The Jaguar F-TYPE has been covered on this site many times before, but I can never have enough of this car.
From the time it first appeared in 2013, it has done nothing but impress. Each and every variant I have driven, has only gone on to further cement its reputation as one of the greatest sports cars currently on sale, anywhere on this planet.
Over the years, we have seen it go from a sleek convertible, to a sexy coupe. Power figures have steadily climbed also, and nowadays range from 340 hp to 575 hp. When the F-TYPE was first introduced, it would send all its power to just the rear wheels, but as of 2015, the option of all-wheel drive is also available.
Now, another new option is making the news, and it regards the gearbox!
You see, from the outset, the F-TYPE was only available with an eight-speed automatic gearbox; and as great as this ZF unit has been, purists have been bugging Jaguar to offer an alternative.
So, late last year, for the 2016 model year, the Jaguar F-TYPE could be ordered with a six-speed manual gearbox (also a ZF unit). However, with this option, comes some limitations. For instance, if you want a V8 F-TYPE, or one that has all-wheel drive, you’ll have to have an automatic.
If rear-wheel drive, and V6 power suits your needs, then the six-speed manual can be had. But, I have driven lots of cars where the manual is actually not the preferred transmission; after all, a bad manual is no fun. So, how does the F-TYPE manual gearbox fare?
Well, it is actually better than I was expecting it to be. It isn’t the fastest, or smoothest manual in existence, but when you get the shift just right, it is immensely satisfying.
The shift from first to second gear has a bit of a notch in between, and it’ll be familiar to anyone who has driven a six-speed manual BMW in the last decade, because both these car companies have a supply deal with ZF. However, I think Jaguar has tweaked the transmission just a tiny bit, and the end result is a slightly smoother shift.
The clutch pedal has an ideal weight to it, its not too soft, nor too hard – however, in a traffic jam, all manuals are a pain on your ankles, and this one is no different.
Rather than having eight gears to work with – as in the automatic – the manual has six-speeds. That means, each gear is just a bit longer than the ones in the automatic. While that has an adverse affect on performance numbers (with a 0 to 100 km/h time of 5.5 seconds, the manual is 0.6 seconds slower in this sprint when compared to the automatic + the manual drinks more fuel, too – I averaged 12.1L/100km with the manual, the auto had averaged 10.1L/100km), out on the open road, it does something magical!
Because of the taller gears, you get to enjoy the pull of its magnificent motor a little bit longer, and the motor is a sweetheart of a thing. The manual F-TYPE is available with either 340 hp, or (as in my V6S tester) 380 hp. This supercharged engine has lots of bottom end grunt, and as a result, it never feels to be lagging when you step on the pedal on the right. Since you get to pull each gear longer, you get to enjoy its exhaust note that much more, and what a noise this car makes – this is easily one of the best sounding cars on earth!
On the highway, I would just leave it in sixth-gear and use the motors immense torque (339 lb-ft) to surge me past slower moving traffic. If you keep your foot planted in sixth, you’ll hit its speed limiter at 275 km/h – don’t try that in Canada, please.
It took very little time for me to once again fall in love with an F-TYPE, since it is a car I pretty much like everything about. I love its looks (the coupe especially, is a sensation for the eyes), I love the interior (a wonderful place to be in, with enough gadgets to keep most folks amused), and then I love its ride and handling. I honestly don’t have any gripes about this car.
As for the manual versus automatic debate. If you consider things logically, the automatic is the better gearbox. The car is not only quicker with it, but also drinks less fuel, and is much easier to live with, especially if you do a lot of city driving. But, often times, buying a sports car is not a logical decision – it comes from the heart, and my heart wants the manual version.
Also, keep this in mind, that most people will buy an F-TYPE with the automatic, so in the future, when the F-TYPE is a classic, very few manuals will be available, hence making them a bit of a collectors piece, which could potentially bag you big bucks at an auction. So, a worthy investment, perhaps.
For now, you’ll need $78,500 for the base manual, or $89,500 for the V6S version. If I could, I’d bring one home permanently, right now.