2020 Jaguar F-Type
2020 Jaguar F-Type
The 2020 Jaguar F-Type will no doubt be overshadowed by the sleeker 2021 model that’s due out within the year, but that shouldn’t make potential buyers dismissive of the one currently available. This luxury two-seat sports car still oozes debonair cool from every air duct and panel gap.
With the thoroughly refreshed 2021 F-Type fast on its way, changes to the 2020 model were almost nil. The biggest difference over last year is the new Checkered Flag trim, which is a well-equipped limited edition with special badging and trim. The manual transmission F-Type has also shifted its last gear and is no longer available.
The F-Type continues to offer buyers three very different powertrains. The cheapest models are powered by a 296-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4. The 380-hp supercharged V-6 is optional, as is a 340-hp version of this engine that is set to be discontinued at the end of the model year. At the top of the engine heap is a 550- or 575-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V-8.
Rear-wheel drive is standard, though all-wheel drive is available on most trims and mandatory with the V-8. With the manual gone, an 8-speed automatic handles gearchanges. The F-Type is offered as both a coupe and convertible. Pricing begins at about $62,000 and reaches well past the six-figure mark for a V-8 model.
Its meager sales volume means the NHTSA and IIHS have not crash-tested the F-Type.
The F-Type can be had with all the typical active-safety features now on the market. Standard gear includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors and active lane control. Other safety equipment, such as blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alert, are optional.
All prices include $1,025 destination charge.
The F-Type nearly rivals the Porsche 911 for its plethora of models, but there’s a method to Jaguar’s lineup madness. With each of the available engines is one or two trim levels unique to that engine.
The base P300 model ($62,625 for coupe, $65,725 for convertible) begins with the 296-hp turbo-4. Standard features include a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, leather upholstery, power-adjustable seats, Meridian audio, and LED headlights.
The P300 Checkered Flag ($72,925 coupe, $75,325 convertible) is also powered by the turbo-4. It adds its own unique badging, wheels, and upholstery.
The P340 ($72,125 coupe, $75,325 convertible) denominates the 340-horse V-6. It is equipped similarly to the P300, with the upcharge going towards the extra 44 hp.
The V-6 is also available as the 380-hp P380 ($85,325 coupe, $88,425 convertible). All-wheel-drive is available here for another $3,000.
The P380 can also be equipped with the Checkered Flag special edition. Here the package includes all-wheel drive and is priced at $95,525 for the coupe and $97,925 for the convertible.
The F-Type R ($102,825 coupe, $105,925 convertible) ditches the horsepower-based nomenclature. Not that it was needed—the 550-hp V-8 R announces itself through its titillating exhaust note. Unique badging and seats and exterior revisions further differentiate the R model. All-wheel drive is standard.
For even more hardcore performance, the SVR ($124,625 coupe, $127,725 convertible) is also available. The SVR wrings out another 25 hp from the V-8, for a total of 575 hp. There’s also performance gear like a switchable active exhaust, a torque-vectoring electronic differential, and unique aerodynamic touches.
The F-Type is classic sports car: long hood, short deck, wide stance, and short stature. The result is a sultry, low-slung two-door coupe that is as expressive and purposeful as anything else on the road.
But it’s the details, more than the proportions, that truly set the F-Type apart. The flanks are pulled taut, the doors tapering inwards from the door handle to the rocker panel, the net effect being a sinewy, muscular look. The long hood looks longer yet with the swept-back headlights. The rear fenders have the old “Coke-bottle” motif, a styling trick that was beautifully executed on many mid-’60s muscle cars and is no less effective here.
The sporting pretensions of the F-Type are as strong inside as they are outside. The cockpit, although tight, is well-tailored to the business of driving. Sightlines are good all around and all the controls are within easy reach. Materials throughout are appropriately high-class.
The big center stack slopes down and out into the center console, and it’s a big reason why the already-small cabin feels even tighter than it is. Dominating the in-dash real estate is a 10-inch touchscreen running the latest Jaguar Pro Touch infotainment system that’s complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The system works well and is fairly easy to understand, though most buyers will likely still prefer to pair their phone.
The seats are firm but comfortable, and there’s plenty of leg and head room. The F-Type would be the ideal grand tourer, if it weren’t for its paucity of luggage space: there’s 14 cubic feet for the coupe, and just 7.3 cubic feet for the convertible.
Both open- and closed-roof models are quiet at all speeds. On convertibles the driver and passenger can converse even at highway speeds with the top down. On the high performance models, the active exhaust can be almost muted for even further solace.
With its various powertrains, the F-Type has a broad bandwidth of personality, more so than even most sports cars. But all F-Types, from the P300 to the SVR, boast the same nimble, direct, immediate handling that makes this svelte Jaguar such a world-class sports car.
That’s the case even with the P300 models. Their 296-hp turbo-4 doesn’t sound the most impressive, either on paper or aurally, but it will still have no trouble satisfying the Sunday-cruise crowd. Being the lightest of the available powertrains gives 4-cylinder models a heightened sense of sprightliness as well.
V-6 models are faster and more raucous, which brings a welcome injection of character that makes them worth the upcharge. Their 0-60 mph times come in just 4.8 seconds for the 380-hp P380 models, and a top speed of 161 mph is attainable if you keep your foot in it.
Opting for the V-8 brings plenty of firepower—either 550 or 575 hp, depending on the trim. All-wheel drive is standard with either flavor of V-8, and the added grip helps achieve 3.5-second 0-60 mph runs for the 575-hp SVR.
The added weight of all this hardware does come at the expense of feel though, with the V-8 not having quite the same fleet-footed sensations of the V-6 or turbo-4. Those who prioritize lower weight and more immediate handling over straight-line power might be happier with a rear-wheel-drive P380 than one of the big-engined monsters.
All F-Types use a stiff suspension that never becomes jarring. Moving up the horsepower food chain brings an increasingly stiffer ride, so beyond the turbo-4 models we’d spring for the adaptive dampers that are available. They do a good job mitigating any harshness and make a noticable difference on roads scarred by imperfections.
Stick with the P300 turbo-4 and the EPA estimates fuel economy of 23 mpg city, 30 highway, 26 combined. P340 V-6 models are rated at 20/28/23 mpg. The P380 in rear-drive spec gets 19/27/22 mpg; all-wheel-drive versions promise 18/26/21 mpg. Unsurprisingly, the V-8 models are the thirstiest, with both the R and SVR trims rated at 16/24/18 mpg.
There is no difference in fuel economy between the coupe and convertible.
The 2020 Jaguar F-Type is the archetypal sports car, with alluring styling, fine handling, and powerful engines. Its impressive lineup has room for a thrifty turbo-4 daily driver and a 575-hp track weapon. We think the sweet spot in the lineup is the P380, which has a relatively reasonable price, plenty of power, and great handling.
—by Anthony Sophinos, with driving impressions from The Car Connection