The Jaguar F-Type is a study in how to age gracefully. It was stunning at launch, but Jaguar has gradually refined its design over the last eight years to create the aggressive beast you see here.
Even in 2022, it turns more heads than some significantly more expensive metal. That alone will be enough to win some buyers over.
Of course, this Big Cat is more than a pretty face. Even this entry-level model packs power from a supercharged V8 engine, and offers a brilliant blend of outright fun and daily driveability. Then there’s the way it sounds…
Turns out age hasn’t wearied the F-Type. It’s only made it better.
The P450 is technically the entry-level model in the F-Type range, with a sticker price of $164,900 before on-road costs.
Our tester was optioned to $190,670 before on-roads, however. Although that’s not cheap, even after those options it’s $75,000 less than you’ll pay for the range-topping F-Type R. As you’ll learn later, the P450 isn’t what you’d call slow.
Rivals? The F-Type goes head-to-head with the Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0, although the Porsche takes a very different approach to the bombastic Jaguar.
You could also feasibly cross-shop the V8 F-Type with a Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe if fire and brimstone is what you’re after, although the bent-eight AMG isn’t long for this world.
F-Type P450 R-Dynamic highlights:
- 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
- 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Satellite navigation
- DAB+ digital radio
- Apple CarPlay/Android Auto (wired)
- 10-speaker 380W Meridian sound system
- 20-inch alloy wheels
- Switchable active exhaust
- Metal treadplates
- Adaptive Dynamics (adaptive dampers)
- Configurable Dynamics (selectable drive modes)
- Keyless entry and start
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Single-zone climate control
- LED headlights
- Six-way power front sport seats
- Leather and suedecloth upholstery
- Power-adjustable steering column
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Ambient lighting
There are a few interesting omissions from that list, given the F-Type’s billing as a premium sports car. As is always the case with Jaguar Land Rover cars, you’ll need to go diving through the options list to get the best bits and pieces.
Our tester featured the exterior black pack ($4740), extended leather interior ($4720), British Racing Green metallic paint ($2950), tan Windsor leather Performance Seats with an ebony/tan interior ($2330), and the fixed panoramic glass roof ($2110).
That’s not all, folks. The P450 also features 20-inch wheels in gloss black ($1790), a powered tailgate ($1160), heated and cooled seats ($1150), dual-zone climate control ($1040), red brake calipers ($1010), blind-spot assist and rear cross-traffic alert ($1000), aluminium paddles ($700), privacy glass ($650), and auto-dimming and folding mirrors ($420).
The Jaguar F-Type hasn’t been tested by ANCAP.
Standard safety equipment includes:
- Autonomous emergency braking
- Lane-keep assist
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Driver attention monitoring
- Four airbags (convertible) or six airbags (coupe models)
The F-Type still looks and feels modern for the most part, and it still has a lovely sense of theatre.
The air vents rise slowly from the dashboard when you prod the pulsing start button, and the dashboard essentially blocks out the passenger with its leather-trimmed grab handle. Although most of the buttons and switches feature elsewhere in the Jaguar Land Rover world, the F-Type feels like its own thing.
They might look a bit racy, but the optional Performance Seats are comfortable enough to use daily. They’re padded where it matters and, combined with the slim door sills, make the F-Type one of the easiest sexy two-seaters to exit gracefully.
The driving position is excellent. You sit nice and low, and even tall drivers are able to slide the seat far enough back. At six-foot-seven the cabin is tight for me, but it’s also more liveable than most two-seaters.
Most of the materials are lovely. The leather and stitching feels as expensive as it looks, the chubby steering wheel is a quality item, and the centre console trim is an interesting material. Detracting from the quality feeling, though, are the brittle column stalks and plastic door handles.
The F-Type is the only Jaguar still available with the older Touch Pro infotainment system; the rest of the range has moved to the faster, more connected Pivi Pro system.
It’s still serviceable, but it’s easy to see why Jaguar has moved on. The graphics are basic, and it’s not the fastest system going around, although it has a generous feature list and – crucially – wired smartphone mirroring. It packs a decent sound system, too.
The F-Type isn’t meant to be a high-tech showpiece for Jaguar, so the fact it’s not on the bleeding edge when it comes to infotainment technology is okay.
Facing the driver is a fully-digital instrument binnacle, which can be configured to show two fake analogue dials or a central dial with information pods on either side. Once again, it’s not cutting-edge… but it also doesn’t limit the car’s appeal.
You’ll fit a surprising amount of stuff into the F-Type. There’s a space between the seats, two cupholders, and decent door bins in the cabin itself, and the boot is very usable provided you’re not married to carrying a spare wheel.
A set of golf clubs will fit back there, along with a couple of weekend bags and some shopping. It’s dead easy to load thanks to the glass hatchback, and makes this a car you could easily drive every day.
Tony even managed to squeeze a lockdown’s worth of toilet paper in a previous F-Type press car, which takes some doing.
Jaguar says there’s between 300 litres and 500 litres of space back there, and the first number feels accurate.
Can we talk about the bonnet before we talk about what’s beneath it? The massive clamshell bonnet opens forwards in a nod to the legendary E-Type, something nerds everywhere will appreciate.
Beneath it is a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 pumping out 331kW of power and 580Nm of torque, sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The 100km/h sprint takes a claimed 4.6 seconds.
Claimed fuel economy is 10.6 litres per 100km, and the F-Type demands minimum 95 RON premium unleaded.
Real-world economy fluctuated between 11L/100km and, erm, more than that in the city. If you’re worried about saving the planet, this isn’t the car for you.
If there’s a better-sounding car on sale in 2022, we’re yet to find it. Even the way it fires up is dramatic; snarling into life and settling into an angry but polished, velvety idle.
Even at low speeds, the engine dominates the F-Type experience. Even in its quieter mode the exhaust is always there, letting you know you’re driving something special.
There’s a notable tone change at around 3500rpm; there’s more brass to the sound, and it just keeps getting louder all the way to redline. Lift off and there’s plenty of crackle, pull a gear at full throttle and it makes all kinds of sexy, metallic noises. Although it’s subtle, there’s also just a hint of supercharger whine thrown in for good measure.
This is the slower F-Type, but you’re never left wanting for more power. It feels properly quick in a straight line, with lovely low-down torque (thanks to the supercharger) giving way to a determined top-end rush. There’s no turbo-style tsunami of shove through the mid-range, just a lovely feeling of linearity from idle to redline.
It’s a shame the transmission is a bit clunky. Unlike the snappy dual-clutch transmissions now common on cars like the 718 Boxster, the eight-speed torque converter in the Jag isn’t quite as quick on upshifts and can occasionally be shunty when downshifting at lower speeds. Hardly a deal-breaker, though.
The idea of a powerful, rear-wheel drive coupe with a short wheelbase might not inspire confidence but, in the dry, the F-Type doesn’t feel short on traction. You can unsettle it with a heavy right foot in first or second, but a combination of traction control and 295mm-wide Pirelli P Zero tyres means it generally just digs in and gets going.
Jaguar has imbued the F-Type with a distinctly old-school feel when you’re in a hurry. It takes some time to get used to how long the nose is, and the feeling of sitting just in front of the rear axle, but once you’re dialled in there’s plenty of fun to be had.
The steering has plenty of weight, and feels nice and quick off centre. The nose is keen to turn, and once you’re into a corner the balance is classic rear-wheel drive. You can feel the rear nibbling away when you get on the throttle; dive deeper into the right-hand pedal’s travel and oversteer is on the menu.
On bumpy Australian backroads, the Dynamic suspension mode is too firm. Thankfully, body control is good enough in Normal mode when you’re in a hurry, but still allows the car to breathe over the sort of bumps that unsettle it in Dynamic.
It’s not 718 Cayman sharp, but the more brutish (or should that be British?) character of the Jaguar is just as charming.
You don’t need to be driving it fast to have fun, though. With a massive boot and comfortable interior, you could happily commute in an F-Type, provided you can afford the fuel. Sure, the hidden plastic splitter under the front bumper doesn’t love steep driveways, but there isn’t much else getting in the way.
Jaguar has tuned the adaptive suspension to slacken off nicely in Normal mode, so pitted urban streets won’t leave you shaken, and the rear-view camera makes reverse parking relatively simple.
The F-Type is backed by Jaguar Land Rover’s five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, with five years of roadside assistance.
Maintenance is required every 26,000km or 12 months, whichever comes first.
Five years of servicing is included free with the F-Type. An earlier version of this story quoted an incorrect price for a service plan; that error has been corrected and scoring has been updated.
The Jaguar F-Type represents the end of an era.
Jaguar Land Rover CEO, Thierry Bollore, has laid out his grand new vision for the Jaguar brand and (spoiler alert) it doesn’t include anything petrol-powered after 2025, let alone a snarling V8 dinosaur like the F-Type.
We might see something that’s pretty like the F-Type after 2025, and Jaguar will undoubtedly create something faster… but that isn’t really the point.
So, which F-Type should you buy before time runs out? There’s a strong case to be made for the P450.
It’s every bit as attractive as the F-Type R, and a few choice options make it every bit as luxurious. The R is faster, but the P450 isn’t what you’d call slow, and still packs the savage exhaust we love about V8-powered Jaguars.
There’s something inherently right about the idea of a front-engined, rear-wheel drive British grand tourer, too.
Given around $200,000 to spend on a car to drive just for the sake of it, the F-Type would be hard to ignore. Doesn’t matter if you’re going fast or slow, it’ll put a huge smile on your face.
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MORE: Everything Jaguar F-Type