2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 S Review
Driving Jag’s most powerful sports car
Introverts, hit the back button on your browser now. This vehicle is not for you. It is flashy, impractical and loud. Scratch that; it is not loud, it’s deafening. Imagine a grizzly bear screaming into one ear while a gunslinger fires off a six shooter in the other. Thanks to the active exhaust system, this may well be the loudest stock car we have ever driven. But loud can be more annoying than a mosquito buzzing inside your brain. Thankfully, the noise the F-Type makes is spectacular. Accelerate hard up through the gears and it sounds like an Australian V8 Supercar. Jump off the gas and the engine snarls, pops and backfires like a pro street drag racer. I have owned several vehicles with modified exhausts and most were quieter than this thing.
|1. A 5.0L supercharged V8 makes 495 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque.
2. The only transmission available is an eight-speed automatic.
3. The V8 S is officially rated at 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.
4. The V8 S starts at $92,000 and cost $105,725 as tested after destination charges.
And this is just fine with Jaguar, an automaker quickly becoming the bad-boy of the luxury segment. Cars like the sinister XJL-R and big winged XF-RS look as loud as they sound. Jaguars have quickly transformed from also-rans to cars as opulent as they are brash with the subtlety of an elephant in a motorhome. These cars are in your face, cool and like nothing else on the road. So it should be no surprise that Jaguar brings us the coolest, most stylish and loudest model yet – the F-Type.
A PROPER BRITISH ROADSTER
Designed to take on the likes of the Porsche 911 and Audi R8 V8, the F-Type roadster is a spiritual successor to the legendary Jaguar E-Type; a car often regarded as one of the best looking in history. Like Eli to Peyton, the F-Type has a lot to live up to when compared to its older brother. But Wayne Burgess, lead designer of the F-Type, has done a masterful job and created a drop dead gorgeous car. There is not a single bad angle on this car and Jaguar has done a terrific job with the details. The four tailpipes are slightly bent up and offset to give an old school aggressive appearance. The lower rear valance is actually painted and contains the reverse lights, allowing for a cleaner look on the wrap around rear taillights.
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Jaguar says this is the new design language for all future sporty cars and that is great news. Cleaner lines are achieved through door handles and spoilers that deploy from the body work. Unlock the car and the door handles pop out, while the rear spoiler rises up at 60mph and lowers automatically once speeds drop below 40mph. Of course, those wanting to engage “bro mode” can manually deploy the spoiler at any time.
SUPERCHARGED V8 POWER AND AN AUTOMATIC?
As of now there are there three versions of the F-Type; V6, V6 S and V8 S. The latter comes with a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 that makes a hearty 495 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. Sadly, the F-Type has its wings clipped as the only transmission available for any model is an eight-speed automatic that Jaguar calls “Quickshift” and claims reacts faster than a normal automatic.
Those who say this isn’t a true sports car because of the automatic transmission have a valid point. It is hard to argue that something with a torque converter is all that sporty and had it been a dual-clutch automatic setup, then that would be a different story. In fairness, Jaguar does claim the torque converter is only used for launching the car and then is bypassed. The transmission does its best to fire off quick gear changes in sport mode, or when using the paddle shifters. The computer will blip the throttle on downshifts to perfectly match revs. Even with all the sport settings engaged, the car never enters full manual mode as pressing the throttle to the floor will make the transmission downshift to the lowest possible gear.
See Also: 2014 Jaguar F-Type V6 S Review
Auto tranny or not, the F-Type is Jaguar’s first purpose built sports car since the XJ220. The F-TYPE V8 S can reach 60mph in 4.2 seconds and has a top speed of 186mph. That is pretty damn quick and at any speed, at any engine rpm, this car is ready to launch its occupants into outer-space.
At 3,671 lbs., the F-Type V8 S is neither the lightest vehicle, nor the heaviest. Handling is what should be expected for this segment as is ride quality, which is on the unpleasant side of rough. The big meaty tires are responsible for a lot of the lateral grip achieved in this car, but even at 295 mm wide, will gladly give up traction when getting a little too eager with acceleration. Having driven the V8 S and the V6 S, we can say that the V6 S has the better balance of chassis vs. power as the blown V8 can easily overwhelm the car.
SPORTY PLUSH INSIDE
Being that this is a luxury sports car playing in the $100K bracket, all of the materials inside the Jaguar are top notch and we love the subtle details like the copper-colored dynamic/snow switch, gear selector and paddle shifters. For those who will drive this car deep into the fall, there is a heat steering wheel, heated seats and heated windscreen.
The F-Type is a smallish roadster complete with a miniscule seven cubic-foot trunk, meaning it won’t be taking you and a friend to any tee times. The seats are set deep in the Jaguar’s belly to help lower the center of gravity of the car. Due to this seating position and a high beltline, sightlines are pretty bad and items like the blind spot monitors need to be relied on a bit more than usual.
See Also: 2014 Jaguar F-Type Review - Video
So when the blind spot monitoring system stopped working one foggy morning, we were less than pleased. But, by the afternoon it was working and never happened again during the rest of our evaluation period. While on the topic of issues, our tester had a few others as well. The hood was misaligned and caused the passenger door to rub it when opening and a few of the interior trim pieces were loose. We have since been in a few more F-Types and found none of these issues to be present so we’d chalk our test cars faults to being one-offs found on a vehicle that has probably led a rough life in the press fleet.
Pricing for the F-Type begins at $92,000 with our fully loaded test vehicle hitting the $105,725 mark after destination charges. Although we doubt most owners will care, the V8 S is officially at 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway and we were able to achieve an average of 18.8 mpg.
Bringing a new car to market and calling it the F-Type is a ballsy move by Jaguar as purists would cringe at the thought of a modern day attempt at an E-Type. But Jaguar went all-in and gave this car the style, presence and performance to back its pedigree. The F-Type truly is something special.