Can you recall the last time an all-new sports car came to market?
British automaker Jaguar remembers, and after 40 years heralds the return of its classic two-seat roadster with the 2014 Jaguar F-Type.
The F-Type newcomer is draped in sleek contemporary styling, inspired by design cues from early Jaguar E-Type convertibles last built in 1974.
“Jaguar F-Type is a pure sports car. It brings a fresh look to the Jaguar portfolio that stands up to its European competition,” says Jim Wolff, general sales manager for Napleton Auto Werks in Schererville. “The timing is right, after a long run with Jaguar touring cars.”
Jaguar insiders say 90 percent of F-Type customers are new to the brand citing the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Audi R8 and Porsche 911 Carrera as F-Type’s drop-top rivals.
Three F-Type models are showcased for its inaugural model year.
All have supercharged engines mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode starting with a standard F-Type powered by a 3.0-liter V6 that builds 340 horsepower priced at $69,000 and an F-Type S with 380 hp for $81,000.
Topping the 2014 Jaguar F-Type troika is the F-Type V8 S infused with a 5.0-liter V8 engine that generates 495 hp at a cost of $92,000.
Combined fuel economy for F-Type reaches 23 miles per gallon followed by the F-Type S with 22 mpg. The F-Type V8 S registers combined mileage of 18 mpg.
“Our performance customer has owned sports cars before and is looking for V8 power, but the majority of our F-Type buyers are very satisfied with the supercharged V6 engine and price point of the 340 horsepower model,” states Wolff.
This month, I had the opportunity to enjoy a five hour top-down drive in the 2014 Jaguar F-Type V6 and V8 roadsters, traveling surface roads that skirt the base of Mt. Rainier en route to the Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Washington.
The cloth soft-top can be fully raised or lowered in 12 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph, and when stowed serves as its own tonneau cover.
F-Type’s superb aerodynamics and front engine rear-wheel platform provides 50/50 weight distribution for ideal balance when driving S-Curve roads.
Vehicle control is precise with minimum steering input, while wheel-mounted paddle shifters offer full manual gear control that blips the throttle to match the engine speed when entering turns.
Jaguar’s driver-directed switchable (active) exhaust system is standard on S models and when in Sport Mode renders a throaty growl and back pressure rap to the exhaust note.
The exhaust sound is noticeably muted when the system is deactivated.
Track speed quickly reaches triple digits in Jaguar F-Type S models with plenty of brake power provided by 15-inch front and 14.8-inch rear discs. F-Type with 340 hp rein 13.9/12.8 inch discs respectively.
The 2014 Jaguar F-Type’s twin cockpit melds classic sports car feel with high-tech controls to make a trip down a boulevard or across the Borman Expressway an exhilarating driving experience.