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2016 Jaguar F-TYPE: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader March 2016

The 2016 Jaguar F-TYPE is a 2-seater sports car that feels and looks completely modern, but it still possesses some interesting Jaguar heritage that almost seems to hover in the background. Actually, the F-TYPE performs all sorts of balancing acts.

It addresses and wins the design challenge of being an up-to-date machine that can still be recognized as a Jaguar. The suspension tuning is just as demanding. This model exhibits the supple comfort of a Jaguar but is also poised and precise. The acceleration is wild, and the exhausts trumpet, but there is an element of civilization. This kind of car is a purchase of the heart, yet it needs to appeal to the head, as well. Mission accomplished.

Despite such conflicting demands, there doesn't seem to be any area where there's any detrimental compromise. Some people might complain about cabin size or trunk size, but who cares? This is a sports car, not a Camry.

OK, we have one gripe. Apart from the start button (which pulsates red), the dashboard holds 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 2016?

All-wheel drive is now an option for some models. A 6-speed manual transmission is available in versions with the V6 engine and rear-wheel drive. Steering assistance throughout the range is now electric. The once-optional 770-watt/12-speaker Meridian sound system (developed with an ear to being especially effective in convertibles) has joined the list of standard equipment. And the F-TYPE V8 S has been ditched.

What We Like

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

What We Don't

New manual transmission is a nice idea, but it's not always great in the real world

How Much?

$65,995-$107,445

Fuel Economy

Entry level F-TYPE models have a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 rated at 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it returns 19 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg combined with the 8-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. With the 6-speed manual, it's 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined.

The S models get a boosted version of the same V6 for 380 hp and 339 lb-ft. Fuel economy drops slightly to 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 rear-drive/manual-transmission combination returns 15 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined.

The all-wheel-drive-only F-TYPE R has 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.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 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, S and R trim levels.

The base F-TYPE ($65,995) starts with 18-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, LED accent lights, an automatic power rear spoiler, steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles, a sport exhaust with center-mounted dual tailpipes, leather/suede cloth upholstery, 6-way adjustable seats, an 8-in touchscreen infotainment system, navigation and a 12-speaker/770-watt Meridian audio system.

The F-TYPE S ($78,295) has the more powerful V6, 19-in wheels, an adaptive sport suspension, an active sport exhaust, a mechanical limited-slip differential, power-folding heated mirrors with LED turn signals and puddle lamps, a flat-bottomed heated steering wheel, orange gearshift paddles, keyless entry/start and configurable interior ambient lighting.

The F-TYPE R ($104,595) gets the supercharged V8, 20-in wheels, a sport exhaust with quad tailpipes (and a button to open up the sound), upgraded brakes, an electronic torque-vectoring limited-slip differential, auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated sport seats and rear parking sensors. The coupe has a power tailgate.

Options include a heated windshield, a carbon-fiber roof (for the coupe) and a pricey but strong carbon-ceramic brake system in the S and R trims. Active safety features, such as a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert and a rearview camera, come with the optional Vision pack.

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

Trunk space is at a premium in the convertible, measuring just 7 cu ft. The coupe is only marginally more accommodating at 11 cu ft. Oh well, who wants to play golf when you can drive this?

Safety

The 2016 Jaguar 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).

The F-TYPE hasn't been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Behind the Wheel

The dashboard and controls seem relatively plain, but the materials are of a good quality, and everything seems to be put together well. It might be a good idea to opt for the cool-looking sport seats. The optional extended leather trim also adds character, especially when you choose an adventurous color.

Acceleration is strong in any version, as befits a premium sports car. That being said, it's hard to imagine anyone forgoing the supercharged V8 for any reason other than a financial one. This is one of the best engines in any car, delivering tremendous power with a crackling soundtrack. 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 the 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 car with stunning ability and high-speed stability. In normal circumstances, the new 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 that 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 (for reasons such as fuel economy), old-school types are bemoaning the lack of feel coming up to the hands. 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 new system does not suffer from numbness. It's so good that 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, but 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

2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray -- The Corvette is comparable in many respects to the V8-powered F-TYPE models, and it costs much less.

2016 Porsche Boxster -- For pure driving enjoyment, it doesn't get much better than the Boxster. However, there's no engine in the Boxster's portfolio to match the F-TYPE's V8.

2016 Porsche 911 -- The larger 911 competes closely with V8-engined F-TYPE models in both price and performance.

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

Autotrader's Advice

You should test drive the V6 first, because it will probably be fine. But be careful: Once you drive the V8, there may be no going back.

Find a Jaguar F-TYPE for sale

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Used 2016 Jaguar F-TYPE R Coupe AWD
Used 2016 Jaguar F-TYPE
$66,989
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2016 Jaguar F-TYPE R Coupe AWD
Used 2016 Jaguar F-TYPE
$66,488
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.
2016 Jaguar F-TYPE: New Car Review - Autotrader