The 2019 Jaguar F-TYPE is a luxury 2-seater sports car in coupe or convertible form. This is a class in which there are several great contenders, but none come close to having the kind of character the F-TYPE exhibits. Some would rather be efficient and capable than charming. The F-TYPE can do all three.
The design challenge of being fully contemporary while still recognizably a Jaguar has been won. Developing the suspension was no doubt similarly demanding. It had to have some of the suppleness for which Jaguar is renowned, yet also be poised and precise. Job done. The acceleration should be wild, and the exhausts should trumpet. But there must also be an element of civilization. Targets achieved.
The F-TYPE is the kind of car that’s a "heart" purchase, yet it appeals to the head as well. It combines visceral old-school thrills with current technology — especially in the safety department. Despite conflicting demands, there doesn’t seem to be an area where compromise holds it back. Some might complain about cabin space or trunk size, but the 2019 F-TYPE 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 2019?
An updated infotainment system brings a 10-inch, high-resolution touchscreen that’s standard in all versions. Fresh paint colors become available. A new secondary naming system reflects engine power (P300, P340 and P380). Emergency braking, adaptive speed limiter, lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition and a driver-condition monitor are also standard throughout.
What We Like
Strong acceleration; epic supercharged V8; highly capable handling; pleasant interior; a real head-turner
What We Don’t
Manual transmission is a nice idea, but not always great in the real world
The entry-level F-TYPE has 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 city driving, 30 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg combined.
The first 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 second upgrade is a more powerful supercharged 3.0-liter V6 developing 380 hp and 339 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive becomes optional at this level, although only with the automatic transmission. Fuel use runs to 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined (rear-drive/automatic) or 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined (AWD/automatic). The R-Dynamic model offers the permutation of this more powerful V6 with rear-wheel drive and the manual transmission, resulting in 15 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined.
The AWD-only/automatic-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 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined.
The F-TYPE SVR, again with AWD and an automatic transmission, is even mightier. That same V8 is tuned here to generate 575 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. It achieves the same gasoline consumption as the R: 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined.
All fuel figures apply to both coupe and convertible versions.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 Jaguar F-TYPE is available as a 2-seater coupe with a glass roof or a 2-seater convertible with a power-retractable fabric top. Both versions come in base, R-Dynamic, R and SVR trim levels.
The base F-TYPE coupe ($61,745) starts with 18-in 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, 12-way power-adjustable seats with driver-side memory settings, power-adjustable steering wheel (tilt-telescope), a self-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, an engine start button, a 10-in touchscreen, navigation, a USB slot, HD/satellite radio, a 12-speaker/770-watt Meridian audio system, emergency braking, adaptive speed limiter, lane-keeping assistance, traffic sign recognition and a driver-fatigue monitor.
The R-Dynamic coupe ($83,045) adds the 380-hp V6, 20-in wheels and an adaptive suspension.
The F-TYPE R coupe ($101,745) gets the supercharged V8, stronger brakes, electronic torque-vectoring limited-slip differential, heated sport seats and rear parking sensors. The coupe has a power tailgate.
The SVR coupe ($123,745) has the most muscle, plus a titanium exhaust system, a fixed carbon fiber rear 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 (coupe).
Convertible variants cost an extra $3,100. An automatic transmission, where it isn’t standard, is another $1,300.
Other 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 miles per hour.
Trunk space is tight in the convertible at 7 cu ft. The coupe is only marginally more accommodating at 11 cu ft.
The F-TYPE comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, six airbags and rollover hoops behind the convertible’s headrests.
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 suitably upscale. 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 forgoing 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. Jaguar says the SVR is capable of 200 mph.
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 AWD 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 AWD provides the perfect line accelerating out of it.
As electrical power steering systems become the norm, purists bemoan the lack of feel that some erstwhile hydraulic systems offered. 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 enjoys 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
2019 Chevrolet Corvette — The Corvette is comparable in many respects to the V8-powered F-TYPE models and costs much less.
2019 Porsche 718 Boxster — For pure open-topped 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.
2019 Porsche 911 — The larger 911 coupe and convertible 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 it still feels incredibly special.
A V8 engine under that long, sleek hood is the ideal way to go, and the R is sufficiently muscular. If, however, it’s the F-TYPE’s looks that are the main attraction, then there’s no need to go for so much horsepower. The F-TYPE is also expected to perform well in terms of resale value.