Jaguar F-Type roadster follows in footsteps of automotive legend

By Paul Borden

(April 18, 2017) Three years ago or so Jaguar paid homage to its illustrious past when it brought the F-Type to the market. It was the first roadster from the company in 40 years and stirred memories of the legendary Jaguar E-Type, which was based on the British marque’s D-Type racing car and manufactured from 1961-75.

Such was the admiration for the E-Type that Enzo Ferrari, who had some great looking machines coming out of his own shop, flatly declared it “the most beautiful car ever made.” High praise indeed.

So the F-Type had a lot to live up to when it came out as a soft-top convertible for 2014 and coupe the following year.

I’d say it has done a pretty good job of meeting that standard. If not the “most beautiful car in the world” — a subjective observation if there ever was one — it certainly ranks among the top five or so in today’s vehicles, though frankly I’m not sure why I picked five because I can’t think of four others I would rank ahead of it.

It’s that eye-pleasing and draws admiring glances whether it is sitting in the driveway or cruising the streets. But to attain potential legendary status as a sports car a vehicle has to deliver in performance, and there the F-Type lives up to its promise as well.

Originally offered with both supercharged V6s and V8s that ranged from 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque to 495/460, respectively, Jaguar upped the ante for the F-Type in succeeding years with S and R trims that boosted those numbers up to 550/502.

For 2017, the Jaguar F-Type SVR — my drive for the week — even blows away those numbers with 575 hp and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. It leaps from zero-to-60 mph in 3.5 seconds and from 50 to 75 in 2.3, which helps not only when passing a slower vehicle but finding an open spot when changing lanes in traffic.

With five trim levels overall, F-Types with the V6 engine are available with rear-wheel drive and manual transmissions, but V8 models like the SVR come only with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. It has a sport mode and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for manual gear selection if desired.

That combination results in fuel mileage figures of 15 miles-per-gallon city, 23 highway and 18 combined with premium fuel recommended. Numbers for the V6 are 20/28/23 with an automatic and 16/24/19 with the six-speed manual. In the works for 2018 is a turbocharged 2.0-turbo 4-cylinder engine with 295 lb.-ft. of torque that claims a zero-to-60 time of 5.4 seconds.

In addition to appearance and performance, the F-Type also rates highly when it comes to the comfort and conveniences associated with the luxury class. The company didn’t skip when it came to quality materials. The power adjustable seats don’t recline all that far, this being a two-seater, but are power adjustable 14 ways and have adjustable side bolsters for support when pushing it around corners. The seats essentially envelop you when you get in.

Standard equipment on the F-Type SVR convertible includes a fully electric power top, premium Meridian sound system, touch-screen operation for the navigation system and other functions, automatic climate control, rearview camera, keyless entry and push-button start, blind-spot monitor (much appreciated with the restricted view you get with the top up), quilted leather seats, and suede dash trim.

Standard exterior features included HID headlights, a switchable active exhaust system, adaptive dynamic suspension, and a carbon fiber aerodynamic spoiler.

All that is included in the MSRP of $128,800 for the F-Type SVR — which approaches double the MSRP for the base F-Type convertible. Throw in the $995 destination and delivery fee and options like an extended leather package, carbon-fiber center console, illuminated treadplates, wheel locks, and a car care kit and the total for my test ride came to $132,283.

One of the few shortcomings I found is in the technology. Jaguar always seems to be behind the curve when it comes to the operation of the gadgets and gizmos that fill modern luxury cars today, whether it be in the graphics or the steps needed to operate the functions. There was not a voice command system for audio or nav functions in the SVR, which doesn’t bother me but might some in the younger generation.

Here’s one of the mysteries in auto life. Why is it that the more expensive a car is, the more complicated operating the technological features becomes? At least the phone connects easily enough.

The shortfalls in technology, however, are trivialities compared to what the F-Type SVR offers in the way of performance, appearance, and luxury. Get behind the wheel and you’ll likely agree.

What I liked about the 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR: The performance is exhilarating. Flipping the switch on the console to “Dynamic” even adds to the auditory experience with a staccato cadence coming from the dual-quad exhausts.

What I didn’t like about the 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR: In addition to the techno quirks, the convertible trunk is small (only 7.3 cubic feet) and oddly shaped to accommodate the rear wheel wells. Not that you’re going to do a lot of hauling in it, but I’m not sure you could fit two average-size suitcases in there, especially if they were hard cases.

Would I buy the 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR? Yes. Yes. Yes. it’s a great choice in the segment.