The Jaguar 2024 F-type




The Gazette, Colorado Springs


The V-8 roar of the industry’s big cats are being silenced as brands transition to an uncertain, all-electric future. Dodge Challenger/charger Hellcats, Cadillac CT5 Blackwing, Audi R8, Chevy Camaro SS. And then there is the most famous cat of them all, Jaguar. ROOOOOOAAAR! I buried the throttle in the 575-horsepower 2024 F-type R75 coupe through the Huntington Place tunnel. ROOOOOOAAR! The sound of the big cat’s quad pipes echoed off the Lodge Freeway’s walls as we shot out of the tunnel onto M-10 like an uncaged, well, Jaguar. ROOOOOAAR! The beast’s fury enveloped my open, convertible cockpit as I clicked off shifts at the 7,000 RPM redline. Oh, joy. And oy vey as the Jaguar V-8 has become an endangered species, threatened by government nannies. Like the big cats on an expensive African safari, Jaguar sportscars have always been a fascination of enthusiasts with financial means. The looooong-nosed E-type of the 1960s is automotive legend and coveted by collectors. Now its F-type offspring is ending its run, and customers will want to run, not walk, to their local dealer to snap up this final edition. While it doesn’t possess the ‘ 60s classic E-type’s majestic snout (the victim of more nanny edicts), F-type is still achingly gorgeous. “I want it,” said my entrepreneur friend Mike — the owner of an XKE sportscar among other Jags — in a typical, Pavlovian response. Some gotta have a Porsche, Ferrari, Corvette C8, a Jaguar. It’s an emotional thing, I get it. I see an Alfa 4C and my heart skips a beat. Purists will be most attracted to the F-type coupe with its sweeping roof line nestling like a Jaguar’s spine between giant rear haunches. But riding the Jag topless ain’t bad, either. On a crisp October day, I rolled out of a Southfield parking lot and held down the console roof tab. The cloth top retreated into the trunk behind me in a mere 12 seconds as long as I kept my speed under 30 mph. Another toggle switch on the console selected DYNAMIC mode and I cleared the cat’s throat with a quick stab of the throttle onto Telegraph Road — ROOOOOAR! Try that in a Hellcat or CT5-V and you’ll have a moment as the rear end tries to swap places with front, but F-type R models come standard with all-wheel-drive and the grip from the wide Pirelli P-zero tires was tenacious despite Telegraph’s chilly concrete surface. A standard, rear-wheel-drive, socalled P450 model is also offered with the same supercharged V-8 mill — just detuned to 448 ponies. Despite the open air, the cabin wasn’t chilly thanks to the big, fat climate knobs that I’ve cranked up to HIGH to keep warm air circulating. I could crank up the radio, too, but I preferred the V-8’s roar. The cabin’s appointments are typically lush in an understated British way. No huge screens or gaudy light shows, just lovely leather and lines. The sportscar has nicely integrated the latest tech like wireless Android Auto and digital screens — though it could make use of a head-up display like other vehicles in its class. Put the top up and the convertible also has a useful trunk for weekend travel. The cargo space swallowed a carry-on bag and small duffel bag — and I fit in my fat laptop briefcase in the subfloor storage bay. It’s not as roomy as a 911’s rear seat/frunk combo (or Corvette’s rear cargo area), but it’s a fair shade better than the cargo-starved Alfa 4C. When you have $110K in spare change in your packet, there are a lot of choices, and Jag faces formidable sportscar competition. The Porsche 911 S is simply the best-handling sportscar on the planet. Imbued with a telepathic sense for apexes, it sets the standard for precision and flat-six-cylinder performance. The Audi R8 (in its last year of production) and Mercedes GT AMG are also rocket ships with the latest cabin tech. Over at the Chevy shop, Corvette has not one, but two, V-8-powered, $110K hellions in the track-focused Z06 and all-season, all-wheel-drive E-ray. It’s remarkable how brands can evoke emotion from sheet metal, and the F-type separates itself from the crowd the old-fashioned way: looks and power. Porsche’s familiar shape is timeless, but the Jag is gorgeous. At my doctor’s office, my athletic club — even service stations — the F-type stopped people in their tracks. “I’ll trade you rides,” smiled an Audi driver at the next pump. Interestingly, F-type’s appeal is more muscular than its famous forebear, the E-type of the 1960s and ‘70s. E’s famously elegant nose is no longer repeatable as government nannies now regulate frontend length. The F-type is more compact, defined by powerful hips and a menacing fascia. Jaguar, indeed. It’s leaner than its Mercedes peer, and a different aesthetic from Corvette with its angular, deep body stampings. Jaguar is feline, Corvette techno. Both feature ballistic V-8s, but the 5.0-liter eight in the F-type has a fat torque band thanks to its supercharger and the 516-pound feet of torque coming on strong at 2,500 RPM. The screaming, normally-aspirated, 5.5-liter ‘Vette Z06, by contrast, doesn’t hit peak torque until 6,300 RPM, where the bird really starts to sing. The AWD E-ray, meanwhile, uses its electric motor as “torque fill” to complement its pushrod V-8 engine. All encourage different driving habits. All will give you goosebumps. Long live the V-8. Which begs the question of how Jaguar lives on after the F-type. The big cat’s identity — its voice — is historically synonymous with throaty engines. Notably, the last gas-powered Jags are only equipped with V-8 engines and not the turbo-4 and supercharged V-6 options of previous years. An all-electric Jaguar sports car would seem a different animal, and the poor sales of the electric i-pace SUV are concerning. A new chapter awaits, but the last gas-fueled beast gives us plenty to sink our teeth into.