Having owned a dozen or more cars at the young age of 51.96, I never entertained a Jag. When the F-Type debuted, I was immediately attracted to the car. Recently, I found a deal I couldn’t ignore. Now I am the proud owner of a mint condition, 15k mile 2016 V6S convertible with more than 2 years of warranty remaining. Life is good. No, great.
First things first, the car has generally exceeded my expectations, which were quite high. I adore the luxury-biased sports car niche the F-Type Jaguar seems to target.
I’ve previously owned three new “luxury cars,” all BMWs, and of those my 1994 325i was probably closet to this Jag experience. That car was more luxury-oriented than today’s mass-fabricated, generally low quality 2s, 3s, 4s and 5s. The '94 I6 sounded amazing and was much better balanced than today’s BMW straight six; I never got tired of that silent motor below 5K RPM howling to life near red line, and the cars thick luxurious leather cockpit. My 2000 Z3 had shades of goodness, but its “Made in USA” DNA engulfed the car in black smoke at 3,300 miles. BMW took four months to return the car with nothing more accomplished than a $120 charge for an oil change. I sold it. My most modern BMW experience, a 2011 135i convertible which, with a JB4 and a few quality/strengthening bolt-ons, is ferociously fast and an even more ferocious maintenance nightmare. Between my own out-of-warranty repairs and the dealer’s in-warranty repairs, my otherwise sleek 135i has racked up more repair bills it than it cost brand new. Pathetic quality. On the good side, I got to drive every loaner in the dealer fleet. Currently, similar victims of “German Engineering” are experiencing around 90% depreciation at the 7 year point and my “other convertible” is right on that mark. I could sell it, but not for actual money, just to transfer title of the endless German car maintenance nightmare. I also have a Nissan I purchased new, with 208K miles of repair-free miles (minus $71 and an hour of my labor to replace the water pump). My all-steel interior and exterior Twin I-Beam 1966 Ford F-100 390 FE show quality restomod is probably the highest overall quality vehicle I own. The high compression FE howl and vertigo inducing idle rumble gives the Jag’s exhaust note a run for its money. So that’s where I’m coming from.
I have only driven the Jag a few thousand perfect miles, too early to comment on reliability. But a few observations nevertheless…
First, I love walking up to the F-Type, IMO the car is the most beautiful sports car of our time. That’s worth a lot to me. It’s no fun to own plain looking car, no matter how well it performs or costs. Otherwise, I’d own a Nissan GT-R, which has earned my business in every way except its Altima looks. It’s darn expensive to build a car with the right outer mold line.
Next, the V6S sounds better than I expected, and again I expected a lot. I drove an R for a weekend and it was similar, if a little sharper, but I slightly prefer the more melodic and voluminous V6S resonance. The interesting thing, IMO, is the F-Type has defined another league of street competition that no one expected. I had much fun demoralizing a gorgeous new Dodge Viper a few days ago. We were stuck in enough traffic to prevent building any real speed, and the poor guy was stuck with his suddenly pathetic, quiet little growl that made him look, well, let’s say, fully emissions compliant. Others might call it shrinkage. By introducing a new level of raucous ROAR followed by a maniacal crackling laughter, the F-Type immediately and unfairly embarrasses much faster cars with this new, asymmetrical street fighting weapon. Jag has created an whole new category of street cred; the F-Type currently defines it, we dominate it totally and completely, and IMO the unexpected humiliation is so compelling that it is here to stay.
Handling is far better than I expected. Flatter funner corners make the car a joy to drive compared to my 135i JB4, which is IMO the best handling BMW of all time, including the 2002. One observation, I replaced the worn OEM P-Zeros with Michelin Pilot Sport A/Ts. The P-Zeros were quieter and noticeably more precise. The Michellins soften the ride a bit at the expense of a touch of predictable but less precise sidewall roll on turn in. Tons of grip, though. Both are great tire choices.
The Jags interior is simple, tactile, beautifully lit at night, and plain comfortable. Of the all of these traits, I value simplicity the most. I love how Jaguar is ignoring the millions-of-meaningless-buttons fad. The F-Type actually has self esteem, it doesn’t care what other people think. The exterior lines are similar; simple and gorgeous speaks for itself. Compare to the insecure current “hypercar” circus.
Now for the not as fun observations…
- The 3.0L base lacks torque down low and feels tapped-out in the mid-range RPM band. The supercharger revives it above 5K RPM, but this is too little to late compared to less expensive, but significantly faster cars. IMO this is due to to small a base motor and the choice to supercharge. Supercharging eliminates lag, but proportional spool isn’t necessarily better than the disconnected modern turbo which can deliver full boost at or before mid 1K RPM. It seems Jag agrees, as the 2.0T has arrived with excellent per-liter output. How long til the 3.0T?
Along these same lines, I didn’t find the 2016 V8R sufficiently more powerful than the V6S to justify the cost and weight. The reason IMO is the HP/TQ relationship. Sadly every R and S dyno I’ve found so far on the internet is fake, none cross anywhere near 5252. So my impressions are all butt dyno dependent. With our linear supercharging, peak hp occurs on a pretty steep curve late in the RPM band. This makes F-Types VERY powerful just moments before red line, but relatively weak elsewhere. A modern turbo could deliver full boost resulting in peak torque, or motive force, from 1500 RPM or so. Or, in the case of the surprisingly formidable Kia Stinger, 1300 RPM, which is why it can pull a 500hp V8 Mustang by 10-15 car lengths in the first 1/8th mile; an insurmountable lead in the quarter. The difference is full accelerative force, or Torque, across the full RPM band versus a peak near the end. I think we would benefit from a modern turbo. Has anyone layered a turbo on top of the supercharger?
- The ZF 8-speed needs faster crisper shifts to compete in this price range. If we are going to sacrifice a MT for paddles, the automatic needs to pull the MT version of the same car by a few car lengths. Inarguable speed improvement is what sold the double clutch as the new standard for high performance. Jag is including a standard automatic at a double-clutch price. A modern transmission would shave 3 tenths IMO, which might justify the loss of a stick.
Food for thought.