All Jaguar models are born into the shadow of the legendary E-Type, but a true successor to that classic was not released until 2013. The F-Type rides on a shortened chassis from the XK, but with many improvements to stiffness and safety. Being proud of their latest Supercharged V8, they sent us a 2017 F-Type R for a week of review.
At first glance, the resemblance to its predecessor is heartwarming. The unibody and chassis is mostly aluminum, and extensive insulation was built into the structure to provide a luxurious experience.Our first cool front of the year was reason to drop the top for a cruise to the beach. With the roof stowed, the rear offers a pleasing shape, with the quarter panels rising gently above the decklid. The belt line is lower than most sporty roadsters, which allows for great visibility so long is the top is down. From a side profile, an elegant crease emerges from the front fenders and up into the base of the doors. It makes the car look shorter than it is.
For most of their history, Jaguar has emphasised style and luxury over power, but since Tata Motors combined the engineering of Jaguar and Land Rover, each brand has benefitted from unprecedented horsepower. I had driven a V6 F-Type last year at the Tampa Auto Show, and it was a comfortable cruiser. While the ride quality was above average, the V6 leaves something to be desired. That problem was solved in the “R” by the 5.0 liter V8 topped by a roots style supercharger. It offers 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque across the rev range. Behind this engine is the same ZF 8-speed automatic found in various other European cars, and it doesn’t disappoint. But the issue is that engines of this power don’t need eight gears. While the car is capable of multiple gear up and downshifts, enthusiasts might be dismayed at the constant shifting of the transmission. A six-speed manual would be perfect, but its only offered on V6 models.
On the road, the F-Type R uses AWD for grip in any situation- you have never been in a Jag that launches like this. A speed of 60 mph arrives in 4.0 seconds on your way to 186 MPH. The ride is not as stiff as most cars of this caliber, and this modern convertible has no cowl shakes or rattles.
As you might expect, the controls are in British locations, but you learn the layout in a few days. The transmission could shift a little firmer. The thirst is real, with city mileage rated at 15 mpg. If you drive like we do you might want to keep this one as a weekend only machine. The soundtrack is nothing but amazing. You will have no problems hearing the rumble over the 12 speaker audio, and it has been carefully engineered to excite. Seats are among the best in the industry, with two-tone double stitched leather and deep bolsters.
If your loyalties lie to Queen and Country, you owe yourself to consider the F-Type as it embodies everything right about the British auto industry. For just under $110,000 you will have a sensuous two-seater that is guaranteed to make you smile. Stay with us for more reviews here on Autofluence.