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First Drive: 2014 Jaguar F-Type
Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill

Jeff Glucker September 13, 2013 Featured, First Impressions, Jaguar Reviews, Reviews 13 Comments

Jaguar-F-Type

The sense of sound is one of the most wonderful things we have in this world. Still, sight is arguably tops on the list because the world around us, regardless of how it sounds, is truly majestic. There are emotions around good sunsets. Watching a wave crash on the shore is powerful even without the noise. Rock and roll would still feel powerful even with the sound turned all the way down. Despite that, how much better are all of those things with some sound… yes, even the sunsets.

The 2014 Jaguar F-Type is a truly beautiful car. It’s blessed with perfect proportions, gracefully aggressive lines, and stylish flourishes that are a delight to the eye from nearly every angle. See that picture up there? It barely tells a fraction of the feeling you get when you’re standing next to such a gorgeous machine.

But that style is nothing without the sound.

Lucky for, well, all of humanity then that the design team and the engineering team must wind up at the same pub after the Jaguar end of day whistle screams that it’s five o’clock.

Jaguar-F-Type-rear-three-quarter

Before I delve deeper into the sound of this wonderful thing, I’d like to chat briefly about how it looks. Design director Ian Callum calls this a team effort. His team deserves gold stars and banana stickers because it’s a job well done. It’s supposed to remind one of the still-so-beautiful E-Type. I have to be honest, however, that I don’t think of the E-Type once while looking at the car. It’s modern, it’s forward thinking, and I’m just trying to remember every little detail of the design that my eyes are taking in while my brain is trying to process it all.

There’s the rear decklid, which is low to accentuate the rear haunches. The aggressive tail lamps help stretch the rear of the car, while the power bulge in the hood is supposed to remind one of the a world filled with straight sixes. It all comes together in a manner that is primarily reserved for things that cause you to reflect on what you’re doing with your life, take a moment, breathe, and then realize everything is going to be OK after you give the car a second look. It’s not an E-Type, it’s the F-Type, and the F must stand for Future.

Jaguar-F-Type-engine

As I said earlier, you can have pretty but there are times when you also need sound. The 2014 Jaguar F-Type isn’t simply producing sound. It’s Motown. It’s Seattle grunge. It’s a 1980’s Los Angeles club with Guns N Roses on the stage. It’s a stadium in New Jersey singing every word along with Springsteen. It’s Big Boi and Andre 3000 reunited. Like a million elephants and silverback orangutans, you can’t stop this noise train.

I’m not talking about the V6, which sounds good until you hear the V8… which is great.

Under the hood of the correct F-Type sits a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine. It produces 495 horsepower and can propel the F-Type from 0-60 miles per hour in just 4.2 seconds. The top speed is 186 miles per hour. The lovely part of these stats is that they’re meaningless once you actually hear that sound. Upon initial startup, I am forced to let out a giggle. I touch the bronze accents of the interior, press the starter, and I’ve apparently become a 12-year-old kid again. Not a quiet giggle, mind you, but a loud one that causes a few folks to look my way. It doesn’t matter though, because they soon look the other way as I test out the throttle pedal with a few quick karate kicks from my right foot.

Jaguar-F-Type-interior

I am quickly out of my parking spot and let loose into downtown Seattle. This does not seem ideal at first, but I soon find myself on the highway approaching a tunnel. Traffic is moderate in this early morning Seattle haze, and I ease off the throttle pedal to allow a bit of distance between my F-Type and the random not-an-F-Type in front of me. The road opens for a moment, the cars in the lanes on either side glance over, and I provide for them a far better song than they might be listening to on their radios.

I punch it.

Second gear pushes the rev counter near redline incredibly quickly, and I grab the left paddle to snag third gear. It slots into place and the noise gets even better. The F-Type produces a sound that’s as if Jaguar found a way to turn Flight of the Valykries into actual combustible material. I know I keep harping on the noise, but that’s because it’s the best sounding production V8 engine you can buy brand new right now. It’s not just glorious on throttle, because the moment you let off the engine and exhaust play a game of overrun, which turns into a crescendo of roars, coughs, burbles, and barks. I’m being dramatic here… because the car demands it.

Jaguar-F-Type-front-details

It’s not simply a pretty noise maker, thankfully. I drove the F-Type for hundreds of miles but I eventually wound up at a racetrack that featured significant elevation changes, fast straights, and challenging corners. The F-Type proved that it’s not just a straight line bruiser because it handled itself wonderfully on the track. The steering was responsive and more communicative than I expected. Braking was a drama-free affair because there was no fade and consistent feel the entire time I was lapping the car. It was flat, compliant, and ready to handle everything the track dished out.

An interesting thing occurred on the track, however, as I found myself being a bit more brave and comfortable in the supercharged 380-horsepower V6 F-Type. It’s a simple matter of why this is, of course. With the V8, if I fat foot it out of a corner I instantly realize I’m giving the car too much boot and need to back it down. When I do that with the V6 there’s less torque to make me realize that I’m not a professional driver, and I can be sloppier with the throttle pedal. This isn’t necessarily a good thing if I want to get better at turning fast laps, but it’s a great thing for the average driver. I still prefer the V8 as it’s the faster car, it just takes more skill to extract all of its potential.

Jaguar-F-Type-profile

I did say that I prefer visual delights to auditory gifts. I might think differently if the F-Type were perfect, but no car is perfect. It doesn’t exist (although the Mercedes-Benz E63 wagon tries damn hard to come close). The price is what’s holding me back from proclaiming that the F-Type is the perfect machine. Of course a vehicle like this should be expensive. First of all, it’s a Jaguar. After that it’s a Jaguar with an interior that’s up to XJ levels of snuff in terms of its telematics system, ultra comfortable seats, and super stylish bronze-like switch gear. It is, however, $104,000+ as shown above. Yes, you can get the V6 version for considerably less, $69,000 in fact if you don’t need the more potent V6S.

My problem lies with the fact that the F-Type has an older brother in the XK. Yes, it’s an aging older brother that’s long overdue for a facelift, but it’s a charming older brother regardless. An XK-R will run you about $102,000, and that’s a British-bred burnout machine that still has people thinking it’s an Aston Martin. Perhaps I need to forget about that car though, because the F-Type can easily make that happen. Still, I recently spent a lovely week with the even more potent XKR-S, which pushes out 550 horsepower and makes lovely noises as well. At $138,000 maybe that car should’ve been perfect, but it wasn’t either. In fact, the infotainment was pretty horrendous and I had a check engine light come on for apparently no reason at all. That car has become an symbol of an older Jaguar company.

The F-Type isn’t that type of car. It’s the future for the automaker, and it’s filled with stunning angles and noises that will make your face contort in ways you thought were only possible in movies you find free on the Internet. That’s when the price starts to make sense. Compare it to the competition and it makes even more sense. You can have your 911 (enjoy the car your dentist drives*… if you can find one without any options), you can have your GT-R (pop in some Styx and enjoy), but if you make the choice to dance with the F-Type the music will be the type that rearranges your very soul.

[Disclaimer: Jaguar flew me to Seattle and put me in a delightful hotel. They fed me and let me loose on the excellent EMP as well. I also got a ride on float plane and didn’t die!]

*Sorry Dr. Shapiro, I don’t know what you drive but please don’t hurt my mouth. Wow, that sounds very much unintentionally dirty.

  • Here's a bit of the sound for you:

    [youtube 5Y_INifzees http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Y_INifzees youtube]

  • I saw a blonde Hottie driving one last week down in Boca Raton. It was beautiful package. Working on getting my friend Kris to buy one instead of a run of the mill Porsche.

  • I think this is the most beautiful new car since the Fisker Karma.

    I had the chance to drive the V6 version, albeit very briefly, last month. The curious thing was what the Jag rep said. The V6 is supposed to compete against the Boxster, and the V8 against the 911.

  • Van_Sarockin

    Easily the best looking production Jag in a generation. I'm also relieved they didn't try to push retro styling cues too far. It looks like Tata's ownership might work out rather well.

  • Eric Rood

    That's The Ridge Motorsporst Park, no?

    • I forget the name of the place but it wasn't terribly far outside of Seattle. We did get to take a float plane back, which was awesome.

      I think you might be right though

      • Eric Rood

        The Ridge is in Shelton. That last pic looks like The Ridge Complex, which is a corkscrew-y setup into a long downhill left-hander that is apparently fun to drift in a LeMony Supra.

        [youtube 8c0XoRzO_So http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c0XoRzO_So youtube]

        • They ran LeMons there?! That's awesome. Yes it is definitely the same track.

  • widgetsltd

    No joke. The first time I drove an F-Type V8, I knew that people would buy them just for the sound. It's amazing!

  • Mechanically Inept

    I heard one of these beauties roaring around Birmingham, MI, just a few days before the Dream Cruise back in August. Some time after hearing it, I saw it, and I think it's safe to say it was the prettiest damn thing I saw or heard all weekend.

  • BlackIce_GTS

    2 things surprise me about this car;
    1) The XK is still in production, I thought this was it's replacement.
    2) I have never heard anyone (and this car is getting a lot of press noise) complain about not being able to get a manual. In fact the transmission is barely mentioned.

    I think a lot of the 'character' and 'spirit' of cars is in our heads. I believe this is a very good car, but the idea of it's character that I've formed makes it hard to like without a manual.

    • CABEZAGRANDE

      This is MUCH smaller than the XK, and the focus is different. The F-Type is a sports car, the XK is a grand tourer. The XK is much larger in external dimensions, is much heavier, and has less focus on handling and somewhat more on comfort.

      And no one has complained about not being able to get a manual because the ZF 8-speed is by all accounts a wonderful transmission and they've said since the beginning that the manual was coming soon. When the automatic is this good, people are willing to wait for a manual that will come before too long. I want it to get a manual just so it will make better noises during shifts. The little blaat it makes on upshifts is the only flaw in an otherwise perfect aural character IMO. I understand why the blip on upshift, but I don't like the sound it makes.

    • As an XK fan, I cannot wait until that car gets the makeover it so desperately needs. The F-Type is the car to buy if you're considering an open-top Jag at the moment, no question about it. It's much better, from the seats to the style to the infotainment system.

      And the noise, as you may have noticed from what I've written above… is excellent.