Image source: Jaguar Land Rover
These lights are an exclusive feature of our tested $103,200, 575-horsepower, 516 lb.-ft., supercharged 5.0-liter V8 coupe model. A drop-top version starts at $105,900. It sends power through a ZF 8HP70 8-speed planetary automatic transmission to a computer-controlled all-wheel drive system, accelerating to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds to reach an electronically limited top speed of 186 mph.
We also get the choice of a U.S. market-only mid-level model, the P380. That car is also all-wheel drive with the same automatic transmission, but draws power from a supercharged 380-hp, 339 lb.ft., 3.0-liter V6 engine, with coupe pricing starting at $81,800 and the convertible at $84,900.
|Jaguar F-Type vehicle dynamics manager Tanmay Dube was born in India, but relocated to the U.K. as a baby and graduated from the University of Bath with a master's degree in Automotive Engineering in 2010. Straight out of school, Dube started at McLaren Automotive during the launch phase of the MP4-12C, that company's first mass-produced model. He was able to work on McLaren's legendary P1 hybrid electric hypercar and took the lead developing the current 720S. Dube joined Jaguar in 2018, and was responsible for whole-vehicle integration and attribute delivery for the 2021 F-Type. Image source: Jaguar Land Rover.|
The P380 zooms to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, and continues to a top speed of 171 mph. This model, as a U.S.-only car, was unavailable for evaluation at the test drive in Portugal.
We did, however, also get to drive the lighter and more accessible F-Type P300. This model starts at $61,600 for the coupe and $64,700 for the roadster. It packs a 296-hp, 295-lb. ft. turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. This is a rear-drive model, using ZF’s 8HP45 8-speed automatic transmission.
There is no conventional H-pattern manual transmission available in the F-Type. This of course is an anathema to sports car traditionalists, but their numbers are dwindling to the point that carmakers are increasingly unable to make a rational business case for offering a DIY gearbox option.
Between the lighter engine, lighter transmission and the elimination of the all-wheel drive system, the F-Type P300 coupe weighs 3,351, which is almost exactly 500 lbs. lighter than the V8, AWD F-Type R. This mass reduction shifts the car’s weight balance to the rear wheels by a couple percentage points and contributes to the car’s ability to sprint to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. Terminal velocity of this model is electronically limited to 155 mph.
It might take some getting used to for customers to think about spending more than $60,000 for a luxury sports car that has only four cylinders beneath its graceful hood, but hours spent slicing through the sinuous roads of Portugal’s Serra de Estrela mountains demonstrated this concern to be misplaced.
The four-cylinder not only delivers ample power, as illustrated by its excellent 0-60 acceleration, but it is accompanied by an entirely appropriate soundtrack. The inline cylinder arrangement seemingly delivers a more invigorating aural component to the drive than is the case with the horizontally opposed flat-four engine of the Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman models.
Image source: Jaguar Land Rover