The supercharged F-Type will someday be a rare and desirable classic.
As much as it pains me to say this as an automotive enthusiast, very few vehicles today evoke emotion. While just about everything offered on the market is varying degrees of “good”, most cars, even sports cars, focus on numbers and Nürburgring lap times, forgetting that one miniscule detail – passion. Jaguar’s F-Type has been around for the better part of seven years now, having been introduced in 2013. Nearing the tail end of the current generation’s model cycle, we took a spin in the 2020 Jaguar F-Type Checkered Flag.
Ian Callum is a talented man, responsible for many timeless designs including the Aston Martin Vanquish, my own Aston Martin Vantage, the Jaguar XKR owned by my colleague Zack Zeraldo, and much of the current Jaguar family that we look at so longingly. This F-Type Coupé is absolutely one of his most beautiful creations, with striking lines and a distinct profile. The LED lights front and rear are gorgeous, and the design of the 20-inch wheels is unique and appears to be one that will age just as nicely as the rest of the car.
The Checkered Flag edition features some exclusive bits that make this F-Type a touch more individualized than others. This model includes Checkered Flag badging front and rear, unique floor mats and steering wheel, red brake calipers, red seat belts, performance seats in Windsor leather, and an exterior black design package with extended side sills. The aforementioned sills are a nice touch, and cause the entire design language of the car to be finished off nicely.
Every single competitor to the F-Type uses turbocharging, which in turn makes for a considerable amount of lag. Jaguar has chosen to stick with a supercharger bolted on to the 3.0-liter V6 employed here, and it creates a distinct driving experience. The V6 puts out 380 horsepower at 6,500RPM and 339 lb-ft. of torque between 3,500 and 5,500RPM. Jaguar claims a sprint time of 5.1 seconds to 100km/h, and a top speed of 275 km/h. In the real world, this thing is a real firecracker.
Putting your foot down doesn’t just cause the engine to immediately respond, but it’s also met with one of the best exhaust notes around. The four-cylinder F-Type sounds just “okay”, and the supercharged V8 in the SVR (reviewed here) is thunderous, but the sweet spot really is the V6. This model is lighter on its feet than the V8, and feels fairly nimble. The F-Type is still in-between a proper sports car and a grand tourer, but remains an adequate representation of both. At 3,700 pounds, it’s no lightweight, but manages to carry itself with the grace of a much lighter car.
Ride quality is on the firmer side, as expected from a sports coupé of this caliber. It’s still very sorted, and the adaptive dampers can adjust at the touch of a button to be either firmer or softer depending on the driving situation. The electrically assisted power steering is good and has a little bit of analog feel, which means the F-Type handles sharply and gives the driver a good amount of control. The Checkered Flag model is also equipped with all-wheel-drive, though this is a rear-biased system.
Fuel economy is surprisingly good with the eight-speed automatic equipped here, and the F-Type delivered highway mileage as satisfying as 8.5L/100km. Our test week consisted of combined driving including some back-road cruising to hear the exhaust roar – we averaged 12.5L/100km. Premium 91-octane fuel is required, and the tank will hold 70L in total.
The one compromise that stops the F-Type from being a full-blown grand touring coupé is an aspect of the interior. While it’s a great design that has passed the test of time with flying colors, it lacks any sort of space to keep your daily carry items. The center console is fairly small, and the door pockets are also tiny. That said, the driving position is excellent, and despite the compact cabin, it’s easy for two people to stay comfortable for longer periods of time, and the stunning full-length glass roof helps considerably to eliminate claustrophobia.
That said; the interior is a wonderful place to be, with theatrics nearly as exciting as those from the supercharged engine. The center air vents slide up out of the dashboard as the climate control system is turned on, and the ergonomics are surprisingly well designed. The seats are extremely comfortable, and power adjustability is on the doors rather than forcing you to awkwardly reach down beside the seat. They’re also heated and ventilated, with the controls hidden neatly within the climate temperature control knobs.
Jaguar’s InControl Touch Pro infotainment system has gotten a bit better over the years, and now adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Using CarPlay makes the system appear much faster than it already is, as the native system is a bit dated and on the slower side. Other major controls, such as the toggle for “Dynamic Mode” as well as the button to switch the performance exhaust on/off, are well designed and obvious.
The 2020 F-Type Coupé starts at $70,500 for the four-cylinder model (reviewed here), and $73,500 for the convertible. The 340-hp V6 example starts at $80,500, and the P380 Checkered Flag tested here at $105,000. No additional options are checked off, as this model comes fairly loaded. Noteworthy standard features include the premium Meridian sound system, InControl wide touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and adaptive dampers with dedicated “Dynamic” mode and performance exhaust that sounds like nothing else in the class.
Depending on what sort of climate you live in, the 2020 Jaguar F-Type Checkered Flag just might be a fantastic daily driver. Even in colder, icier areas, the all-wheel-drive system when coupled with a good set of winter tires would make for great fun in the winter. The issue is ground clearance in snowy cities, where the low-slung sports car’s lower panels may get damaged. Few sports cars today provide the amount of sheer excitement to get behind the wheel as this one does. Mark my words; the supercharged F-Type will someday be a rare and desirable classic.