The updated Jaguar F-Type offers an exhilarating drive with no compromises.
MUSKOKA, ONTARIO – Ah, the end of summer. For those of us heavily involved in the car world, this has a few implications. The powerful sports cars and our prized classics are getting ready for hibernation in preparation for the bleak six months of salted roads and disgusting slush creating a disgusting film over the entire province. There are many ways to give summer a proper send-off, but few are as powerful as this. We were flown from Toronto to the beautiful Muskoka region, where we were handed the keys to the updated 2018 Jaguar F-Type SVR and F-Type 400 Sport models, revised for this model year.
Available in both coupé and convertible forms, the F-Type is a thing of true beauty. Initially brought to life as a 2014 model year vehicle under the helm of Jaguar design chief Ian Callum, there are few vehicles that look this fresh going into their fifth model year. The 2018 update is very subtle, and the new car is almost indistinguishable from the model it replaces. The front bumper is redesigned, and the outer air intakes are new. There are also new headlights, and the 400 Sport model (also new for this year) gets flashier looks including yellow accents inside and out.
There are a bunch of technological advancements on the F-Type, and one of the biggest is the addition of the ReRun feature. This toy allows the driver to pull diagnostic data from the car, and communicate with GoPro cameras – a segment exclusive. A graphic can be placed in your GoPro videos that displays acceleration, speed, braking force, steering angle, gear, and throttle position. The InControl Touch Pro system (8.0”) that we’ve seen on other Jaguar models (reviewed here) is now standard, and also offers features such as sending an ETA to contacts, and additional smartphone connectivity.
Starting at $68,500 for the base model and going all the way past the $150,000 mark for the top-trim SVR (reviewed here), the F-Type has a model for everybody. The availability of different models with unique powertrains, two distinct body styles, and visual personalization options is almost up to par with the Porsche 911 Carrera (reviewed here), a serious rival to the F-Type. Models previously known as F-Type S have been replaced with an R-Dynamic line, which uses the trusted 3.0L supercharged V6, a choice of special 19 and 20” wheels, and both manual and automatic transmissions. The exterior of the new R-Dynamic model also features gloss black trim.
A huge discussion point with the new F-Type is the introduction of a four-cylinder model. This is a first for the F-Type (which was previously only offered in V6 and V8 variants, both supercharged), and allows it to double-dip into both the respective territories of the aforementioned 911 as well as the 718 Boxster and Cayman (reviewed here). The new entry-level car uses the JLR “Ingenium” family 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It has been massaged for this application and features an output of 296 horsepower at 5,500RPM and 295 lb-ft. of torque at 1,500RPM. The only transmission offered here is the Quickshift eight-speed automatic.
Topping off the F-Type line is the ferocious SVR, which boasts a range-topping 575-horsepower supercharged V8, a quad-tipped exhaust that provides one of the best automotive sounds of all time, and special carbon-fiber body bits. We’ve spent a week on our own turf with an SVR, and came away with the impression that it will undoubtedly be a classic someday, and is one of the more appealing choices right now. Pushing it around the twisty roads of the Muskoka region with the top down, my driving partner and I couldn’t help but have shameless grins on our faces the entire time. This is a special car, and even with its all-wheel-drive, delivers an experience second to none within its price point. The SVR starts at $139,500 for the coupé and $142,500 for the convertible.
Perhaps the sweetest spot in the lineup now is the limited edition F-Type 400 Sport. While we only drove the coupé version of this, it’s available in both body styles. It employs the supercharged 3.0L V6, which adds a bit of horsepower, bringing the total number to 400. Aside from yellow accents both inside and out, the 400 Sport Design Package offers dark satin grey and gloss black accents, a configurable dynamic mode, 20” wheels, and performance seats. The F-Type 400 Sport starts at $97,500 for the coupé and $100,500 for the convertible.
After spending a day driving a series of different models, we arrived at the conclusion that for most buyers, the F-Type 400 Sport is the ideal choice. It has the exclusivity of a limited edition, and features the most well rounded motor in the lineup. The weight balance is good, as the supercharged V6 models feel considerably lighter on their feet than their V8 counterparts. The dilemma over whether to choose the coupé or convertible is simply left up to each individual buyer’s preference, but for me, it’s hard to say no to the sleek lines of the coupé.
The 2018 Jaguar F-Type offers an exhilarating drive with no compromises. With its larger sibling, the XK and XKR now fully discontinued, the F-Type soldiers on as the only two-door offering in Jaguar’s lineup. Considering the F-Type is a smaller car to follow in the XK’s footsteps, it’s now safe to say that any qualms about the new car’s ability to be a worthy spiritual successor are gone. Regardless of trim level or powertrain, the F-Type is a wonderful choice, and will keep a wide demographic of buyers very satisfied.