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Road Test: 2014 Jaguar F-Type

Jaguar again is on the prowl, this time

Jaguar again is on the prowl, this time with the crackling F-Type, the British company's first two-seat sports convertible in 40 years. Photo Credit: Jaguar / Scripps Howard News Service

Following in the footsteps of a famous parent is difficult; just ask Jakob Dylan, Rufus Wainwright or George W. Bush. The 2014 Jaguar F-Type, which hit showrooms in June, faces the same challenge.

Its forebear, the 1961 Jaguar E-Type, was heralded as a work of art from its introduction. Created before the advent of government regulation, the E-Type was so unlike anything else that had come before or since, it quickly became iconic, a lifestyle prop to swinging London, the British Invasion and Carnaby Street.

So what do you do for an encore? How do you follow something that's legendary from its inception? Such brilliance rarely happens twice.

Consider what the F-Type faces. It must meet government mandates across multiple continents. At the same time, it must satisfy the Jaguar loyalists who have been clamoring for this car since the E-Type staggered offstage in 1974.

And yet the F-Type avoids the pitfalls of other automotive sequels. This is a modern sports car, with two seats and rear-wheel drive.

The base F-Type, base price $69,000, is fitted with a supercharged V-6 that develops 340 horsepower and reaches 60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds. At the top of the food chain sits the F-Type S V-8 starting at $92,000. This is the feral cat of the family, with 495 horsepower and able to reach 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds.

The F-Type S V-8 I drove was ridiculously fun, delivering abundant power with a delightfully raspy, ferocious exhaust snarl accentuated by backfiring pops loud enough to disturb the neighbors and make dogs bark.

The package includes firm sculpted performance seats with adjustable side bolsters, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, red brake calipers and Configurable Dynamic Mode, which allows you to customize the response of the throttle, steering, suspension and transmission.

As the V-8's power pours out, the tires grab madly at the pavement, wailing their sweet melody as the back end twitches wildly, allowing just enough tail dancing to be mischievously fun. The eight-speed transmission snaps off the shifts so quickly you may not miss a manual transmission.

There's no sensory deprivation in this car. The hydraulic-assisted power steering is perfectly tuned, nicely weighted and provides the right amount of feedback. Handling response is tight and quick; there's no noticeable body roll in corners.

Regardless of model, the F-Type's performance is remarkable; it's a true sports car.





Base price: $69,000

Price as tested: $92,000

Engine: supercharged DOHC 5.0-liter V-8

Wheelbase: 103.2 inches

Length: 176 inches

Weight: 3,671 pounds

Cargo space: 7 cubic feet

EPA fuel economy: 16 mpg city/23 highway

Bottom line: Delightful adult roadster

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