (an inclusion that gives it smoother shifting at low speeds when compared to a dual-clutch unit), the gearbox comes with shift paddles and is still capable of banging off gear changes rapidly at full throttle. It also features Corner Recognition, which locks out upshifting or downshifting while the car is in the middle of a corner in order to avoid upsetting its balance (and also allowing the driver to select the appropriate corner exit cog).
05. The 2014 Jaguar F-Type Comes With Jaguar DriveControl
The 2014 Jaguar F-Type provides pilots with the ability to fine-tune the car's performance based on the conditions that it encounters. The Jaguar DriveControl system interacts with the roadster's transmission, its available Adaptive Dynamic Suspension system, its engine, and its optional Active Differential Control system in order to emphasize comfort (Normal mode), performance (Dynamic mode), and traction (the oddly-named, for a roadster, Winter mode). One of the most noticeable differences between each of the three DriveControl modes is how quickly the car responds to throttle inputs and shift requests, with Dynamic mode sharpening each to a razor's edge.
06. The 2014 Jaguar F-Type Provides Startling Performance
As expected, the 2014 Jaguar F-Type deliver the kind of performance befitting both its high price point and its sporting heritage. The base F-Type V6 is capable of leaping to 60-mph from a standing start in just 5.1 seconds, with the V6 S making the same journey three tenths of a second quicker. The V8 S model sprints to the 60-mph mark in a startling 4.2 seconds. Launching the Jaguar F-Type S models is easier than one would expect thanks to the presence of Dynamic Launch Mode, which, once activated, asks only that the driver stomp on the throttle to execute a near-perfect leap off of the line. The computer brains inside the car's transmission and active differential do all of the work of balancing traction with forward momentum.
07. The 2014 Jaguar F-Type Delivers Substantial Luxury
The 2014 Jaguar F-Type - like all models built by the premium brand - makes sure to coddle driver and passenger with a long list of available high end features and comforts. A heated steering wheel, aluminum and stainless steel trim, a navigation system, supportive leather sport seats (with performance-oriented buckets also optional), and a touchscreen interface for vehicle systems are all present and accounted for. The Jaguar F-Type also offers the novelty of a climate control system that features motorized air vents which emerge from the dash in order to offer ventilation when needed, and which disappear when the car is off or when the desired temperature has been reached.
08. The 2014 Jaguar F-Type Provides A Quick Top
Anyone who has ever owned a convertible knows just how crucial it is to be able to go from open to closed as quickly as possible when weather begins to threaten the integrity of your interior's dryness. In addition, the appearance of dark clouds on the horizon doesn’t always coincide with a convenient place to stop and put up the top, especially when traveling on unfamiliar roads in heavy traffic. To this end, the 2014 Jaguar F-Type offers the ability to raise or lower the roof in a very fast 12 seconds. More importantly, the power-operated soft top can be activated while the vehicle is traveling at speeds of up to 30-mph, which gives it a practical edge over some other convertible designs.
09. The 2014 Jaguar F-Type Echoes The E-Type
If the above list of characteristics sounds familiar, that's because Jaguar has successfully produced a model like the 2014 Jaguar F-Type in the past. In fact, the Jaguar F-Type is not only the chronological, but also the alphabetical successor to the Jaguar E-Type, a vehicle produced between 1961 and 1974 which has often been called one of the most beautiful designs to ever hit the road. Also offered in roadster trim, the E-Type mirrored the choice given to F-Type buyers under the hood, with a plucky six-cylinder or a powerful V-12 stepping in for the current model's V-6 / V-8 pairing.
10. The 2014 Jaguar F-Type Is Aimed At Porsche
The 2014 Jaguar F-Type starts at an MSRP of $69,000 and tops out at over $100,000 once a healthy spate of options (and the larger V-8 engine) are accounted for. Combined with its performance attributes, this places it well within the ballpark occupied by two distinct Porsche automobiles: the Porsche Boxster roadster and the Porsche 911 Cabriolet. The concept of a car that sits somewhere between the pure sporting experience of the Boxster and the GT power of the 911 Cabriolet gives the F-Type a somewhat unique position on the market, and one that should help it carve out a healthy niche of its own amongst premium performance cars.