Now in its fifth year, the distinctly Jaguar F-Type has proven itself to be a car with character, a true-blue two-seat sports car, a coupe or convertible contender against the Corvette and Porsche 911, as well as the Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman. The Coupe R and Convertible R are two of the best sports cars on the road today.
For 2019, the four- and six-cylinder engines get names to match their horsepower: P300, P340 and P380. Meanwhile, the V8s carry on with their same names, the R making 550 hp and SVR making 575. Also new for 2019 is a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen. For 2018, the Jaguar F-Type added a turbocharged four-cylinder engine to its lineup, joining two supercharged V6s and two supercharged V8s.
The P300’s 2.0-liter turbo four makes 296 horsepower, mated to an 8-speed automatic, while the 3.0-liter supercharged V6s are mated either to a 6-speed manual or the 8-speed automatic, with all-wheel drive available. The P340’s standard 3.0-liter supercharged V6 with 340 horsepower can accelerate from zero to sixty in 5.1 seconds and hit 161 miles per hour. The P380 with the same V6 making 380 horsepower knocks 0.3 seconds off that time and adds 10 mph to the top speed. The V6 engines sound a little coarse under acceleration, with the whine of the supercharger subdued and drowned by engine noise.
The F-Type R with its 5.0-liter supercharged V8 making 550 horsepower accelerates from zero to sixty in 3.9 seconds, with a top speed of 186 miles per hour. Optional sport exhaust makes it sound throaty like a V8 Mustang. It’s all-wheel drive, mated to an 8-speed automatic.
The F-Type SVR, also all-wheel drive, makes 575 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, dropping the 0-60 time to 3.5 seconds and raising the top speed to 200 miles per hour. There’s lots of carbon-fiber trim, and a titanium exhaust system makes the engine downright raucous. Its suspension and steering are tuned for performance, while carbon-ceramic brakes are available. It needs a track to be pushed.
The 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is just about the best automatic we know (that isn’t a twin-clutch). If you must have an old-school manual gearbox, you’ll have to stick to the base 340-hp F-Type with rear-wheel drive. It’s good but the sweet automatic shifts faster and gets better fuel mileage.
The new turbo-four base engine is EPA-rated at 23 mpg City, 30 Highway, 26 Combined. The 340-hp V6 with 8-speed automatic rates 19/27/22 mpg, or 1 mpg less with all-wheel drive. The 6-speed manual brings it down to 16/24/19 mpg. F-Types with the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 get 15/23/18 mpg, with either 550 or 575 hp. All the engines require Premium gasoline.
The Jaguar F-Type price sheet shows 24 models, ranging in price from $59,900 for the P300 Coupe with automatic transmission and new turbocharged four engine, to the 575-horsepower SVR Coupe with the supercharged V8 and all-wheel drive for more than twice that, at $121,900. The Convertibles are about $3000 more than the Coupes.
Standard equipment on the P300 includes leather upholstery, 10.0-inch touchscreen for Jaguar’s InControl Touch infotainment, LED headlights, a 380-watt Meridian-branded audio system, power front seats with memory, navigation, and a rearview camera. Options include upgraded leather for $2200, with heated seats are part of a $1400 package. The rest of the Coupes come standard with a panoramic sunroof.
The F-Type R has its own sports seat design, performance brakes, upsized wheels, and an electronic limited-slip rear differential.
The F-Type P380 has an active exhaust system, driving modes, adaptive dampers, 19-inch wheels, ambient lighting, and a limited-slip rear differential. The SVR gets track-oriented suspension tuning and the most horsepower.
All F-Types get Jaguar’s EliteCare, which covers five years of standard maintenance.
The nose of the F-Type is sleek and tall, with a big grille that isn’t an oval and LED accents that sharpen the look from front. Hints of Maserati and Corvette might be seen in the styling, a notion we suspect Jaguar would not agree with. The lines along the side flow beautifully, with inset door handles to keep things flat and smooth. The roofline of the coupe is streamlined. The best view is from the rear, with powerful haunches and rounded taillamps that suggest history.
The F-Type interior is gorgeous. The cockpit is intense, with deeply set gauges, elevated mechanical bits, and a grab handle for the passenger. It’s snug but comfortable, and focused on leather, non-traditional in that there isn’t one splinter of wood. It might feel focused on functional, if it weren’t for the new 10-inch touchscreen for infotainment, and big rotary climate knobs, not to mention the start button and paddle controls in orange like a ship’s emergency raft. Options for trim include red leather and carbon on the dash.
The seats get firmer and more bolstered, as the horsepower in the models rises. The trunk stays the same tiny size, although no smaller than any two-seat sports car. The power convertible top folds so that a tonneau cover isn’t necessary, at speeds up to 30 mph.
The cabin is quiet inside, until you hammer the throttle and either the coarse V6 or throaty V8 do their thing. With the new turbo four, and artificial exhaust sound is pumped into the cabin. It tries too hard.
The Jaguar F-Type delivers performance that rivals the best. The aluminum chassis is about balance as well as lightness. The standard brake-based torque vectoring increases stability during hard cornering.
Against traditional sports cars like the Chevrolet Corvette, the F-Type has one four-season asset: available all-wheel drive, standard on V8 models and optional with most V6s. We like the all-wheel drive for its practicality, although there isn’t a strong sense of all-wheel drive when driving it. The heavier V8 doesn’t handle as light and direct as the V6, but almost.
The P300’s 296-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, is strong but slightly little buzzy at low speeds. It makes a great daily driver, with the softest ride on standard 18-inch alloy wheels.
The Convertible F-Type takes bumps harder than the Coupe, but that doesn’t make the handling sloppy. The available adaptive dampers help a lot. They bring out the sports car in this Jaguar.
The P340 and P380 are quick and nimble, but yaw more and lack the precision of a Porsche Boxster or Cayman. The ride is stiff but not jarring. The coupe, being more rigid than the convertible, handles better, with or without the adaptive dampers.
The F-Type R almost matches the precision of the Boxster and Cayman, in spite of the Jaguar’s greater mass. The F-Type R feels at home on the track. It’s more entertaining to drive than anything in its class, except the Porsche 718 Cayman S and Corvette Z06. The suspension is firmer but not stiff, and the steering is brilliant.
The F-Type SVR is made for track days. It’s punishing around town and the optional expensive carbon-ceramic brakes can be unpredictable.
The Jaguar F-Type is among the best sports cars in the world. The P300, whose 2.0-liter turbo-four engine was new in 2018, is relatively affordable. F-Type models cleanly cover the stretch from daily driver to staggering track-day supercharged V8 beast. The transmission is the best 8-speed automatic in the game.
Sam Moses contributed to this review, with staff reports by The Car Connection.