Jaguar demonstrated how its F-type not only harkens to a great era in design for the company, but also highlights its performance heritage at a driving event across the bay from San Francisco. The company let CNET drive both the F-type S and the F-type V8 S on a fast cone course, testing the acceleration, handling, and braking.
This particular F-type is the V8 S model, meaning it is powered by a direct injection 5-liter V-8 engine topped by a supercharger, making 495 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. The next model down, the S, gets a direct injection 3-liter V-6, also supercharged, good for 380 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. The base model, with a similar engine configuration to the S, makes 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque.
A roadster design, the F-type has a soft top that Jaguar says retracts in about 12 seconds. The power-operated top can be raised or lowered at up to 30 mph. An aluminum body helps keep the total weight down near the 3,500-pound mark.
On the track, the F-type's traction control, in its sport setting, lets the rear end hang out a bit for a more engaging experience. The V8 S version gets quad exhausts, while the base and S versions feature dual pipes.
Paddle shifters behind the wheel spokes allow manual gear changes for the eight-speed automatic transmission. The wheel delivers quick turn-in, which proved crucial on the tight turns of the cone course we drove.
The center console features a hand-grip shifter, unlike the dial drive selectors used on other Jaguar models. A switch to the left of the shifter puts the car into its Dynamic mode, which affects throttle, transmission, and steering.
The navigation system comes standard on all F-type versions, along with digital audio source integration and a Meridian audio system. Unfortunately, Jaguar cabin electronics we have tested in other models have been laggy, which does not bode well for the system in the F-type.