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2016 Jaguar F-Type

The Jaguar F-Type nods to its heritage, but draws its own gorgeous path forward.

Though it gets a range of under-the-skin upgrades for the 2016 model year, the Jaguar F-Type coupe and convertible lines don’t change their exterior appearance in any significant ways.

Fortunately, the F-Type is already a stunning design. With shorter and more languid lines than the XK grand tourer, the F-Type’s look evokes hints of the classic E-Type while being completely original and thoroughly modern.

The tall front end wears a large, non-oval grille; LED accents sharpen the nose; round taillights give a bit of a vintage aesthetic. The lines along the side flow organically, the roofline of the coupe especially drawing streamlined, designed-by-nature themes for the eye. Wide haunches speak of power and capability.

Door handles? There aren’t any, at least not in the traditional sense. Instead they’re inset, and pop out only as they are prodded (or with the press of a button on the key fob).

The interior of the F-Type is clearly sports car-themed, with a functional feel belied only by the luxurious swathes of leather. You won’t find any wood here, however—another nod to the F-Type’s fully modern construction and intent.

Big V-8 power and sound complement a smooth ride for a raucously fun sports cruiser.

While the Jaguar F-Type’s performance has been much lauded since its debut for the 2014 model year, the arrival of all-wheel drive for the 2016 model year gives us a new round of evaluation, and expands the F-Type’s capabilities and traits. Another bonus for the 2016 model year is the addition of a manual transmission option on some models.

The engine lineup is familiar, if slightly different than the original: three variants are offered, including two takes on the V-6, and one extra-potent V-8. All engines in the F-Type coupe and convertible range are supercharged.

 

At the entry point, there’s the 340-horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, dubbed simply “F-Type.” Step up to the F-Type S and you’ll get a 380-hp version of the same engine. Opt for the F-Type R and you’ll get a 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 good for 550 hp.

All three engines are available in both coupe and convertible forms, but if you want all-wheel drive, you’ll have to choose the F-Type S or F-Type R. Those who desire a manual transmission can only get it on the V-6 F-Types—and only in rear-drive form.

For models not equipped with a manual transmission, an 8-speed automatic is standard equipment, offering paddles for manual-mode use, and quick, positive shifts for sporty driving.

As you’d expect, the grin factor rises proportionally to the horsepower. The sound, especially, of the big V-8 ripping off acceleration runs will wake the neighborhood—and a lost youth. The V-6 models, on the other hand, feel nimbler and more alive—more like true sports cars

In base form, the coupe handles better than the convertible—as you’d expect—thanks to a more rigid platform. Add in the adaptive dampers, and the convertible becomes a better option, but still the coupe outpaces the drop-top. Ride quality is a bit stiff, but not jarring, in any model.

Whatever form you choose, however, the F-Type is riotous fun.

Cargo and passenger space are limited, but the 2016 Jaguar F-Type is well-finished and comfortable.

Two intimate seats, no pretense of vestigial “rear seats,” and a premium on trunk space—the 2016 Jaguar F-Type makes no bones about its role as a sports car.

Sure, cars like the 911—an ostensible competitor—make nods toward greater practicality. Even the Chevy Corvette Stingray offers a surprising amount of hatch space. But the F-Type, particularly in convertible form, doesn’t even really try to be an everyday car. It’s a weekender, and it’s proud of it. With just 7 cubic feet of space in the trunk of the convertible (a bit less than a Mazda MX-5 Miata) or 11.7 cubic feet in the coupe, you’ll have to pack lightly.

That’s not to say it’s not comfortable. It rides well, the cabin is quiet (in both hard- and soft-top guises), and materials are all high-end and well-finished.

Taller occupants will find head room snug, and leg room is a bit short on the passenger side, but the seats are highly adjustable, and quite supportive and comfortable despite the sporty bolsters.

Strong standard and optional safety tech give us confidence even in the absence of official crash test ratings.

The 2016 Jaguar F-Type hasn’t been crash tested by either the IIHS or the NHTSA, owing to its relatively high price tag and low sales volume.

Nevertheless, it’s a modern car designed with rigidity and crashworthiness in mind, and offers a strong set of basic safety equipment, too.

Standard safety gear includes a full complement of airbags, stability and traction control, and, for convertible models, rollover protection built into the structure.

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