Jaguar sharpens the gaze of the F-Type coupe and convertible
It doesn't seem all that long ago we were looking at the Jaguar F-Type for the very first time. But it's actually been a full seven years since the sporty Jag first arrived, bringing us through multiple performance variants, historic throwbacks, a Tour de France shuttle and even a high-leaping rally car. That's a lot of life lived, and in car years, it means it's time to refresh. The 2021 F-Type has been nipped and tucked like an aging movie star and gifted a revitalized powertrain lineup, reworked R chassis, and new interior tech.
When the F-Type was first introduced, one of the knocks on it was that it was a bit derivative of its high-performance sports car contemporaries, a disappointment for a car billed as the spiritual successor to the mold-shattering E-Type. Over time, we came to love its look (and performance), anyway, often finding it one of the best-looking cars on the floor of a given auto show.
We'd like to report that Jaguar has used this refresh cycle to build upon the F-Type's good looks, but it feels more like they've taken a step back and diluted the two-seater into something more generic. The distinctive F-Type eyes have been thinned and stretched into horizontal LED strips, giving the car a narrow gaze that's more modern but also feels like it could belong to half a dozen other marques. The grille and bumper design is cleaner but feels sterile and forgettable — we wouldn't say the outgoing F-Type's split grille was an all-time beautiful styling cue, but it was very "F-Type," whereas the new widened mesh grille looks like it could be sucking air for just about any sports car on the road. Ditto for the droopy "liquid metal" clamshell hood treatment that flushes out the sharper upper grille edge of the pre-refresh F-Type.
Jaguar designers have taken a lighter approach on the remainder of the car, leaving the powerful rear haunches and spring-loaded big cat stance intact while updating areas like the fender vents and rear LED clusters. Each trim and powertrain level also wears specific components and accents, such as the quad exhaust tips jutting out from the F-Type R's rear diffuser and the front J aero blades on the R-Dynamic model.
Inside, Jaguar enhances its driver-centric design, adding a 12-in HD TFT digital instrument cluster with F-Type-specific graphics and a 10-in Touch Pro infotainment system with three tactile dials to augment the smooth glass. The infotainment package benefits from over-the-air updating and comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Materials like Windsor Leather, Suedecloth and Noble Chrome ensure that luxurious comfort is everywhere occupants look and touch, and Jaguar's work extends down to tiny details like the "Jaguar Est. 1935" markings on the seat belt guides and glovebox release surround.
The F-Type engine lineup continues to comprise four-, six- and eight-cylinder options, all paired with an eight-speed Quickshift transmission with paddle shifters and SportShift gear selector. The F-Type R-Dynamic comes equipped with a 380-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V6 and either rear- or all-wheel drive, and the base F-Type has a 296-hp 2.0-liter Ingenium turbo four powering its rear wheels. UK buyers will also be able to opt for a new 450-hp V8 engine in AWD or RWD configurations.
The flagship F-Type R gets a 25-hp boost, relying on a 575-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V8 and torque-on-demand all-wheel drive to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in 3.5 seconds. Handling updates include new springs, new anti-roll bars, and continuously variable dampers recalibrated for cushy low-speed comfort and firm high-speed control. The R rides on new 20-in wheels with specially developed 265/35/ZR20 and 305/30/ZR20 Pirelli P Zero tires.
Jaguar held the global launch for the refreshed F-Type this week, and while it did not release US pricing, it did announce a UK starting price of £54,060 (approx. US$70,250).