Waves crash into the rocks of the shore. There is a thick wall of fog that lingers out over the water, but the sun beams down brightly at the coast. A sustained sea breeze rustles the branches of crooked Cyprus trees, and a ribbon of asphalt winds gracefully along the perimeter of the rocky cliffs that overlook the sea. There is no traffic to speak of, only me at the helm of this bright-orange Jaguar F-Type.
The wind plows through my hair, as I rush through the glamorous scenery, as if in some sort of hurry to leave this oasis of Heaven I’ve found on Earth. Loud barks and crackles emanate from the high-strung V6 engine, echoing back to my ears off of the trees as I fly by. The high-pitched whine of a supercharger joins in as the revs charge toward redline, and the speed piles on at an exhilarating rate. I touch the brakes for an upcoming bend, and turn in at what should be highway speed. The F-Type clings to the road as if with mighty claws, completely at home with the rapid pace I have set. Getting back on the gas, I shoot out of the corner with haste, now staring right into the face of the massive expanse of ocean and fog. It feels as if I am about to charge into the abyss when the road turns me back toward the sun and the trees. As I continue forth, I just can’t help thinking “what an unbelievable experience this is.”
Usually, a story like this would end with, “and then I woke up.” However, despite being a dream scenario, this was no dream. It was one of those drives I will always remember, one that will stay with me as time goes by. It will be a place I can go in my mind when I need a break from the stress of the world, and serve as a fantastic reminder of exactly why it is that I do what I do here. I will be honest, much of the stuff you see on this site, and really all automotive publications, is heavily embellished upon. However, hand on heart, I can tell you that, for a few precious minutes, I lived exactly what you see in the description above. It was majestic, reaffirming, and there are few cars that could have done it better than this Jag.
I had briefly sampled the F-type earlier in the summer on a wet autocross course, but this was my first real drive in one on proper roads. I did drive both the V6 S and V8 S while out at Monterey Car Week, but this time around I will be giving them each their own separate reviews. This article is on the V6 S, so let’s see what’s what with it.
As far as raw, head-turning curb appeal goes, the F-Type is in a different league than anything you could realistically compare it to. Porsche’s 911s and Boxsters are great cars, but they are a bit cliché because everyone seems to have one. While the new C7 Corvette does look incredible, it also just winds up being everywhere like the Porsches. The Corvette also has a distinctly more blue-collar stigma to it. Compare the F-Type to the run-of-the-mill German sports cars, the Audi TT, BMW Z4, and Mercedes SLK, and the contrast is as stark as can be.
The F-Type’s wide, sleek design borrows from many of the classic Jags that came before it. Naturally there is some E-Type influence throughout, and those hip lines come straight off of the Jaguar D-Type. The F-Type looks like a modern Jag sports car should look. It is classy, but it has a sort of swankiness to it, like a man who would dress up for a formal gathering and then give the cocktail waitress a spank on the bum as she walks away with his empty glass…. right in front of his wife, of course.
I won’t pretend for a second that the F-Type is as pretty as the original E-Type was, but the world has changed to the point where such a car is not possible in the modern age. Safety regulations, and all that nonsense, won’t allow such pure beauty. That said, the F-Type is surely one of the best looking cars on the market today. It is about as handsome and voluptuous as a car its size can get, and when you see one in traffic, I’m sure that you will find that it looks its part.
The F-Type is a roadster, not some huge luxury barge, so naturally it’s not going to rival an XJ in terms of interior comforts. That said, the F-Type’d interior is surely quite a nice place to be. It has all the gizmos and gadgets that you’d expect these days, as well as the solid build quality we’ve come to expect from Jaguar. Also of note, Jaguar has ditched its “hockey puck” gear selector in favor of a nice new gear lever that is more conventional, yet also more high-tech at the same time.
The optional sport seats were fitted to the car I drove, and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The F-Type is a sports car, so if you aren’t experiencing any lateral Gs, then you’ve wasted your money. The seats themselves are comfortable in a sporty kind of way. There is good lateral support, but you aren’t squeezed into the seat.
One area you will be making concessions in is practicality. Obviously, this is a two-seater to begin with, so expectations were never high, but the trunk in the F-Type is miniscule. Should you decide to get the optional spare tire, just realize that you are also choosing to get rid of any trunk space that you were ever hoping to have. To be reasonable, there is enough room for taking a couple squishy bags on a day trip, or maybe even to do some light shopping (a half-gallon of milk and a carton of eggs). However, if practicality is your main concern, those Porsches and Corvettes do offer a lot more storage space.
On the road
Jaguar hails the V6 S as the most well-rounded of the F-Type lineup, and that is spot-on. As a dynamic package, it is a little bit handling biased, but certainly has far too much power to be considered a full momentum car. It comes off as just an extremely well-rounded, well executed sports car.
The first thing I noticed was how it felt a lot different to drive than the Jaguar XK-R/R-S. The XK is more of a true grand touring car, and you kind of feel like you are sitting “on” the chassis while you drive it. The F-Type, on the other hand, feels much more like a traditional sports car, and you feel like you are down “in” the chassis while you are driving. The center of gravity seems lower, it seems more eager to change direction on turn-in, and it rotates much more willingly with its shorter wheelbase.
The F-Type is so short, and so wide, with so much rubber at each corner that it feels like a big go-kart on the road. There is grip for days in hard corners, and fantastic balance when you approach the limits. It feels extremely nimble, and the V6 F-Type’s biggest advantage over the V8 F-Type is its lighter front-end. Consequently, it feels a little more lively and responsive to your inputs, giving it a slightly sharper feel when being thrown around with any vigor.
Steering is pretty light, extremely quick, and extremely accurate, however it does lack the road feel that you may want from this sort of car. In reality, the lack of feedback does little to spoil any of the fun. The car is just so responsive, so precise that you don’t really care that the steering wheel isn’t shivering around in your hands.
The other controls are nice, too. Braking is nice and powerful with the optional “Super Performance” brakes fitted on this car, something I suggest everyone spring for. Throttle response is also nice and crisp, one of the advantages of a supercharged engine over a turbocharged engine. Lastly, the gearbox I have high praise for. It is Jaguar’s new 8 speed automatic, and it really is getting close to the level of many of the dual-clutch boxes out there. When you really wind the car out, it returns insanely quick shifts with the same feeling of sustained momentum that I felt in the PDK equipped Porsche 991 I drove. Praise for an auto-box cannot come much higher than that.
I must, however, point out one divisive detail about the F-Type, and that is that there is no manual transmission offered. Of the three F-Type models offered, I think the V6 S is the one that would benefit from having a clutch pedal the most. It is the best balanced of the three, with a great driving experience that could only be made better with more tangible involvement. I’m not criticizing the 8 speed autobox at all, but I really do think Jaguar needs to offer a manual transmission option, if only just for the V6 models.
The engine in the F-Type V6 S is a supercharged 3.0L V6 that produces a solid 380hp. If you just compare this car to the 500hp V8 S on paper, such a number seems like a pittance, but if you really stop and think about it, 380hp is quite a lot of punch in a car like this. Keep in mind that it was only a decade ago when a Ferrari 360 had just 14 more ponies than this F-Type V6 S. Horsepower figures may have gone off the charts since then, but in terms of the amount of force this car pushes itself around with, it definitely has the goods.
Speed piles on smoothly at a rapid rate when you floor the throttle. Highway speeds are dispatched with ease and before you even realize it, you are in the handcuff zone. The V6 S may be the 2nd best of the range in terms of power, but it is still a fantastically rapid car, especially by the standard of most cars on public roads.
Road & Track’s Performance Test Results:
0-60mph — 4.2 sec
0-100mph — 10.3 sec
1/4 Mile — 12.7 sec @ 110mph
Top Speed — 171mph (limited)
Braking 60-0 — 112ft
MPG — 19/27 w/ 22.3mpg observed
The real ace in the hole for the F-Type V6 S has to be the exhaust note. It adds so much wonderful drama to the experience, and sends shivers down your spine as you drive along. They’ve taken the throaty V6 hum, and have turned it into more of a shriek. Then when you let off the gas you get loud pops and burbles as backfires erupt from the dual exhaust tips. Sure, maybe the V6 S isn’t outlandishly fast, but the sound from the exhaust adds that extra bit of magic to the whole experience that separates the F-Type from other cars.
In aggregate, every aspect of the F-Type V6 S seems to be in balance with every other aspect of the car. As I said before, it has “a lot” of horsepower, and it is quite fast, but not to the point of excess. The power of the engine does not pull a coup d’etat on the whole driving experience. Instead it offers up its share effectively and then allows you to focus on other aspects of the drive.
During those tight, winding corners by the sea, I never felt like I had to struggle with the engine to find the right amount of power to put down. The car simply put whatever amount of throttle I asked of it straight to the pavement, turning gasoline into motion, not tire smoke. It feels as if the F-Type V6 S has “the right” amount of power for the the type of car that it is, not too much, not too little, but just enough and nothing more. Now add in the fantastic handling, eager driving dynamics, hefty braking, and the awesome sound it makes, and you wind up with a car that offers one hell of a grand automotive experience.
Dollars and Sense
Base Price — $81,000
Max Price — $99,925
How I’d Have It — $88,150
I must admit that I fell in love with the F-Type V6 S that day that I drove it. And how could I not when circumstance granted me that unbelievable experience, which I swear was actually a taste of Heaven? Jaguar has made a phenomenal car here, and I mean phenomenal in the highest sense. I really wish I could leave it here with the F-Type sitting there as an object, gleaming in all of its bright orange glory. However, in the real world, cars cost money, and that is where we may have a bit of an issue with the V6 S.
It is clear to me that Jaguar was pricing the F-Type S models against the Porsche 911, and yes, compared to them the F-Type is a bargain. The problem is that the Porsche 911 may well be one of the most overpriced cars on the market right now, so Jaguar making a comparative bargain has only served to make them the second most expensive option when you look at the whole segment.
The F-Type V6 S is definitely a bit pricy for what it is. While I’d argue you pay more for its fantastic experiential aspects, in terms of raw performance, it won’t really walk away from a BMW Z4 sDrive35is, a Mercedes SLK55 AMG, or a Porsche Boxster S. Of those three, I think the Boxster poses the biggest threat because it can rival the F-Type on an experiential level as well as performance. Then, of course there is the mighty C7 Corvette, the $51,000 thorn in everyone’s side.
The BMW and the Mercedes are similar to the F-Type in that they are roadsters with plus or minus 400hp. They don’t, however, possess the same “special” factor that the Jag does. However, for people just shopping for any convertible in this range, those two offer a far better deal than either of the V6 F-Type models.
When it comes to the Corvette, I think the Jag would get walked on a racetrack for sure. That said, the flavor of the two cars is very, very different. The Vette is a sort of blue-collar hero while the Jag is something for an up-in-coming executive — a stepping stone while climbing the corporate ladder, on the way to the eventual Audi R8 V10, Mercedes SLS AMG, or even a Ferrari 458 Italia. Also of note, the Corvette isn’t even remotely in the same price bracket as the F-Type V6 S, so it is doubtful they will be cross shopped too often.
Looking at the Boxster S, the base price is a lot lower than that of the F-Type V6 S at $62,000. However, it is possible to bring a Boxster S up to $100,000 with options, just like this F-Type, so there is definitely a meeting point along the way. When I spec’d each of the cars as I, personally, would have them, the Porsche came out to $82,000 and the Jag reached $88,000. $6,000 may sound like a lot of money to some of you, but when you are dropping over $80,000 on a car, they might as well be the same price.
With the prices basically at a level point, I feel like the F-Type just has more appeal to it. There is more of the “special” factor woven into the car as an experience, and I want that when I’m dropping this sort of money on a car. That said, if you want a clutch pedal, the Porsche is the only way to go.
The last issue with the market placement of the F-Type V6 S is its relative proximity to the F-Type V8 S. They generally sit around $10,000 apart, and similar to before, that just isn’t a whole lot of money at this level. The issue, however is that every car that sits above the V6 S that could make it seem a bargain, also happens to sit above the V8 S. In truth, the F-Type V8 S is pretty cheap for what it gives you, and the V6 S is a bit expensive for what it gives you. I wouldn’t call the V6 S a total ripoff by any means, but I would have a hard time spending $90-100k on a car with under 400hp when I could have one with 500hp for basically the same price.
The Jaguar F-Type V6 S is a fantastic example of a modern sports car. It is fast, uses its power effectively, and will goes through corners like mad. Its execution is nothing short of brilliant, and Jaguar has clearly made a special effort to give the F-Type an emotional appeal that has become absent in much of the automotive market these days. It is a car that speaks to your soul, and that alone makes it worthwhile.
The V6 S is, however, a bit overpriced compared to competition in the marketplace. Because of this, and its proximity to the V8 F-Type in price, I think that the V6 F-Types, both of them, will depreciate in value much quicker than the V8 models will, at least until the point where the market finds the right value in the package it offers. I foresee a fairly rapid depreciation down to around the $60-65k level, where it would level with the likes of the brand new BMW Z4s and Mercedes SLK55s, and then go from there with the segment as a whole.
The thought of the F-Type V6 S getting cheap on the used market over the next few years is one that makes my mouth water. As I said before, I very much fell in love with this car that day, and I long for the day when its depreciation matches my budget. $90k for something like this may not be good, but $35-40K? That sounds like a fantastic idea.
The Jaguar F-Type V6 S is a stunning machine that offers a fantastic driving experience. The thought of driving it along the coast that day will simmer in the depths of my mind for the rest of my life, ready to be conjured up whenever I just need a break. The F-Type V6 S may be a bit on the pricey side, but I would never criticize anyone who springs for it, even forgoing the V8 model. I love it.
WoM Score: Jaguar F-Type V6 S
Primary Function: Performance: 2
Secondary Functions: Luxury(2) Practicality(1) MPG(2): 2
Visual Appeal: 2
Build Quality: 2
Value for Money: 1
Final Score: 9/10