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2014 Jaguar F-Type: Smartly-Integrated Tech And Almost 500 Hp

Jaguar's 2014 F-Type: Now With Geek Cred

You can’t really call yourself a geek if you're not a fan of Star Wars, right? Surely you remember the Galactic Empire's TIE fighter. This iconic starfighter was terrifying for its agility. And what does that have to do with the sport car's headlight you see pictured?

During the development of Jaguar's 2014 F-Type, company employees put up a poster of the TIE fighter for inspiration, culminating in this car's headlamp. If you look closely, you can see the HID projector as the fighter's body, while chrome wings come out to complete the TIE fighter look (perhaps more accurately, Vader's TIE Advanced x1). It's a subtle nod to Star Wars, giving this gorgeous ride a little bit of superficial geek cred. Jaguar finishes the headlamp with a strip of LED running lights that form the letter J, too.

One Sexy Cat

Roughly 40 years have passed since Jaguar's last sports car. So, the company knew it had a tough battle ahead in Audi's R8, Porsche's 911 Carrera, and Aston Martin's V8 Vantage. While those are great cars, Jaguar is aiming lower at the uncontested space between roadsters like Mercedes-Benz's SLK, BMW's Z4, Porsche's Boxster and the market favorites mentioned above.

Designed by Ian Callum, design director at Jaguar, the new F-Type is simply stunning. A car should look fast, even when it's standing still, according to Mr. Callum’s philosophy. Needless to say, this car's body is clearly built for speed. Clean, smooth lines channel predatory felines of years past.

Jaguar's F-Type Media Event

To launch its brand new F-Type, Jaguar flew automotive press to the beautiful Pacific Northwest for a fun-filled day of driving. Fortunately for us, we were already in the area. A one-hour drive got us to the hotel in Seattle where the festivities began.

Why bother with Washington to introduce a topless car when it's raining most of the year? Contrary to popular belief, summers here are gorgeous. I don't even remember the last time it rained. That weather, coupled with amazing new mountain roads leading up to Mt. Rainier and The Ridge Motorsports Park, made this the perfect destination. During our time with the F-Type, we only saw the slightest little drizzle. That wasn't enough for us to put the top up, though...

The Infotainment System

The F-Type's driver-focused interior sports the company’s standard eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It's a pretty simple system that does the job we expect it to. There's nothing explicitly wrong with touchscreen infotainment systems per se, but we prefer more physical control. To Jaguar's credit, there are a couple of buttons for direct access to functions like navigation, music, and phone control. There’s even a volume knob next to the shifter.

This is going to sound funny, but the climate control knobs are the coolest part of the center stack. Jaguar employs rotary knobs with a rubber coating that feels really well-built. However, each knob also has its own OLED display that shows the automatic climate control temperature, seat heater setting, and fan adjustments. The feature is subtle, but reminds me of the Optimus Maximus OLED keyboard and its individual display keys.

Below the control knobs are toggle switches for other HVAC features. Jaguar claims that inspiration for the toggle switches comes from military jets, though we'd still prefer to think we're in the cockpit of that TIE fighter.

Old-School Gauges And An LCD

Jaguar employs standard analog gauges for its main speedometer and tachometer, as proper sports cars should. Between the instruments is a five-inch LCD that shows coolant temperature, fuel level, a digital speedometer, vehicle warnings, and fuel economy information. The sandwiched display is useful because it ties in with the navigation system and conveys upcoming directions. Kudos to Jaguar for unifying both information centers, which some companies still don't do.

Hidden Air Vents

The F-Type is a driver’s car, which is why Jaguar designed the interior for maximum visibility. High-mounted vents are typically an eyesore in cars with low dashboards, particularly when the LCD is kept at head level for quick, safe glances. This conundrum is addressed by Jaguar with active center air vents. They hide stealthily when the car or its climate control system are off. When the air conditioning or heater get turned on, they pop up automatically. As far as novelty goes, this rivals the rising shift knob in Jaguar's sedans.

Adaptive Dynamics System

Adaptive suspension systems are great for making dynamic adjustments on the fly as road conditions change. Jaguar's high-end S models get its Adaptive Dynamics technology, which monitors the suspension 100 times every second, while polling the steering input 500 times a second. The result is a vehicle that tracks beautifully in a straight line and turns into curves confidently, as I discovered in the V8S model around The Ridge Motorsports Park.

You're also able to manually adjust other aspects of the car through its infotainment system, including the transmission, engine, steering, and suspension. Track-focused drivers even have access to an integrated stop watch and G-meter.

Back-Up Camera

Back-up cameras are pretty standard nowadays. The F-Type doesn’t really need one, especially with its top down, but Jaguar integrates on anyways. It's stealthily installed in the sheet metal below the license plate. Mounted flush, this is at least one of the cleanest back-up camera installations we've come across.

Blind Spot Monitor

Jaguar arms the F-Type with a blind spot monitoring system too, which simply flashes an icon in the side mirrors if a vehicle is in your blind spot. Although we appreciate this functionality in larger, unwieldy vehicles, it's more of a checklist option in the F-Type. Blind spots aren't really a problem in a car you're going to be driving with its top down.

Ambient Lighting

Increasingly, control over ambient lighting is popular in new cars. Jaguar embraces this as an option, offering five different colors: phosphor blue, pale blue, white, coral, and red. Ambient lighting is adjustable through the infotainment system. We weren't driving the F-Type at night though, so we missed out on the impact of this feature.

Three Motors To Choose From

The F-Type is available with three different motor options, two V6s and a V8. All three have superchargers strapped onto them. Naturally, they make different levels of power. The 3.0 L V6 puts out 340 hp, which propels the car from zero to 60 in 5.1 seconds. Stepping up to the F-Type S bumps power up another 40 hp and cuts the 0-60 MPH sprint to 4.8 seconds. The F-Type V8 S is the flagship, and it comes armed with a 5.0 L V8 that gets to 60 MPH in 4.2 seconds, backed by 495 hp.

All three motors include start/stop technology that shuts the engine off at idle. Frankly, this "feature" is obnoxious. It was very noticeable when the motor started or turned off. This might be something you want on a sub-compact or SUV, but it lacks refinement on a luxury sports car. Fortunately, you can disable the capability altogether by toggling the Eco button, though annoyingly, it re-enables every time the car starts.

  • xPandaPanda
    Torque > Horsepower...
    Reply
  • FloKid
    Where are the benchmarks?
    Reply
  • thasan1
    shut up and take my bank account and my house and my kidneys!
    Reply
  • Grandmastersexsay
    11363091 said:
    Torque > Horsepower...

    No.

    Horsepower = (Torque x RPM)/5252

    The only reason you want more torque is because it gives you more horsepower. Having more low end torque simply gives you more low end horsepower, which equals more average horsepower, or more power under the curve. Horsepower dictates your rate of acceleration, not torque. You could gear a bicycle to produce 1000 ft lbs of torque, but the person peddling it still will only be able to produce about 1/4 hp.

    Saying torque > horsepower is like saying mass > force. It just doesn't make any sense. Force = mass x acceleration.
    Reply
  • vertexx
    11364117 said:
    Having more low end torque simply gives you more low end horsepower, which equals more average horsepower, or more power under the curve. Horsepower dictates your rate of acceleration, not torque.

    Thanks for the physics lesson - you had it almost right, though, until you said that Horsepower dictates your rate of acceleration - wrong.

    You actually answered your own question. F=M*A, so conversely, A = F/M. Torque is angular force. So, angular or rotational acceleration is proportional to Torque, not Power. The key, though, is that Torque at the wheels is what matters. Therefore, rotational horsepower of an engine can be applied through the appropriate rotational speed reduction (in the transmission) to result in the greatest amount of Torque at the wheel.

    But ultimately, Torque at the wheel results in acceleration.
    Reply
  • vertexx
    Great write-up guys! Definitely my kind of hardware review, and I'm sure it certainly is a nice break from the tireless redundancy of hardware performance testing.

    Is there a performance benchmark for car navigation systems? Haha! My bet though is you'll eventually need one. Or how about that Adaptive Dynamics System, can it be OC'd to get 600 steering input samples per second?

    Regarding the car, overall awesome design, but I'm a little mixed on the details. I think Jaguar has its work cut out to come up with a design that is their own. Right now, the front-end (picture 2) is a little too "Lightning McQueen" and the back-side view (picture 3) is a little too "Miata".

    Overall nice to see something fresh in this segment though.
    Reply
  • bambiboom
    Gentlemen?,
    The Jaguar F-type could not help having a degree of disappointment, given the years of teaser-hype expectation building and numerous car show and rendering false starts of the E-type successor, but my disappointment goes deeper, into the realm of market research pandering.

    The problem is that with the F-type, Jaguar has embodied Jaguar's marketing position as a rich man's mid-life crisis demographic/ style / branding marketing committee driven company rather than from the individualist car-enthusiast's mold.

    It's not the shameless copying of the BMW Z8 (of 1999!), the addition of a boring, turn of the Century interior ( and nowhere as interesting as the Z8's), and a small helping of Ferrari California, it's that overwhelming sense of market pandering and brand/ line position in which the F-type can't be more exciting than an XK8. This is a page from the Porsche corporate playbook that hobbled the looks and performance potential of the mid-engined Boxster- so as not to detract from the market-core rear-engine 911 series. The market dialed-in Jaguar of today, like Porsche, can't afford to make the cheaper car better in any way than the top end one.

    They'll sell a pile thanks to the marketing committee's fine work with target group surveys and the number of recently divorced, 55-year old CPA's in Los Angeles earning more than $110,000 per year, but the F-Type is nowhere near the league of inspiration of the E-Type.

    Cheers,

    BambiBoom

    Reply
  • tuanies
    11364527 said:
    Great write-up guys! Definitely my kind of hardware review, and I'm sure it certainly is a nice break from the tireless redundancy of hardware performance testing.

    Is there a performance benchmark for car navigation systems? Haha! My bet though is you'll eventually need one. Or how about that Adaptive Dynamics System, can it be OC'd to get 600 steering input samples per second?

    Regarding the car, overall awesome design, but I'm a little mixed on the details. I think Jaguar has its work cut out to come up with a design that is their own. Right now, the front-end (picture 2) is a little too "Lightning McQueen" and the back-side view (picture 3) is a little too "Miata".

    Overall nice to see something fresh in this segment though.

    We do have navigation system benchmarks but those are reserved for the week-long loaner vehicles. I wanted to give the picture story for a launch event a shot because we only get to spend a day with the car paired with another journalist. Its fun but we don't quite have the time to get detailed footage and benchmarks of every tech aspect as we usually do. Unfortunately, the events are the only place we get access to the product managers, designers and engineers to ask our tech focused questions.

    11364605 said:
    Gentlemen?,
    The Jaguar F-type could not help having a degree of disappointment, given the years of teaser-hype expectation building and numerous car show and rendering false starts of the E-type successor, but my disappointment goes deeper, into the realm of market research pandering.

    The problem is that with the F-type, Jaguar has embodied Jaguar's marketing position as a rich man's mid-life crisis demographic/ style / branding marketing committee driven company rather than from the individualist car-enthusiast's mold.

    It's not the shameless copying of the BMW Z8 (of 1999!), the addition of a boring, turn of the Century interior ( and nowhere as interesting as the Z8's), and a small helping of Ferrari California, it's that overwhelming sense of market pandering and brand/ line position in which the F-type can't be more exciting than an XK8. This is a page from the Porsche corporate playbook that hobbled the looks and performance potential of the mid-engined Boxster- so as not to detract from the market-core rear-engine 911 series. The market dialed-in Jaguar of today, like Porsche, can't afford to make the cheaper car better in any way than the top end one.

    They'll sell a pile thanks to the marketing committee's fine work with target group surveys and the number of recently divorced, 55-year old CPA's in Los Angeles earning more than $110,000 per year, but the F-Type is nowhere near the league of inspiration of the E-Type.

    Cheers,

    BambiBoom


    Interesting thoughts. But you are right, they will sell a ton of them. But that is exactly what Jaguar needs. Their sales are on the upswing and I find their entire lineup very attractive, the cars look angry but still classy. I know there was a lot of opposition when the XJ debuted and lost the signature 4 round headlights, but that was a big gamble that paid off for them. These designs and positioning are how Jaguar manages to stay alive as a brand and not get killed off like Saab. Sure it doesn't have the character or class as the older E-Type, but incorporating some of the design cues is a nice nod to the E-Type. The F-Type is a much more refined car that you can live with as a daily driver and it won't try to kill you.
    Reply
  • clownbaby
    Oh jaguar, your cars are so shiny and always sport such lofty "specs", but end up in cheap used car lots, full of broken plastic, bad wiring, broken motors etc, and being sold to poor schleps that buy them as a status symbol. When I see a jaguar on the road with more than 30k miles and it's not a complete piece of garbage, I'll think about taking them seriously. But really, why would anyone even consider a jaguar when there are so many other great cars out there in a similar price range that won't fall apart 2 blocks off the lot.
    Reply
  • JPNpower
    This is a good successor to the E-Type
    Reply