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2018 Jaguar F-Type: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2018

The 2018 Jaguar F-Type is the kind of car that's a "heart" purchase, yet it appeals to the head as well. This luxury 2-seater sports car combines visceral old-school thrills with fresh technology -- especially in the safety department.

The design challenge of being an up-to-date machine while still being recognizably a Jaguar has been addressed and won. The suspension tuning was probably just as demanding. It must exhibit the supple comfort of a Jaguar, but also be poised and precise. Job done. The acceleration should be wild, the exhausts should trumpet. But there must also be an element of civilization. Target achieved.

The F-Type performs all sorts of balancing acts. Despite such conflicting demands, though, there doesn't seem to be an area where compromise holds it back. Some people might complain about cabin size or trunk size, but who cares? This is a sports car, not a Camry.

OK, one gripe. Apart from the start button (which pulsates red), the dashboard holds a little less visual interest than the rest of the car. But overall, the F-Type richly deserves its place among the best of its kind.

What's New for 2018?

A new turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is introduced at the entry level. The S trim has been discontinued and in its stead is the R-Dynamic trim level and a limited-edition 400 Sport version. LED headlights are now on the menu, along with an upgraded infotainment system, self-parking feature and lighter seats.

What We Like

Strong acceleration in any model; epic supercharged V8; highly capable handling; pleasant interior; a real head-turner

What We Don't

Manual transmission a nice idea, but not always great in the real world

How Much?

$60,895-$122,895

Fuel Economy

Entry-level models have a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine developing 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. It drives the rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it returns 23 miles per gallon in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in combined driving.

The upgrade is a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 making 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. This is also a rear-drive setup, but as well as an 8-speed automatic transmission, Jaguar offers a 6-speed manual with this engine. Fuel consumption is 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined (automatic) or 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined (manual).

The R-Dynamic gets a boosted V6 for 380 hp and 339 lb-ft. Fuel economy is 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined (rear-wheel drive/automatic transmission). All-wheel drive pushes that to 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined.

The 400 Sport has 400 hp and 339 lb-ft of torque from the same supercharged 3.0-liter V6. Fuel figures are 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined (rear-wheel drive) and 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined (all-wheel drive).

The all-wheel-drive-only F-Type R enjoys a supercharged 5.0-liter V8, developing a mighty 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is 15 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined.

The all-wheel-drive F-Type SVR is even mightier, with that same V8 tuned to generate 575 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. It achieves the same gas consumption as the R: 15 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined.

All fuel figures apply to both coupe and convertible versions.

Standard Features & Options

The 2018 Jaguar F-Type is available as either a 2-seater convertible with a power-retractable fabric top or a 2-seater coupe with a glass roof. Both versions come in base, R-Dynamic, 400 Sport, R and SVR trim levels.

The base F-Type coupe ($60,895) starts with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED lighting, an automatic rear spoiler, steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles, sport exhaust with center-mounted dual tailpipes, rain-sensing wipers, leather/suede-effect fabric upholstery, 6-way adjustable seats with driver's-side memory settings, a power-adjustable steering wheel (tilt-telescope), a self-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, an engine start button, an 8-in touchscreen infotainment system, navigation, a USB slot, HD and satellite radios and a 12-speaker 770-watt Meridian audio system.

The R-Dynamic ($80,895) has the 380-hp V6.

The 400 Sport ($90,495) comes with more power, as well as leather upholstery, ambient cabin lighting and a heated steering wheel.

The F-Type R ($100,895) gets the supercharged V8, 20-in wheels, sport exhaust with quad tailpipes (and a button to open up the sound), stronger brakes, an electronic torque-vectoring limited-slip differential, heated sport seats and rear-parking sensors. The coupe has a powered tailgate.

The SVR ($122,895) has the most power, plus a titanium exhaust system, a carbon-fiber spoiler, parking sensors at the front, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection, quilted stitching in the leather-covered seats and a simulated suede headliner.

Options include a heated windshield, a carbon-fiber roof for the coupe, active-safety features like blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, plus a pricey but strong carbon-ceramic brake system in the sportier trims.

The convertible's top takes 12 seconds to go up or down, and it can operate at speeds of up to 30 mph.

Trunk space is tight in the convertible: 7 cu ft. The coupe is only marginally more accommodating at 11 cu ft.

Safety

The F-Type comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, rollover hoops behind the headrests (for the convertible) and four airbags (front and side). Forward-collision mitigation and a lane-departure warning systems are also standard.

The F-Type hasn't been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Behind the Wheel

The dashboard and controls seem relatively plain, but the quality of the materials is good. And everything seems put together well. The optional extended leather trim adds character, especially when an adventurous color is chosen.

Acceleration is strong in any version. That said, it's hard to imagine anyone foregoing the supercharged V8 for any reason other than financial. This is one of the best engines around, delivering tremendous power with a spine-tingling growl. Flooring the V8's throttle at around 60 mph is a peak experience. The V6-powered versions are perfectly capable and have the slight advantage of less weight up front, but the F-Type feels incomplete without that V8.

On winding roads, the F-Type is less involving than Porsche's best (but Porsche's best is the absolute best). It is, however, unquestionably a world-class sports machine with stunning ability and high-speed stability.

In normal circumstances, the all-wheel-drive system favors the rear wheels to preserve a sporty feel. On a twisting road, slippery surfaces or a race track, the system can send 50 percent of torque to the front wheels for optimum grip and traction. Jaguar says torque vectoring results in the perfect line when entering a corner and all-wheel drive provides the perfect line accelerating out.

As hydraulic power-steering systems are being replaced by electrical versions (and there are several good reasons why, fuel economy being one of them), old-school types bemoan the lack of feel. In many cases, you might as well be twirling a video game controller for all the apparent connection there is to the front wheels and the road. But the F-Type's system does not suffer from numbness. This is how good it is: You don't even think about it. You're too busy enjoying the drive.

Offering a manual transmission is unusual for Jaguar, but not unusual for a sports car. It's fun to a point, yet the automatic has paddle shifters for driver involvement and has the added advantage of being easier to deal with in heavy traffic. Don't beat yourself up if you go for the automatic transmission, you're just being modern.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray -- The Corvette is comparable in many respects to the V8-powered F-Type models and costs much less.

2018 Porsche 718 Boxster -- For pure driving enjoyment, it doesn't get much better than this. However, there's no engine in the Boxster's portfolio to match the F-Type's V8.

2018 Porsche 911 -- The larger 911 competes closely with V8-engined F-Type models in both price and performance.

Used Aston Martin V8 Vantage -- Sensational looks. It's an entry-level model, but still feels incredibly special.

Autotrader's Advice

For the complete Jaguar F-Type experience, choose a version with the V8. It doesn't have to be the full-on SVR, the R will be more than adequate. If the show is more important than the go, the base version can easily handle those duties.

Find a Jaguar F-Type for sale

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Used 2018 Jaguar F-TYPE Coupe
Used 2018 Jaguar F-TYPE
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New 2018 Jaguar F-TYPE Convertible
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New 2018 Jaguar F-TYPE Coupe AWD
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Jaguar F-Type: New Car Review - Autotrader