European manufacturers are well known for making beautiful GT cars, and the Jaguar F-Type S is no exception. Jaguar is well known for targeting the 50+ crowd by producing high priced/high quality cars that are aimed more towards luxury than performance, but the S version of the F-Type would beg to differ. Although it is not the full bread Type R, it still boogies.
Being the middle child in the F-Type lineup the 3.0L Supercharged V6 is very well balanced, as it is certainly underrated and overshadowed by its’s bigger brother. The RWD version rockets off of the line, from highway speeds and in the handling portion very well. Although it may look heavy, the F-Type is actually quite a light weight car for being a grand tourer and that helps contribute to the great balanced feel.
The 8-speed automatic is also a gem in this car that is an additional reason for the great balanced feel. It delivers the power so effortlessly and smoothly while shifting through the gears at a rapid pace. The rated 380 HP feels just about right, but due to the next to zero lag in power delivery thanks to the supercharger, the torque feels like a whole lot more than advertised.
The great transmission and weight distribution in the F-Type also makes for an effortless launch of the line that one would have no idea that it is RWD, so much so that it may be mistaken that the engine is actually in the front and not the mid. This also translates to the handling.
A grand touring car is meant to have very smooth handling with minimal body roll and good power delivery out of a turn making it an animal on scenic canyon roads during road trips. The F-Type S does just that so beautifully. No, it does not point and shoot like a performance/track car, but the steering response is quite instant and responds well to an aggressive driver, whom will be pleased with the amount of grip the car has.
Having 380 HP compared to the 500+ its bigger brother does is a big factor for having such excellent grip. Yes, it may be fun to easily drift around corners while hearing that V8 scream, but the V6 hums a nice tune as well while being more controllable with plenty of power and performance. The sound is so unique, and the performance is so good, that one may mistaken it for a BMW inline 6 turbo as the exhaust produces lots of crackles and pops with a high pitched sound from the V6. But, performance and fun is about half of the game when it comes to a GT car.
So the F-Type S impresses in the performance category, but does it do the same in the luxury portion? Yes and no. The leather seats are bolstered so well that a long road trip would be a breeze. The materials in the interior are quite luxurious and give a sense of being well worth the money, but when taking a bit more time looking around, one can quickly erase the fact that it feels like a special car, unique to others, which a European grand tourer is supposed to feel like.
Yes, the quality of materials are luxurious enough or even more so to suit the price point of $75-85K, and the seats are incredibly comfortable, but being a 2016 model, its easy to mistaken it for a 2010 or older. This is mostly due to the ancient infotainment center. Yes, the screen is large enough, and yes it has all of the necessary features (aside from Apple Car Play/Android Auto), but the graphics are outdated. The gauge cluster is also very tacky, as the two hard gauges are very dark with huge outliners and a tiny little digital screen in the middle that takes a bit of a learning curve to navigate, just like the infotainment screen.
Yes, Jaguar takes pride in luxury materials and ride quality over performance and infotainment, but there are some torrential negatives that stop it from getting an A on its report card. Despite being an overachiever in the performance segment, the ride quality is quite rough with some unacceptable noticeable road noise (yes it is a soft top but even cars at half the price have less road noise from the soft top).
The materials are also crap in the infotainment center being a bunch of hard flimsy plastic. But it’s all useable and works decently well, right? Sure, but that is not a good excuse at this price point, especially when there is little to no room for a pair of golf clubs, just to add on.
Overall the F-Type S is a brilliant driving machine when it comes to performance of GT cars as it has the perfect amount of power, but that doesn’t make up for where this car lacks. Not enough so that it makes it a stand out amongst the competition in this segment. So, if in the market for a F-Type, the S is the best way to go as the R may seem like too much power to handle with the negatives pointing away from a bargain.
-sound system: B
-trunk space: D+
-driving modes/adjustability: B+
-ride quality: C+
-standing acceleration: A+
-engine sound: A+
-fun factor: B+
-overall performance: A