2014 Jaguar F-Type is a brand-new model billed as
the spiritual successor to the famed E-Type, which
was introduced in 1961.
a 1961 debut that reverberated worldwide, Jaguar pulled
the covers off its E-Type coupe at the Geneva Motor Show
and redefined beauty in automobiles.
the era of audacious tail fins and unchecked mass, the
sensual 1961 E-Type, also known as the XKE, offered a
simple elegance. The coupe’s designer was chasing
aerodynamics, but in the Jag’s sleek profile he
created art. Quite literally: The Museum of Modern Art
in New York has had an E-Type in its permanent
collection since 1996.
Ferrari is said to have wept upon viewing the E-Type,
calling it the most beautiful car ever made. The Italian
sports cars bearing his name would soon incorporate the
Jag’s design elements.
years later, the ripples from that Geneva debut are
bringing to our shores another all-new car from Jaguar.
In May, the venerable British brand put the 2014 F-Type
convertible on sale.
two-seater fetches $70,000 to $100,000, and a coupe
variant is all but confirmed for 2014. Both versions
will occupy a market niche that overlaps with the
Porsche Boxster S and the 911.
car was designed by Ian Callum, whose pen has also given
us Jaguar’s mid-size XF and full-size XJ sedans, along
with the Aston Martin DB7 and DB9. Although Callum
started working on the F-Type before Jaguar had decided
what to call it, the automaker is billing the F-Type as
the spiritual successor to the E-Type.
the F-Type to follow such a legendary act presents a big
risk. The new F-Type may not find itself in art museums
decades from now, but Jaguar has clearly scored with a
gorgeous machine that is capable of shouldering the
brand’s heritage of performance and sex appeal.
company could use the help.
flip side of Jaguar’s heritage involves large pools of
oil in driveways and even larger repair bills, with the
predictable effect on resale values for most models.
(The E-Type remains the exception, a prized and
expensive collector car.) Although Jaguar is midway
through a dramatic aesthetic makeover, reliability
ratings and sales figures have yet to catch up.
Power & Associates ranked Jaguar fifth from the
bottom in dependability for 2012. Consumer Reports rated
both the 2012 Jaguar full-size XJ and mid-size XF sedans
as having "much worse than average" predicted
the automaker’s sales lag far behind those of
competitors. Last year, Jaguar — now owned by India’s
Tata Motors — reported that it sold just 55,675
vehicles in the U.S. That’s in contrast to luxury
leaders BMW and Mercedes-Benz, which each sold about
five times that many cars.
even if this F-Type turns out to be a marked success —
and there’s no reason it shouldn’t — it won’t
move the sales needle in a meaningful way for Jaguar.
Tom Libby, a senior forecasting analyst at auto research
firm R.L. Polk & Co., predicts that Jaguar probably
will sell about 6,000 F-Types in 2014.
terms of competing with the Germans, it doesn’t help
much," Libby said. "Obviously, it’s a
terrific car in terms of image and performance, but they’re
not going to sell them on a large scale."
will help is a much-rumored yet unconfirmed compact
sedan — think BMW 3-Series rival — and a crossover
SUV. Those two segments sell vehicles at the highest
volume in the luxury world. Jaguar is well aware of
these conspicuous holes, Callum said.
been fairly open about that, that we are going to
increase our car lineup," Callum said. "We
have to. We have to become a big player. We’re just
not big enough at the moment to have the gravitas on the
average street, to have the recognition."
the F-Type can certainly make an impact on the brand’s
image, drawing more attention to other offerings in the
lineup and helping to define Jaguar’s design language
for future models.
fast helps too. The F-Type is available with one of
three direct-injected, supercharged engine variants.
base offering is a direct-injected 3.0-liter
supercharged V-6 that makes 340 horsepower and 332
pound-feet of torque. This model starts at $69,000 and
Jaguar says it will do zero to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds.
there’s the F-Type S, which we tested because Jaguar
expects it to be its volume seller of the trio. This
model starts at $81,000 and comes with a more powerful
version of the same engine, with 380 horsepower and 339
pound-feet of torque. Acceleration to 60 mph drops to
the top of the heap is the F-Type V8 S. For $92,000,
buyers get an all-aluminum 5.0-liter V-8 that makes 495
horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.
the cars come with an eight-speed automatic transmission
with manual paddle shifters and a sport mode. Jaguar may
offer a manual version later, but the automaker knows
most drivers are likely to select the automatic option
— and it’s a good one.
full manual mode, the transmission is easily one of the
fastest-shifting automatics available. Adding to the joy
are enthusiastic throttle blips on downshifts, mixed
with the aggressive popping and crackling of the
any driving situation, the transmission and engine work
together in a remarkably silken performance. The duo
accelerates as smoothly as you’d hope from a car this
handsome, and throws out a robust exhaust note that’s
worthy of a car costing twice this much.
3,558 pounds, the car isn’t exactly light, but it
never feels cumbersome. Its horsepower-to-weight ratio
puts it between the Porsche Boxster S and 911. Helping
keep weight down is an all-aluminum chassis and body
terms of raw performance, the F-Type feels less visceral
and immediate than the Boxster S or 911, and it probably
would lose to either on a track. But this is an everyday
sports car that’s comfortable, smooth and effortlessly
quick; it’s as much car as 90 percent of buyers in
this segment will ever need or want.
they’ll never get tired of looking at it. The front
bears a passing resemblance to Jaguar’s larger XK,
with a large, oval-shaped grille flanked by a pair of
air inlets on either side. The car is smaller than
pictures suggest — 3 inches shorter than a Honda Civic
— and hugs the ground with a wide, low stance. A
subtle shoulder line, which recalls the E-Type, arcs
over the rear wheels and draws your eyes to the F-Type’s
stunning rear end.
taillamps also recall the F-Type’s ancestor.
Ultra-thin horizontal LED lights wrap around the rear
corners from each side, converging in the silhouette of
two round taillights near the license plate.
the bottom of the bumper is an aggressive yet tasteful
fascia that serves as the only distinction between the
V-6 and V-8 models. The F-Type and F-Type S feature a
pair of center-mounted chrome exhaust pipes that look as
good as they sound. V-8 models have two sets of dual
tips on either side of the fascia.
genius of the F-Type’s design, especially the rear, is
it looks unlike anything else on the road while giving a
subtle nod to Jaguar’s past glory. A week of driving
in car-saturated Los Angeles yielded numerous cheers,
furtive photos at stoplights, and shouted inquiries on
from the back of this car, it’s something that’s
very exciting," Callum said. "And
incidentally, that’s the view most people are going to
JAGUAR F-TYPE S:
type: Two-door, two-passenger convertible
3.0-liter supercharged V-6 engine; rear-wheel drive
Eight-speed automatic with manual shifting
to 60 mph: 4.8 seconds, according to Jaguar
fuel economy rating: 19 mpg city / 27 highway
price, base model: $69,000
price, model tested: $81,000
as tested, including destination charge: $91,965
Angeles Times’ take: Jaguar brings sexy back
To-die-for looks, smooth drivetrain
Small trunk, not cheap