Like Father, Like Son: The 2013 Jaguar F-Type Has Big Shoes to Fill

As the follow-up to the E-Type, the F-Type certainly looks the part.

It’s tough being the second act.  The spotlight’s bright bulbs burn deep into your skin, biases by overly-nostalgic people are established, and there seems to be a lifelong list of things to accomplish in order to gain a sliver of respect.  And when a car is as iconic, timeless, and beautiful as the Jaguar E-Type, it can be particularly difficult for a successor to be accepted.  So when Jaguar decided to make a follow-up to the legendary E-Type with the new F-Type, eyebrows jumped, heads twisted, and eyes wandered to see if the new Jag is worthy.

In March 1961, the Series 1 E-Type was unveiled to the watchful eyes of car lovers that were present at the Geneva Motor Show.  In July of the same year, the E-Type went on sale.  Immediately it caused a massive amount of attention.  Even Enzo Ferrari claimed that it was ‘the most beautiful car in the world.’  The car’s popularity was gained due to fact that the E-Type being faster than a Ferrari — with a top speed of 149 mph and 0-60 in 7.1 seconds –, but yet costing less.  Due to the recognition, the car experienced ownership to people such as Steve McQueen, the star of one of the most beloved petrolhead movies of all time, Le Mans.

Initially, there were no plans to get the E-Type on international racetracks.  However, drivers Graham Hill and Roy Salvadori did race the E-Type against the dominating Ferrari 250 GTOs, however not posing much of a threat to the prancing horse.  When the lightweight E-Type came around, the story began to change.  The world-conquering GTOs experienced genuine competition and challenge from the lighter XKE’s, but unfortunately, the E-Type couldn’t pull off the job where it really mattered at Le Mans, finding the position of 5th as being the highest the car could place.

Despite the largely non-successful attempt in racing, the E-Type still caught on to car lovers everywhere.  And today, the E-Type is one of the most prized and desirable classics that one can buy at an auction, and one of the most attention-grabbing cars at auto shows.  And with all that pedigree, it’s remarkably easy why the new F-Type has it’s work cut out.  After a car leaves behind a trail of so much history, envy, and passion, the F-Type has to amaze everyone that gets a chance to spend some quality time with it, and display a bit of a flashback to the car that came before it.

As far as power is concerned, this car certainly shows no signs of classic sports car.  Three separate models are available for buyers, each with separate performance ranges.  The first model is the regular F-Type, which is also the cheapest, costing $69,000 as the base. With the standard F-Type, a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 punches out 340 horses and 332 lb-ft of torque.  Each of the three model versions come with 4 valves per cylinder and an 8-speed gearbox (‘Quickshift’).  With the 8-speed paddle-shifter, the least powerful F-Type accelerates to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, and rockets along to a top speed of 161 mph.

Being more powerful, the F-Type S is more expensive than the base F-Type with a price of $81,000.  The ‘S’ badge on the rear of the car means that the same 3.0-liter supercharged, 4 valves per cylinder V6 produces 380 horsepower, but surprisingly just 7 more torques, equating to 339 lb-ft.  But, as the saying goes (usually), more power means more speed.  And in this case, that quote is true as the car will leap from a standstill to 60 in 4.8 seconds, and will march on to a top speed of 171 mph.  Both the F-Type and the F-Type s come equipped with the nostalgic double-barrel trumpet exhausts first seen on the iconic E-Type.

Now here’s the big jump.  The F-Type V8 S already describes its extra oomph in the name.  The engine size jumps from 3.0-liters to 5.0-liters.  The cylinders go up from 6 to 8.  The price jumps to $92,ooo.  The supercharger stays nestled under the curvaceous hood.  Horsepower jumps up more to 495 and torque does the same at 460 lb-ft, both more than a hundred horses and torques than found in the F-Type S.  Acceleration drops from 4.8 on the S, to 4.2 on the one with V8 in front of the S.  And top speed rises as well, to a hair-ruining, eye-watering, mind-boggling 181 mph.  But, if you were to invest in the V8 S model, you would unfortunately lose the double-barrel exhaust for a better breathing quad exhaust system.

However, horsepower, torque, and engine size aside, the big question is how well the car handles.  And with a nearly perfect weight distribution, the car handles corners quite well.  Body roll is minimal, and the car is quick at changing direction.  And, remarkably for a front-engined sports car, the F-Type feels as if it’s revolving around the driver like the Earth does when orbiting the Sun.  The car just allows the driver to hit apex after apex, while allowing the bit of sliding fun when called for.

And then there’s the noise.  On a twisty road buried deep inside of a valley surrounded by hills and rock, or in a cement-wrapped tunnel, the engine note screaming from the exhaust pipes –whether it be two or four — sends chills down the spine and a feeling of complete ecstasy.  Corner after corner, all the car leaves you wanting to do is thrust the gas pedal downward and let the sounds of a British sports car embrace your eardrums.  That combination of speed, handling, and glorious engine note leaves the driver wanting to never have to step out of the car again.

But there’s one more factor that must be taken into account when analyzing everything this car offers.  This car is beautiful.  Stand in front of one with the ignition on, and the car almost has a godly presence.  The line of LED lights up front stare deep into your pupils and soul, mesmerizing and almost hypnotizing you.  Continue to walk around the car and the lines just seem so perfectly placed, futuristic but classic.  There’s is definitely an E-Type influence on this machine.  Make your way to the back, and the take away from the XKE is extremely present, with the thin taillights looking as if they were practically ripped off of one of the 1961 Series 1’s.

The interior of the car is a perfect blend of GT and luxury.  Beautiful bucket seats look meticulously designed, and arches behind the headrests rise up giving off the true sports car look.  A beautiful display glows a magnificent blue hew into the cabin, and the dials are simple, but still stylish.

The F-Type is truly a rewarding car.  Just like the E-Type, the F-Type provides a driving experience that nothing else on the planet can provide.  While the price may be a little hefty without taking options into account, anyone who buys the F-Type will experience things that they never have before, and probably never will again.  The look is definitely a bit of a throwback to the original E-Type, but with a modern flare to it that works perfectly.

This car is just another example of why the British can not and should not be forgotten when it comes to making sports cars.  It’s another example of how good modern mixed with retro can be.  This car is truly like nothing else, mixed with a blend of classic build and styling, low-weight and high power, and astonishing balance and handling, this car is definitely worth the attention and money.  The all-new Jaguar F-Type is ready to take on the world of sports cars, and take on the role once held by the legendary E-Type.  Look out world, there’s a new kid on the block.  #throwback -B.C.

The double-barrel trumpet exhaust and thin taillights are a flashback to the original Jaguar E-Type.

Through the corners, the all-new F-Type looks sporty.

After sliding into the beautiful leather seats, the driver is greeted by a beautiful array of colorful dials, a glowing dash and much more.

Getting underneath the F-Type’s skin.

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