Jaguar F-Type review

Our Rating: 
2013 model
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The Jaguar F-Type is one of the very top sports cars on today's market extremely desirable and thrilling to drive

Sharp handling, stunning looks, upmarket cabin.
Small boot, high price, costly options, dated sat-nav

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The Jaguar F-Type Roadster is the spiritual successor to the famous Jaguar E-Type of the sixties. It comes with a choice of supercharged V6 and V8 engines, rear-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive transmissions as well as dynamic styling and a luxurious, driver-focused cabin. Buyers can also opt for an F-Type Coupe if they prefer a hard top. 

The entry-level F-Type V6 produces 335bhp, while the F-Type S model ups this to 375bhp. At the top of the range is the F-Type R, with its roaring V8 that offers a massive 543bhp and 625Nm of torque. Both S models feature adaptive dampers for improved handling, plus an active exhaust that produces a spectacular engine note. 

Whichever model you choose, you're guaranteed an exhilarating driving experience that rivals the Porsche 911 Convertible, Porsche Boxster and Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster. The entry-level F-Type is more expensive than the sporty Porsche Boxster S, however - so it's the higher-spec F-Types that actually offer the best value for money.

Although the Jaguar F-Type four-wheel drive models cost nearly £5,000 more than rear-wheel drive cars, the driving experience is even more thrilling (and safer) and we’d say it’s worth the extra cash.

Our choice: Jaguar F-Type S

Engines, performance and drive


No matter what version of the F-Type you choose the buy, you'll be rewarded with a superb driving experience. Impressively, there's very little twisting or vibration for a convertible, and body control in corners is excellent. Quick and precise steering plus strong grip enhance things further, along with 50:50 weight distribution and rear-wheel drive. It all ads up to an extremely involving and agile car.

Jaguar F-Type V6S rear tracking

All F-Types allow the driver to select Dynamic Mode, which sharpens throttle response, increases steering weight and changes the smooth eight-speed automatic transmission's shift pattern. The S and R models add adaptive dampers for even better grip and response.

The overall effect is still not quite as poised as what you'll get from a Porsche Boxster, but the F-Type is an amazing car to drive nonetheless. Four-wheel drive cars are a real thrill – you don’t notice the added weight, and most of the time the car feels like its rear-drive brethren, but the added grip and quick-witted all-wheel drive system adds to the fun and the grip levels are phenomenal.

It goes without saying that all models are properly fast - but the V6 S and V8 R add the drama of a crackling active exhaust system to this. We think the V6 S is the pick of the line-up for keen drivers: it's almost as fast as the V8 R on typical UK roads, yet it handles just a little better thanks to its lighter, more compact engine.

MPG, CO2 and running costs


Fuel economy is unlikely to be a big concern for those lucky enough to afford a Jaguar F-Type. Nonetheless, a stop-start system is standard on every model, keeping CO2 emissions down to a relatively reasonable 209g/km. This is very impressive for such a high-performance sports car.

Jaguar cars traditionally suffer from heavy depreciation, but experts predict the F-Type will buck this trend, with residual values of over 50 percent after three years. Jaguar has also been performing very well in recent customer satisfaction surveys: it finished seventh in our 2014 Driver Power poll.

Servicing costs are a worry, though - unlike some rival brands, Jaguar doesn't over good-value pre-paid servicing packs, so maintenance costs will be a factor as the car gets older.

Interior, design and technology


The F-Type looks dramatic enough to make it a worthy modern incarnation of the show-stopping Jaguar E-Type. The short tail and slim rear lights hint at its predecessor, but at the same time its lines are finely detailed and completely modern.

The car also looks perfectly in proportion from almost any angle. Desirability is almost as important as performance and handling in this class, and the F-Type has both in spades. Size-wise, the F-Type sits somewhere between the compact Porsche Boxster and larger Porsche 911. The soft-top is particularly elegant: it boasts tight lines that work perfectly with the body design, and folds down in just 12 seconds.

The F-Type V6 and V6 S have alloy wheels and a neat twin-exit central exhaust, while the V8 R looks even bolder, thanks to its larger wheels and four-exit exhaust. Four wheel drive cars get a bigger power bulge on the bonnet and new air vents, while a Sport Design Pack beefs up the styling – it’s standard on the R, optional on the other models.

Climb inside, and the drama continues. For starters, the pop-out door handles add a sense of occasion; then, when you press the starter button, the air vents rise from the top of the driver-focused dash. The joystick-style gearlever and toggle switches all feel special, while a revised touchscreen system is far better than before, if still not up to BMW and Audi standards of usability. Jaguar’s InControl apps provide added and useful functionality.

All version get leather trim as standard, but Jaguar has taken a leaf out of the Porsche book by putting many of the most desirable features on the options list. Comfort items such as heated seats and a wind deflector will both cost you extra.

Practicality, comfort and boot space


You don’t buy a two-seater sports car for its boot space, and the F-Type convertible has certainly substituted practicality for style. There’s a 196-litre boot, and while the capacity is unaffected by folding the roof, if you add the £255 space-saver spare wheel, it takes up all of the room. 

Jaguar F-Type V6S interior

So, space is pretty limited, but the cabin itself is quite roomy. Drivers over six feet tall can easily get comfortable behind the wheel, while there’s a deep storage bin and twin cup-holders on the centre console. The slim doors feature decent bins, and the glovebox is a pretty reasonable size, too.

Standard rear sensors are parking essentials, while the £255 optional reversing camera is recommended.

Reliability and Safety


Initial teething troubles with the F-Type seemed to be with the electronics, but a series of software updates have gradually ironed these out, and you shouldn’t have any problems if you decide to take the plunge.

Jaguar has amassed huge experience building aluminium chassis, and both the V6 and V8 engines incorporate elements from the company's other models. As the F-Type only seats two people, there's room for a pair of fixed rollover hoops, and it's the most rigid open-top car Jaguar has ever made.

Two-stage stability control is standard across the range, ensuring even inexperienced drivers won't be caught out by the powerful rear-drive F-Types in adverse conditions. The V6 S adds a mechanical limited-slip differential (LSD) for even better grip, and the V8 S goes one better with an advanced electronically controlled diff. The torque-on-demand four-wheel drive system on AWD cars works brilliantly to flatter drivers and provide secure access to all that power.

Stopping power isn't a problem either: the V8 S boasts the largest brake discs ever fitted to a production Jaguar. As with luxury items, though, some of the advanced active safety kit on the F-Type is optional: this includes the blind-spot warning system and reversing camera.

Disqus - noscript

"The Jaguar F-Type is one of the world's best sports cars"......... Wrong. This car is fatally flawed in not having the most modern efficient transmission in the world.....a DSG. So 5 stars is inaccurate, or put another way, wrong.

Stunning styling would be appropriate if it brought something new to the table. It is a mish- mash of any number of Italian designs of the past 50 years. It is good looking but the hyperbole sounds cheap and forced. The looks will carry it for a while but the competition will not sit down applauding JLR's efforts. I have the impression that this was a missed opportunity. They should have developed the next "lightweight" XK/F-type chassis for this vehicle and spent its engineering resources on that instead of trying to make this pig dance.

Once again the Ian Callum attempt to design a car by cut and paste photo shopping from other manufacturers leads to a lost opportunity to introduce a new great vehicle to reestablish Jag's heritage as unique, innovative and special. The original Geoff Lawson F-Type was a gorgeous, clean, clearly "a Jag!" masterpiece. In its place we end up with a leading candidate for "the ugliest front end in the class". Typical of Callum ever since he started trying to put his own (read EGO!), personal, stamp on all Jags. Once he changed from evolving the gorgeous Jaguar lines and iconic grill shapes and instead replaced them with his version of Dodge/Chrysler grills, creases, etc., amongst other bits and pieces from several other brands, Jaguars are no longer instantly recognizable as such. They have simply become just another box with trim in the bland world of today's vehicles.

I have been a Jag-lover/owner for decades, starting with my first XK-E in 1965. I feel the last "gorgeous" and recognizable as such, Jags were the '97 to '05 XK series and the S-Type. I own one of each and have wanted to replace them with something new for awhile, but Jaguar has severely disappointed with each new model. I can't even recognize them as Jaguars from more than 30 or 40 feet away. Very Sad. Now, Porsche 911s, Alfa Romeo 4cs; recognizable as such from a 100 yards or more.

The new Alfa 4c smokes the F-Type on all counts. Only the F-Type in the nose heavy S/C 5 liter version can even match the Alfa in 0-60 mph and 0-100 km times. The 4c will run circles around it in the twisties, and it doesn't look like a fat Miata with a big mouth and a black brace across its teeth framed by big ugly slits.

Poor Geof Lawson and Sir Bill, they must be turning in their graves with this latest abomination from the Callum House of Horrors.

Oh, I almost forgot, and the Alfa Romeo 4C is about $30,000+ less money!!!

So, which should I buy, the F-Type or the 4C?
Really, really tough decision, not.

Yeah DSG is a bit of a compromise and can be a maintenance headache.

This car transmission is definitely an improvement.

Hopefully they've left engineering headroom for a hybrid.

LOL. The 4c is a small car with a 1.7 L 4- cylinder engine. It's also pretty anonymous in the flesh.

I'll take the Jag over a Porsche any and every day. Friends of mine who bought P--- had very rude awakenings after warranty and found their VISA cards maxed for repairs .

Just buy a proper car, Nissan GTR and rest your mind. Put the rest of the money down for a holiday.

Any which way you take it, this is a really great car. For those who think Jag should maintain it's retro front, maybe it's time for a change, and maybe the Mitsubishi/Dodge 3000 GT was not such a bad looking car; and maybe this car does look like a BMW Z4 but a much prettier version. At least we still have that hunch back pussycat look in the rear fender. The only thing missing from the line up is a 2 Liter Turbo instead of the 3.0; something that Mercedes has come to appreciate in the A Series producing almost 400 HP. Ford Cosworth; Mitsubishi Evo; Subaru WRX all discovered that decades ago.

Well done Jag.

Just got back from a Jag dealer to look at purchasing an F-type and I am very disappointed. I was extremely excited this morning as I love the looks and great write ups. But after 5 minutes sitting sitting down to spec one I changed from excited to just frustrated and angry.. I couldn't believe what an awful spec they come with! you get nothing standard on these, nothing. on a £60K car; electric seats, parking sensors, auto lights and cruise control were options, and far over priced options to comparable brands. And these things come as standard on cars half the price. and optional alloy wheels at £3,000 and over? ridiculous. over a £1,000 for surround sound, my amg mercs surround sound was less than half that price, I just felt as though I was trying to be taken advantage of and ripped off in buying this car.

Yes, the demonstrator was great to drive, sounded lovely and very nice interior, but so many cars are comparable these days at thousands less. I just could not believe the options, and I could tell the dealer was embarrassed when I questioned these points. I just can't understand why jag have done this as I was set on this car driving down this morning, but it's like they take you for a fool, so I'll wait for the next m3 thanks, which will probably be better to drive anyway.

Stunning car, it's real beauty and it will help caterpult Jaguar...
Just a shame like some others have said everything is a optional extra (Jag should be a bit more genourus and not follow Porsche in profit making... But unfortunatly to make a great car you need profit.. Jags going to have a problem making enough of this car so why not make profit it's a real BEAUTY.. Well done Jag! Proud of you!!!

Too expensive. Mean standard equipment. No luggage space. No manual option. Looks good in the flesh but then so does a Boxster which is cheaper (and more practical). Is it me or is that interior slightly iffy?

I read the other day the Alfa Romeo 4C will start from about £50k for an albeit very light carbon-fibre chassis car but with a much smaller engine. You could be right in other respects, but your maths is wrong.

Well as a 'former Jag owner' you'll know your stuff I guess and are entitled to your opinion, but then all opinions are subjective judgements aren't they, each one as valid as the next. For instance personally I think the current XK looks better than the earlier version than ended in 2005. But then that's just an opinion too of course.

Love it ... but I wonder why they don't bring out a 4 cylinder version. It'd be fast 'enough' and probably reasonably economical too.

Last updated: 6 Mar, 2015