2017 Jaguar F-Type Coupe Review: Long live the F-Type
– Detroit, Michigan
Settling in the driver’s seat of this Jaguar F-Type and pushing that beating-heart start button feels like slipping on a well worn-in pair of jeans. This is my type of sports car, and having driven every variant save the super-hot SVR (hint, hint, Jaguar), I have yet to be disappointed. It’s a car that I could ogle all day, with the moves and performance to eviscerate any road, and a soundtrack as loud and exciting as a concert. Its snug and luxurious cabin fits me like a glove; its considered-yet-aggressive driving style suits mine to a tee.
This particular F-Type sports the new British Design Edition package, which bundles a bunch of options with unique paint choices, gloss-black exterior trim, carbon interior trim, and various other interior upgrades – it’s your standard special-edition, limited-volume paint-and-stripe model. No matter how it’s equipped, though, the F-Type will always be one of my favorite sports coupes on the market today. My only disappointment with this car was having to give it back so soon.
- This powertrain is glorious. Sure, the big supercharged V8 that’s available in the F-Type R and SVR is louder and more powerful, but the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 in the S is better balanced with the rest of the car’s abilities. It rips all the way to redline with no hesitation (thanks, supercharging), snarling and barking with a tone that’s exactly what you’d imitate if someone asked you what a sports car sounds like. The eight-speed automatic shifts promptly and sharply in manual mode; don’t bother with the ho-hum six-speed manual. Oh, and 380 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque is plenty of power to haze the tires and slide the back end around.
- Um, it’s gorgeous. Even three years after its public introduction at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2013, the F-Type Coupe still makes me look twice. It remains one of the prettiest cars on sale today; I’ll never tire of the sublime curves and proportions. While Ultra Blue is not the most flattering color I’ve ever seen on this car, it at least makes a strong impression on passersby.
- Great steering, great handling, great brakes. I love the progressive wind-up of weight from the electric power steering, the minimal body motions in cornering, and the forceful resistance of the brake pedal. The F-Type is just extremely satisfying to drive and hugely grippy in every direction. It’s worth noting, of course, that this test car had the optional Super Performance Braking System package, which helps pedal feel. In my experience with a different F-Type S so equipped, these upgraded brakes (15.0-inch front rotors, 14.8-inch rears) are totally fade-resistant even on a race track.
- Also notable is the rear-drive F-Type’s insanely tight turning radius of 35.0 feet. Any time I’m parking the F-Type I note how easy, compared to other big sports cars, it is to maneuver. A Chevy Corvette Stingray, for reference, has a turning radius more than two feet larger than the Jag’s.
- Visibility over your right shoulder is at a premium. To be fair, many coupes struggle with this, but the F-Type’s sultry pillars obfuscate your view to the right-rear of the car. It’s notable when reversing out of angle-parking spots or joining a road at an acute angle. Adjust your mirrors carefully.
- The touchscreen infotainment system feels like it needs another round of debugging. I know that we whine about this in pretty much any Jaguar Land Rover production review, but it’s true. Delays after I push on-screen buttons, a slow boot-up time, and some convoluted design choices (why does the radio display show the station name and artist, but not song title?) are a letdown for tech-addicted drivers like myself.
- Did Jaguar disconnect one of the buttons? When I first drove an F-Type, the little spoiler button actually actuated the rear spoiler, regardless of speed or any other variables. Now, on both this F-Type and the two prior ones I drove, the button is still there but it doesn’t do anything. Granted, popping up the spoiler at low speeds is puerile and pointless, but it’s weird to have a button that doesn’t seem to do anything.
Photos: Steven Ewing / Motor1.com