Four or five months ago my friends were announcing pregnancies and family members were making solid life choices. I boldly proclaimed to my apathetic dog how I single handedly fixed my neighborhood. After months of hard labor I, and I alone have restored my neighborhood’s good name. On an unassuming Saturday afternoon, as pickers picked over garage sales, families reaped the crops at farmers’ markets, and dogs frolicked amongst the wild flowers, a delivery truck pulled up to the house. A Russian truck driver named Igor rang the doorbell and delivered a new-to-me 2016 Jaguar F type S. My wife was alarmed at the color and she overheard our nervous neighbors calling police to notify them of the new arrival.
The initial shock wore off. Homeowners saw their property values begin to increase. The reception amongst the common folk consisted of, “What an unnecessary color.” “I bet that guy is single.” “I wonder what drives people to make poor life choices.” “Did he seriously put a sticker on that car!” I could tell this car was having the desired effect on the local townspeople.
Alright, alright I’ll cut the hyperbole and get to what I think about the car. This particular model hails from mighty Rhode Island and arrived with just over 5,000 miles on the odometer. The dealer stated the car was ordered as a gift for an older gentleman’s wife who loved orange, less than 8 months of owning the car she no longer wanted a manual. I was also told they would not negotiate the asking price. A few thousand dollars less, an agreement was reached and I realized the latter was not true, so who knows about the former. What I do know is I ended up with a firesand 2016 F- Type S in a manual with every option checked except for the body colored side sills. The car is a CPO, which includes the original 5 year 60,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty along with the CPO 7 year 100,000 mile warranty. I haven’t had to use any of it yet, but I am excited to try it all out. So what do I think of all this, and why do you care?
Quick background on my vehicle history. 2001 Chevy Astro -> 2005 Honda S2000 + 2005 Wrangler LJ -> 2009 Lotus Elise SC -> 2006 Dodge Viper -> 2015 Golf R -> 2016 Jaguar F-Type
Now that we got that out of the way, I can say I have a few years behind the wheel of cars with world class transmissions, sharp handling, monumental power, and all of these attributes belong to the Chevy Astro. Now for the review.
Yes, the car is beautiful. I love the looks, my wife loves the looks, most journalists love looks. Let’s look past that. I am going to mention a few of exterior defects. First, the shiny black trim included in the black pack is a coating. I was surprised to see the coating peels off on the chin spoiler after 5,000 miles. The cat needs a nose job. I will replace the front grill beam because of dealer installed rivets for the front plate holder. I registered the car in a good state, a state without front plates, FL. The side vents above the wheel wells are difficult to take care of, soap dries in the openings and leaving white residue. After a few months with the car those were the only note-worthy problems. Admittedly, I’m nit-picky. I immediately forgot them when I stand more than 5 feet away. Two things I absolutely love and have to mention are the taillights and the exhaust pipes. Now enjoy some pictures.
Let us venture inside. The black leather interior with firesand stitching is a favorite of all my cars interiors, and I had full the mighty blue S2000 interior. The performance seats are stiff and supportive, if not adjusted correctly they can be on the wrong side of comfortable. Both seats have 3 memory positions and 14 adjustments to find the sweet spot though. The bolstering shows wear after 5,000 miles. I’m writing to my local dealer about that as well. I’m 6’1 with work boots on and there is plenty of legroom. If you look up, the panoramic roof opens the cabin up. The black leather throughout the interior does not feel as tight as the Viper because of the glass top. I make this point because the Viper’s interior are dark mysterious places, and if claustrophobia bothers you, driving in a Viper will tick a particular box you may not like. On more than one occasion a passenger noted how it feels like a coffin. I would respond, please make my coffin look like this. The F Type’s glass roof is fantastic for daytime canyon carving. I cover the glass at night though because it reflects a lot of the interior lights, and distracts my eyes. The mood lighting is a problem. In dynamic mode everything turns red except for the door handle lights they stay blue. This bothers me.
The steering wheel has more buttons than I want on a wheel, which is none, but they are intuitive and I did not need to read a stinking manual. The dash layout and optional buttons are clearly marked and I don’t fumble over myself to access anything I need, like the louder and faster buttons. The soft touch materials covering the interior are pleasant and the leather roof liner lends itself to a cleaner look than suede or alcantra. If you ever drove in an NSX or watched Mr. Regular’s car videos he will talk about his favorite interior design feature which is an uninterrupted curve joining the windshield to the dash. The F-Type has a similar finishing edge in fact anywhere you look you’ll be pleased to see a finished design from seams to knobs to door handles.
The first generation manual transmissions have some issues and you can find the VIN numbers affected on the Jaguar forums. The warranty covers the replacement if you need it. You can rest easy knowing if your transmission grenades itself like it did in my godforsaken LJ, you’ll get a loaner to drive around and a new clutch & flywheel assembly for free. I would rate the transmission solidly between the Lotus and the Viper. The S2000 cannot compared to other cars I’ve driven.It has remained the gold standard to me, but I did appreciate the Elise SC’s quick response for gear change.
The F-Type has more horsepower and torque to deal with than the S and the Elise, I think it does the job well-enough. I get some wheel chirp and spin in 2nd gear if I’m pushing it, but overall it puts the power down. I also think if I put Super Sports on the wheels I would be even more impressed. If it explodes and I get a new one I’ll write about that experience later on. The only major complaint I have is the lockout gear for Reverse is subpar. The layout is up and to the left, so it is only an issue if you are in a hurry to get into first, but I still don’t accept that as an excuse. Side note, I was able to teach my neighbor’s teenagers to drive stick. They never had any interest in driving until the Jag was next door. Now, they can drive a manual around town with no issues.
The big ‘ol twin supercharged V6 is heavy, what else can I say. If you search articles you’ll find out the engine is derived from ford … words words words same casting as V8 ( similar but not exactly the same) words words words. The engine is heavy, the car is heavy. I don’t think the car is underpowered by any stretch of the imagination, and I’ve driven the R I just wanted a manual more than I wanted cylinders. The car feels heavier than any other car I’ve driven, and although it doesn’t respond like the Viper my passengers giggle at the punch the cat packs.
The exhaust note reminds me of a 350z on steroids, it growls screams and pops. The sound isn’t synthetic, it is manufactured. I’m okay with this. To me, it is the equivalent of Ronnie Coleman yelling “ain’t nothing but a peanut” as he lifts a small village. He doesn’t have to yell it, he chooses too, however there is no auto tune mutilating his voice, just his god-given vocal cords. If the F Type has the ability to growl at you, let it growl, it just wants to say “HI!” If exhaust is what you’re after though, go buy a GT350, it sounds better than the R in my humble opinion.
This is a fun British roadster turned coupe. I can drive on the track or on retirement community round-a-bout. There are better cars for those scenarios but nothing is as pretty doing the tasks. After owning this car would I buy a better equipped 911? No. Would I get myself an LC500 for the ultimate GT? No. I would buy the same exact car, because I enjoy driving it. There are owners on the forums that are pushing 450hp out of the V6, but I’ve had it, I don’t need it. I just want to have fun, and when I drive the car I do exactly that.