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Jaguar F-Type 2024 long-term test

Jaguar F Type front lead cornering
Jaguar F Type front lead cornering

Why we ran it: To find out if cars like the F-Type have had their time

Month 3 - Month 2Month 1 - Specs

Life with a Jaguar F-Type: Month 3

They don’t make ’em like this any more – or soon won’t. Are we sorry to see it go? - 7 February

This feels like much more than the usual kind of goodbye, when a long-term test car simply goes off to its next owner, to be replaced by something else relevant, and all's right with the world.

The big grey V8 coupé that recently drove off down the road from my house, and disappeared around the corner for the last time, represented a kind of Jaguar motoring that won't be available again, at least not in a new condition from a Jaguar showroom.

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Jaguar is in the process of ending sales of combustion-engined cars forever, and the F-Type R I've driven for 6500 miles is the last of its type.

When the consequences are as large as this, rather than worrying about the usual niggles - a bit of road noise and an ill-fitting glovebox lid - you find yourself thinking of the things that won't be coming again. And in this case, it's two singular properties of the F-Type R: the very special powertrain and the (to me) even more special mechanical layout.

Powertrain first. If you've ever read a line about the F-Type V8, you'll know what we think of it - a huge, smooth, elastic power unit with the capability of hurling a pretty large coupé from standstill to 62mph in just 3.5sec, on towards a 186mph top speed.

Vital in this - given that most of this performance is nowadays available from a £25,000 second-hand Tesla - is the way the performance is delivered: with an exhaust note that starts off seeming rather subdued (even with the special sportiness button well and truly pressed) but becomes supremely and deliciously vocal if you can find the road to give it a lot of revs and a wide throttle opening.

Such things are accompanied by massive and usually illegal speed, though, so like many with this much poke, you need a track to exercise it fully. Good thing the chassis - still one of the now-retired chassis guru Mike Cross's best - is well and truly up to the job, as are the comparatively massive tyres (hence the road noise).

The gearbox is something we will miss too. The mathematical precision with which it deploys 516lb it of torque, whether cruising or sprinting, is something to savour.

True, your potent EV powertrain of the premium, Taycan-ish kind that's coming to replace the F-Type R's motive power, doesn't need either gears or the racket of combustion to go just as fast, but the Jag's way of doing things (which already has a bit of a classic tinge) will always be something to look back on and love.

Harder to move on from, however, will be the long-nosed and low F-Type coupé layout with its low-as-a-snake's-armpit driving position, which allowed your bum to be just a few inches above the road and from which you sighted over the top of the steering wheel rim and straight down the air-scooped bennet. le dyntion, these nose-heavy, arrow-like stability.

The much-praised packaging flexibility of next-generation EVs, even sporty ones, will almost certainly lift the driving position above that of an F-Type by 75-100mm (in other words, a mile) to get a massive battery under the car.

The nose won't need to be as long or capacious so the driver and passenger will move frontwards (the vaunted 'forward control' layout designers talk about) and the proportions that made the Jaguar E-Type will be gone.

This F-Type was not the perfect car, of course. With its seat in the right position, it required you to look for intersection traffic around hefty windscreen pillars whose base was as wide as a tree trunk.

Given its family car length, it wasn't very package-efficient, and its 1780kg kerb weight was a lot for a two-seater, even if it is bound to be at least 500kg shy of the car that will replace it.

Not that there will be one in the short term: all the signs from the all-change Jaguar of 2025 are that sports cars will be off the agenda except, almost certainly, in the artful words of ad campaigns.

However, it wouldn't be right to allow this particular 'goodbye' to turn into too much of a lament. A cursory hunt for nearly new V8-engined F-Types in the classifieds turns up around 40 possibles at prices from £80,000, and many of them have been recently discounted.

Cars like this will be available for many years, and the factors that discourage you from using an F-Type as a daily driver (visibility, size, width) will keep low-milers relatively common.

Still, it's a very, very big moment for Jaguar, to summarily drop a model that so directly embodies its avowed brand values as the F-Type R. And it builds as high as the sky our expectations of the models coming to replace it.

Second Opinion

It’s hard to believe cars like this won’t be prominent in future showrooms. The best thing about the F-Type R is the obvious care that has gone into its dynamic development – you enjoy it every mile. Cars like this will come to represent our era and eventually be highly sought after second-hand. M

Mark Tisshaw

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Love it:

Evocative layout Long-nosed two-seat coupés like this embody the sports GT as we’ve known it. It isn’t part of Jag’s future.

Stirring powertrain Huge, smooth, flexible V8 supplies pace and engagement. Eight-speed paddle gearbox is a fine feature too

Superb styling Maybe the original F-Type’s shape has more character, but long nose, haunches, tail still make a great car.

Long-distance comfort Road noise apart, the F-Type has every attribute needed to be a great cross-Europe GT.

Loathe it:

Road noise Very large tyres and the body’s big box sections allow road noise to be high. Others do this better.

Final mileage: 6940

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You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone? We do, actually - 17 January

We're moving rapidly towards the end of our relationship, the F-Type and I. There's about a fortnight to go, and already the regrets are starting to pile up.

Chief among them is the fact that I never used the car for a long, raking trip down through France - to take in the Schlumpf collection we've often meant to revisit on the country's far eastern side, or to spear down the Atlantic coast to La Rochelle, where we've had happy times in the past.

It's something both my missus and I would like to have done. Mechanically speaking, the car lends itself to such exploits.

But the best I've managed in nearly three months' ownership has been a pair of trips to the Lake District - one weekend in a hotel we like near Windermere; one business trip to the launch of the BYD Seal at M-Sport's HQ near Cockermouth. Both were significant.

The missus and I have dubious memories of a similar northerly trip in an early F-Type soon after the coupé model was launched (it must have been around 2015) when we discovered that the road noise at a brisk motorway cruise was simply too great and too oppressive for conversation.

We had to resort to earplugs and sign language to make our progress comfortable. We put it down to reverberations in the box sections of the car's aluminium body, evidently not yet stuffed with foam as manufacturers of road-noisy cars are apt to do.

This time, heading two-up to Windermere, the car wasn't quiet, but it was quieter. The road noise was still a subject of conversation and there wasn't much question of listening to the detail of any music from the hi-fi, but it was tolerable.

When I set off for M-Sport on my own a couple of weeks later, mostly listening to sporting podcasts and football commentaries at high volume, as I sometimes do on my own, it wasn't a problem.

It proved what I've often known: that as a driver, you're much less concerned about a car's comfort flaws when you're travelling on your own than when you're travelling with a discerning passenger.

Thinking about this, it strikes me that this susceptibility of the F-Type, which makes it more fatiguing over distance than my own (much smaller and cheaper) aluminium Alpine A110 coupé, is about to be a thing of the past.

The EVs of this size and potential we're now driving tend to have very substantial skateboard chassis beneath their cabins, with batteries that add insulation, rigidity and damping.

What F-Type people are going to miss most is the exhaust note, which can be quelled or enhanced by a switch. Even in the loudest setting, it needs to be used hard to be really vocal, to an extent that's barely possible on public roads.

Which raises another regret: I never managed to do a track day in this car, even though its power, stability, weight distribution and clever torque deployment all promised a good deal.

I did enjoy a few encouraging near full-house interludes, though, (on circuits) and I'd encourage any owner not to miss a much more extensive exploration of this part of the car's capabilities.

Foibles it has, but I'd say the only flaw that has truly bothered me is poor visibility - especially if you adopt the bum-on-floor seat adjustment that makes it work so well in other ways. As things stand, there are a couple of weeks left, and I intend to enjoy them.

This £111,000 old-school Jag was never meant to be a shrinking violet, and it isn't.

Love it

A layout to saviour 

It will get much harder in the EV era to own a very low car with a long bonnet and short boot, which positions you to feel yaw motions more precisely than usual.

Loathe it

That road noise

It’s not as bad as it used to be, and can be offset by the exhaust note of the V8 on song, but it’s likely to be more intrusive than in Jaguars of the future. Buyer beware!

Mileage: 6262

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Not many cars have the aura of an F-Type - 10 January

My time with our F-Type R coupé will sadly soon be over. What I will miss instantly is the always present sense of occasion built into the car, not just because of its power and mechanical specification but also because of its sensational driving position. I’m not talking mere seat comfort but where and how you’re located in the car. There are very few like it.

Mileage: 6040

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Life with a Jaguar F-Type: Month 2

Visibility is poor in adverse weather conditions - 20 December 

Dark nights and lots of recent rain show how poor the Jag’s visibility can be in less-than-ideal conditions. It isn’t helped when you put the seat in a low position, which I prefer in quick cars. You find yourself trying to look through and past the fattest (lower) part of the screen pillar. Owners will see it as a price worth paying for that shape and those seats

Mileage: 5709

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Life with a Jaguar F-Type: Month 1

V8 sports car seems to keep on going forever – and we’re not talking about its snout - 22 November 

The Jaguar F-Type R seems to have one of the fastest-spinning sets of odometer wheels that I've ever encountered. Either that or it's so effortless that I hardly notice the miles slipping by.

On second thoughts, I think it's the latter. In less than two months, this car's recorded mileage has sped from 500 to 4500, which is almost 500 miles a week or 100 miles every weekday (I tend to drive my own cars on the weekend).

Clearly I've been busy travelling around the UK, but I have absolutely no memory of any journey seeming to drag. There are lots of reasons for this. Although the Jag's supercharged 5.0-litre V8 is profiled as a proper fire-breather (the 567bhp output, the 3.9sec 0-60mph time and the 186mph top speed say as much about that as you need, it's actually very smooth and refined - at least until I select Dynamic mode on the console, thumb the adjacent exhaust-noise button and snick the gear selector sideways to change to a quicker, sportier change regime.

Then, if I give it the required right foot, it positively erupts - with a blood-curdling (but still not quite deafening) noise to accompany the kick in the back. The thing is, I don't do this all that often. Drive normally and it's still very quick.

Sure, the throttle isn't quite so crisp and I don't hold the gears quite so long, but there's such a surfeit of power and torque that it just doesn't matter. I select those sportier controls for entertainment, not extra speed across the ground.

This F-Type is effortlessly rapid. And it's the effortlessness that creates the ease of travel. Quite often at 70mph, I glance at the tacho and note that it hasn't even reached 2000rpm. This car has some of the longest legs going, and even though it's not the quietest or smoothest, the absence of revs or effort causes distance simply to slip away.

Want another surprising benefit of the mighty V8? Nose weight. It has become clear, as more and more of us transition to heavy and powerful EVs (many of them a performance match for the F-Type R) that there are advantages built into a gently nose-heavy performance car that we never previously appreciated.

First, it flies as straight as an arrow. Second, when laden under braking, the front wheels resist lock-up very well and stop the car fast. Third, the nose weight affords good grip (thus turn-in) in the wet, but the steady-state bias is towards gentle understeer, which makes this potent car fundamentally safe.

The intelligent four-wheel drive system, which decides where torque should be directed to keep the car planted, pretty much precludes power oversteer, although there is a natural rearward bias of torque (except in extremis) that makes the car feel like it's rear-driven in the build-up to breakaway. To me, that's a happy medium. I can commit this car energetically in all weathers, knowing that it's safe.

One caveat: there's a lot of road noise. Less, perhaps, than in older F-Types (I can recall a previous V6 so noisy that all I wanted to do, on a long-anticipated journey to the top of the country, was drive it smartly home and take the Mini we had in the garage), but it's still an issue.

And given that this model is in its last year and last iteration, it's never going to get any better. But my experience shows that even a noise-conscious user can forget it and get immersed in the effortless progress. Another caveat: though many good cars seem to shrink with familiarity, the F-Type never does.

Perhaps it's because the setting is very low (I prefer that for corn Perhaps it's because the seating is very low (I prefer that for cornering security) so it seems very high-sided. Perhaps because it's wide and has bulbous rear haunches.

It can seem small when parked, but it never feels less than imposing when you're at the wheel, so it's just as well that pedestrians and other road users feel the same way.

This £111,000 old-school Jag was never meant to be a shrinking violet, and it isn't.

Love it

North-south V8

It’s quick, docile, hugely powerful and full of a kind of character that we’re soon going to miss. Even the economy and range aren’t bad.

Loathe it

Road noise

Jaguar could have tried harder on this. It’s no longer a disaster, but it’s still worse than rivals’. Porsche Taycan owners would be horrified.

Mileage: 4535

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It might be a convertible, but it's still practical - 8 November

The first F-Type was a convertible with a tiny boot so I’ve been surprised by the capacious nature of our coupé. Turns out it has everything two people need for a long holiday – a big load opening, a flat floor and very generous space. Nit-pickers could point to a high loading lip, but you can’t have everything, especially in a car with rakish lines like these.

Mileage: 2025

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Welcoming the F-Type to the fleet - 25 October 2023

When the Jaguar F-Type was launched a decade ago, after years of anticipation and hype, the very last thing on our minds was that it would be one of the marque’s last-ever combustion models and it would have no clear replacement.

After about five years, as the certainty of its demise became clearer, we all began to focus on what last-ever versions would be like and how much we’d miss this most recent relative of the E-Type.

Now that the final year is here (there will be no more F-Types after 2024), we’re taking the opportunity to assess the last, most powerful era, to judge whether the F-Type’s departure is a disaster or the demise of a dinosaur.

We’ve chosen the most powerful V8, the 567bhp R 75 – the ‘75’ part marking the fact that this car ends 75 years of continuous production of Jaguar sports cars. It’s an optimal-spec car complete with a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine, a specially adapted eight-speed gearbox and tuned suspension, along with a four-wheel drive system that does its best to emulate rear-drive handling until traction from all four wheels is most urgently needed. In practically every way, it’s the optimal F-Type.

Only the £1335 Carpathian Grey paintwork lets it down; we’d have preferred a louder, more defiant hue for such a key exit model. Still, the spec of this car shows two things: what good performance value top-end F-Types continue to be and just how rich the specification is. Only about £8000 of our car’s £111,000 total price is options, and at least half that (the fixed panoramic roof, the optional wheels, the grey paint and the extended leather) we could have done without. Against others of the same performance (186mph top speed, 0-60mph acceleration in 3.7sec) and similarly rakish shapes, the outgoing F-Type almost looks like value for money.

Your first impression, if you haven’t been close to an F-Type for a while, is that this is a substantial car. It’s as long as a Ford Focus and pretty wide, what with those beautiful but exaggerated rear haunches. We’d have labeled any two-seater with a 1780kg kerb weight pretty hefty in recent times, but these days it’s 400-600kg lighter than most battery-powered cars with similar power and a greater road footprint. But your first impression – especially after you hear it start – is that this is a muscle car of the old school and it’s about to be substantially different from almost everything on the market.

The impression is reinforced when you slip behind the wheel. The sports seats have firm side bolsters and your backside is close to the floor, with a high console dividing your driving ‘tub’ from the passenger’s to the left, a high fascia, thick windscreens and a low roof. The view isn’t exactly panoramic, but it’s as purposeful as the rest of the car.

If you’ve been eyeing the pulsating starter button and scanning the specs, starting the engine might be a bit of a disappointment. It commences with that blip they insist on building into such cars, but it doesn’t sound very V8-ish. That's probably the fault of the Euro 6 clean-exhaust rules with which Jaguar now complies. There's an exhaust button on the console that's supposed to make it throatier, but at the speeds and revs you'll usually drive this car, it won't sound greatly different.

The engine needs to be working above 3500rpm to start sounding like a V8, and such is the influence of the torque - which peaks at 516lb ft around that point - that you'll be going pretty fast by the time you reach that level.

The performance is explosive. It doesn't quite have the instant step-off of the latest crop of full-torque-from-zero EVs, but the way the beautifully adapted eight-speed ZF auto deploys the trust is a delight. Hearing the engine at 6500rpm, where it develops full power, is an electrifying experience but likely to be a rare one.

You’re going to have to find suitable track days to exercise this car properly (and apply your skills to near-limit control). To enjoy it on the road, you’re going to have to find something else.

Luckily, there is something else. Few cars are better than the F-Type at brisk cruising, obeying speed limits but reaching them promptly, soaring up slopes and using the superb, powerful brakes to minimise delays. The steering

works beautifully: you feel no ill effects of the occasional application of power to the front wheels and the gearing, rim effort and wheel size have clearly been developed within an inch of their lives. Here’s a car you’ll enjoy settling into for long journeys, its only foible being some rather historic levels of road noise on coarse surfaces. F-Types used to be terrible for this; now they’re merely pretty poor.

Because many of us have become used to cheaper fuelling of our EVs and hybrids, the F-Type’s 27mpg in my hands so far makes it seem pretty thirsty: the £100 fill-up of the 70-litre fuel tank is going to become pretty usual. Still, the realistic touring range of around 320-340 miles beats most EVs in the bracket, although not by all that much.

The bottom line so far? The F-Type feels every biy as old-school but very pleasantly so. EVs are smoother and more powerful at the very bottom of the scale but definitely less characterful. Even in an 'emotional' ICE car, you notice the greater faff of departure (engage clutches, breathe in a column of gas, ignite it) compared with a much smoother electric car.

In an EV, you're pleased by the comparative lack of departure effort, but miss the engine sound and the emotion attached to hearing it work. It will be fascinating over the coming weeks to see how these impressions move.

Second Opinion

We have had an F-Type R on our fleet before, back in 2014-15. Then it really was an old-school bruiser and somewhat agricultural. If that counted against it then, it’s the opposite now: the F-Type R feels like nothing else you can buy. Steve has a fabulous long goodbye ahead of him with it.

Mark Tisshaw

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Jaguar F-Type R 75 Coupe Auto specification

Specs: Price New £103,075 Price as tested £111,000 Options Carpathian Grey body colour £1335, 20in five split-spoke alloy wheels £2000, extended leather seat upgrade £1055, fixed panoramic roof £1335, Driver Assist Pack £470, anti-theft tracker £545, Climate Pack £685, Blind Spot Assist £500

Fuel consumption and range: Claimed economy 27.0mpg Fuel tank 70 litres Test average 26.6mpg Test best 32.1mpg Test worst 16.4mpg Real-world range 410 miles

Tech highlights: 0-62mph 3.5sec Top speed 186mph Engine V8, 5000cc, supercharged, petrol Max power 567bhpbhp at 6500rpm Max torque 516lb ft at 3500-5000rpm Transmission 8-spd automatic, 4WD Boot capacity 509 litres Wheels 20in, alloy Tyres 255/35 ZR20 (f), 295/30 ZR20 (r) Kerb weight 1780kg

Service and running costs: Contract hire rate £1390.50pcm (R 75 Plus) CO2 239g/km Service costs None Other costs None Fuel costs £1673 Running costs inc fuel £1673 Cost per mile 26 pence Faults None

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