2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 S
Miles Driven: 259
Fuel Used: 16.3 gallons
Driving mix: 50% city, 50% highway
Real-world fuel economy: 15.9 mpg
EPA-estimated fuel economy (city/highway/combined): 16/23/18
Base price: $92,000 (not including $895 destination charge)
Options on test car: Climate Package ($600), Premium Package ($200), Vision Package ($2100), special paint ($1500), satellite radio ($450), Extended Leather ($1925), premium audio system ($1200), Performance Pack ($2950)
Price as tested: $103,820
The great: Stellar handling, fantastic power
The good: Roomier-than-expected cabin, surprisingly compliant ride
The not so good: Pricey options, limited trunk space, obnoxious exhaust note
To some of us, a two-seat Jaguar like the 2014 F-Type makes mental connections to suave cinematic British secret agents or landed gentry out for a good time in their off hours from, well, landed-gentry stuff.
In many ways, the V8-powered F-Type S that Consumer Guide® had the chance to test did a pretty good job of living up to those imagined standards. It is fast, it is plushly outfitted, and it is expensive enough to make you the object of envy as if you personally owned half of a country shire or were officially licensed to kill.
Be ready to have the thought balloon in which these reveries float evaporate instantly when you step on the gas, however. S models—V6 or V8—come standard with “Active Sport Exhaust,” which uses active bypass valves to let exhaust gases exit more directly for a muscular tone. There’s a decided snarl from the back of the car upon start-up, but a tromp of the accelerator elicits a thunder that will rattle the teacups in the next street, Old Snoot. Frankly, it’s a sound that’s more Dukes of Hazzard than Duke of Windsor.
At the other end of the pipe from those vocal exhaust tips sits a 5.0-liter supercharged V8. The 495-horsepower mill delivers wonderful, instant acceleration with the help of a smooth 8-speed “QuickShift” automatic transmission. You’ll never go wanting for capability when merging onto an expressway or stepping out to pass.
In an effort to squeeze some fuel savings out of its powerteams, Jaguar has included an engine-stop feature. In full-stop situations, the V8 in our test car shut off with barely a twitch, but automatic restarts upon letting off the brakes were rocky and noisy. In a run of 109.3 miles, 40 percent of them under city-style traffic conditions, this driver averaged 17.39 mpg—close to the EPA combined estimate of 18 mpg. (The V8 S is rated at 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway.)
Performance isn’t confined to the engine compartment. With the F-Type, Jaguar hangs its hat on the attention paid to the car’s unitized aluminum body structure and its weight distribution. (For instance, the battery and windshield-washer reservoir have been moved to the back.) Steering and braking are excellent, and ride is pretty good ride for a sports car—firm, but not jarring. Cowl-shake, a concern with any convertible, is well contained in the F-Type with the top up or down.
There are some shortcomings within that body. For one thing, foot well space is a little dear. For another, the flat trunklid requires a high liftover, and then there’s very little space for anything when you do get there. At least piston-type hinges don’t take up any of what little space there is.
Cabin materials are quite nice. Soft-touch materials cover almost all of interior—there’s no sliding by with less-forgiving plastics in places where folks might not touch as often. Interior storage is not so great, though, with a smallish glove box and arm-rest console box. Door pockets are the best bet.
Visibility with the top up is not the worst we’ve ever seen for a convertible but there still is something of an over-the shoulder blind spot. The one-button power top, by the way, is pretty quick about raising or lowering itself.
Working the audio system is a little more intuitive and a little less complicated than in some rival luxury brands, but still requires quite a bit of attention to the screen in order to get what you want. The in-dash screen washes out in direct sunlight. However, for the important driving instruments, there is a nice view of the gauges and the vehicle-information display that is between them. Climate controls use a combination of easy-to-use dials and toggle switches that are separate from the audio/navigation system, and don’t rely on the center screen.
Key standard performance equipment on the V8 S includes an “Adaptive Dynamics” suspension with continuously variable damping and “predictive” shock-absorber adjustments to control body motion, an “Active” differential that can electronically adjust power delivery to each wheel, and uprated brakes. Other features of note are xenon headlamps, emergency brake assist, a 380-watt Meridian audio system, flush door handles that pop out when the doors are unlocked, Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone climate control, 14-way adjustable sport seats, navigation system, and back-up sensors.
With this equipment, the F-Type V8 S convertible starts at a not-inconsiderable $92,000. (There is no coupe companion to the V8 S.) Our test car didn’t stop there, however. With almost $11,000 in options and delivery, CG’s tester bottom-lined at $103,820. That buys things like heated seats and steering wheel; a garage-door-opener/wind-deflector/lockable-storage package; an adaptive-headlights/back-up-camera/blind-spot-monitor package; special paint (Italian Racing Red Metallic in this case); HD and satellite radio; extended leather trim; premium audio; and a package with performance seats, configurable driving modes, red brake calipers, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and manually controlled “Switchable Active Exhaust” from the top-cat F-Type R coupe.
You pay $92,000 for a car and still have to shell out for heated seats, a garage-door opener, back-up camera, and satellite radio? That ought to put a rumble in your exhaust. . . .
I agree with John regarding this Jag’s exhaust: It’s obnoxious. There’s simply no reason for a classy sports car to sound like a fire at an electrical substation. It’s a puzzle to me how this classless synthetic satanic cackling is supposed evoke memories of perfectly balanced V12s and big, seamlessly smooth straight sixes.
Yet, for all the trash talking this petulant Jaguar does, it doesn’t fail to deliver on the road. Beyond the unnecessary noise, I have nary a complaint. This car is pure magic to drive, and despite its modest footprint, accommodates my hulking frame with little trouble.
While the power and power delivery are terrific, it was the steering feel that stole my heart. Few cars combine so deftly the feel, feedback, and genuinely rewarding heft of the F-Type’s steering.
The power-retracting top also deserves praise. The ragtop is slick in operation, rising and lowering quickly with little noise or mechanical showmanship.
At just over $100,000 our test car is no bargain, but it was stuffed to the gills with options, and perfectly capable of running with vehicles that cost far more.
Most importantly, the F-Type is fun to drive, ridiculously so. So much fun, in fact, that I really don’t care how silly the exhaust sounds.