The 2018 Jaguar F-Type line was expanded with additional powertrain choices, and the styling was revised with four distinct front bumpers to distinguish models.
For 2018, F-Type is available with six engines: among them a new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 296 horsepower; three supercharged V6s with 340, 380 and 400 horsepower; and the supercharged V8s, called the R and SVR, with 550 and 575 horsepower.
A Jaguar F-Type is a great alternative to a Porsche or Corvette, and the F-Type R is one of the best sports cars on the road today. Available as coupe or convertible, the coupes are particularly handsome and are the best expression of the design, with a plunging rear that evokes the original 1962 E-Type coupe.
The new turbocharged four-cylinder is mated to an 8-speed automatic, while the supercharged V6s are mated either to a 6-speed manual or the 8-speed automatic, with all-wheel drive available. The F-Type R and SVR are both all-wheel drive, and go with an 8-speed automatic.
The turbocharged four-cylinder model keeps the price of entry low while propelling the F-Type from zero to 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds. The popular 3.0-liter supercharged V6 with 340 horsepower can accelerate from zero to sixty in 5.1 seconds and hit 161 miles per hour. Next is the F-Type S with the same engine making 380 horsepower that can accelerate from zero to sixty in 4.8 seconds and can reach a top speed of 171 miles per hour. The 400-hp V6 is a bit quicker. The V6 models sound a little coarse under acceleration, with the whine of the supercharger subdued to the point where it’s drowned by engine noise.
The F-Type R uses a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 making 550 horsepower that accelerates from zero to sixty in 3.9 seconds, with a top speed of 186 miles per hour. Optional sport exhaust makes it sound throaty, like a giant telephone book being ripped apart on acceleration, popping like fresh popcorn on deceleration.
The F-Type SVR makes 575 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, dropping the 0-60 time to 3.5 seconds and raising the top speed to 200 miles per hour. There’s lots of carbon-fiber trim, and a titanium exhaust system makes the engine downright raucous. Its suspension and steering are tuned for performance, while carbon-ceramic brakes are available. It needs a track to be pushed.
The 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is just about the best automatic we know (that isn’t a twin-clutch). If you must have an old-school manual gearbox, you’ll have to stick to the base 340-hp F-Type with rear-wheel drive. It’s good but the sweet automatic shifts faster and gets better fuel mileage.
The new turbo-4 base engine is EPA-rated at 23 mpg City, 30 Highway, 26 Combined. The 340-hp V6 with 8-speed automatic rates 19/27/22 mpg, or 1 mpg less with all-wheel drive. The 6-speed manual brings it down to 16/24/19 mpg. F-Types with the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 get 15/23/18 mpg, with either 550 or 575 hp. All the engines require Premium gasoline.
Standard equipment includes leather upholstery, 8.0-inch touchscreen for Jaguar’s InControl Touch infotainment, LED headlights, a 380-watt Meridian-branded audio system, power front seats with memory, navigation, and a rearview camera. Options include upgraded leather and heated seats.
The rest of the F-Type coupes come standard with a panoramic sunroof. The F-Type R has its own sports seat design, performance brakes, upsized wheels, and an electronic limited-slip rear differential. The F-Type S model has an active exhaust system, driving modes, adaptive dampers, 19-inch wheels, ambient lighting, and a limited-slip rear differential. The SVR gets track-oriented suspension tuning and the most horsepower.
All F-Types get Jaguar’s EliteCare, which covers five years of standard maintenance.
The nose of the F-Type is sleek and tall, with a big grille that isn’t an oval and LED accents that sharpen the look from front. The lines along the side flow beautifully, with inset door handles to keep things flat and smooth. The roofline of the coupe is streamlined. The best view is from the rear, with powerful haunches and rounded taillamps that suggest history.
The seats get firmer and more bolstered, as the horsepower in the models rises. The trunk stays the same tiny size, although no smaller than any other two-seat sports car. The power convertible top folds at speeds up to 30 mph.
The cabin is quiet inside, until you hammer the throttle and either the coarse V6 or throaty V8 do their thing. With the new turbo four, an artificial exhaust sound is pumped into the cabin.
The F-Type offers a four-season asset: available all-wheel drive, standard on V8 models and optional with most V6s. We like the all-wheel drive for its practicality, and there isn’t a strong sense of all-wheel drive when driving it, with bias toward the rear where it belongs.
The heavier V8 doesn’t handle as light and direct as the V6, but almost.
The new 296-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, is strong. It makes a great daily driver, with the softest ride on standard 18-inch alloy wheels, though the engine is a little buzzy at low speeds.
The Convertible F-Type takes bumps harder than the Coupe, but that doesn’t make the handling sloppy. The available adaptive dampers help a lot. They bring out the sports car in this Jaguar.
The 3.0-liter is quick and nimble, but yaw-happy, and lacking the precision of a Porsche Boxster or Cayman. The ride is stiff but not jarring. The coupe, being more rigid than the convertible, handles better, with or without the adaptive dampers.
The F-Type R almost matches the precision of the Boxster and Cayman, in spite of the Jaguar’s greater mass. The F-Type R feels at home on the track. It’s more entertaining to drive than anything in its class, except the Porsche 718 Cayman S and Corvette Z06. The suspension is firmer but not stiff, and the steering is brilliant.
The F-Type SVR is made for track days, with a ride that is punishing around town. Optional carbon-ceramic brakes are expensive.
The Jaguar F-Type is among the best sports cars in the world. With the new and lower-cost turbocharged four, F-Type models cleanly cover the stretch from daily driver to staggering track-day supercharged V8 beast. The transmission is the best 8-speed automatic in the game. It takes a high-performance Porsche 911 or Corvette Z06 to top one of these.
Sam Moses contributed to this review, with staff reports by The Car Connection.