Sharper yet more gentlemanly to drive, great new V8
Lacks the sophisticated safety systems of key rivals
What is it?
After seven years on sale, the Jaguar F-Type has had its biggest update yet. You’ve probably spied the newly squinting headlights already, and if the bottom half of the internet is any kind of barometer, you might not like them very much. But please, reserve full judgement until you’ve seen one of these in person. This remains a wildly good-looking car in both coupe and convertible shapes, and the rest of its styling has largely been left well alone. Wise.
The F-Type’s biggest stories also lie a few feet back from those lights. Chiefly, its V6 engine has gone – in the UK market at least – replaced by a new tune of supercharged V8. Yep, Jaguar has bucked all current motor industry trends and upsized the mid-range F-Type’s engine. Whatever will the climate change protestors think.
At least they’ll be marginally appeased by the ongoing existence of the entry-level four-cylinder F-Type ‘P300’, whose 296bhp 2.0-litre turbo engine continues untouched. Last year, it garnered 42 per cent of F-Type sales, but Jag does expect the new 444bhp 5.0-litre V8 ‘P450’ to chip away at that share significantly. Sitting atop both is the also-V8 567bhp F-Type R, which is the range halo now that the wild SVR has gone off sale, but not before donating its engine tune and suspension components to the R.
All use an eight-speed automatic transmission, with the F-Type manual dropped from sale after a mere seven were sold in 2019. Sad, but we’ll cope: the ZF-derived paddleshifter is superb and was always our favourite anyway.
The P300 and P450 are rear-driven as standard, the latter getting all-wheel drive as a £5000 option, while the R is AWD only.
The F’s update also sees some tweaks inside, with an updated media system and new, fully digital instrument display that cycles between single and double dials or a big widescreen map just like the one Audi pioneered six years ago with the TT’s Virtual Cockpit.
Prices start at £54,000 for the coupe and a whisker under £60,000 for the convertible, topping out at £102,000 for a drop-top F-Type R. So once again, the F-Type lives in a curious middle ground slap-bang between both Porsche Caymans and 911s, seemingly a rival to both with a broad spread of power outputs. It’s got Alpine A110s and Toyota Supras to fret about these days too, as well as a reborn TVR. If the new Griffith ever actually arrives.
Will there be another F-Type SVR, to bait the next 911 Turbo or GT3? “SVO are continually committed to amplifying performance attributes and bringing more SV vehicles to market in the future,” is the official company line. Our fingers are firmly crossed for a batsh*t Project 9.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
The F-Type is a great sports car. It has been for seven years now, and a relatively light rejig doesn’t rock the boat at all. Great if you relish a mildly brutish coupe or cabrio with a large engine up front, less good if you want something stuffed to the gunwales with technology.
It continues to sit in its own little segment, though, priced between Caymans and 911s while doggedly offering something a little different to both. And with neater, more trustworthy handling than ever, a charismatic new engine and a sheen of extra modernity inside, it’s not much harder to recommend than it was back in 2013. Whatever you think of those headlights.