2021 Jaguar F-Type: First Drive Review

The V8-powered sports car boasts impressive power, handling and style.
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2021 Jaguar F-Type R (1)

Before the Jaguar F-Type debuted in 2013, plenty of gearheads were skeptical of its prospects. This was the car Jag intended to inherit the proud lineage of the famed E-Type – a legendary machine chiseled into automotive history’s Mount Rushmore.

The F-Type shrugged off those doubts with a heady mix of power, grace and style. It took home World Car Design of the Year at the New York International Auto Show and went on to claim more than 175 various awards around the world in the years since — culminating with the Performance Car of the Year title at the 2019 Honest John Awards.

2021 Jaguar F-Type R (4)

Never likely to rest on such laurels, Jaguar got out ahead of its rivals by unveiling the 2021 Jaguar F-Type early to assembled media in Lisbon, Portugal. While careful not to reinvent these four wheels with aggressive alterations, Jag did add elements to catch the eye on all versions and to push the most beefed-up trim levels that much faster.

2021 Jaguar F-Type R (3)

The latest design flourishes for the 2021 F-Type include a new, more aerodynamic hood, an enlarged signature grille, a new front bumper design and slim LED headlights with “signature J” daytime running lights. However, Jaguar’s design boffins were smart enough to leave the clearest identifying lines of the latest F-Type intact. This is a car that not only catches the eye, but immediately announces its presence.

2021 Jaguar F-Type R (7)

Inside, the driver can enjoy the familiar Jaguar craftsmanship down to the leather interior and standard sport steering wheel. For 2021, the gauges, infotainment and satellite navigation systems operate from a new, 12.3-inch HD virtual instrument cluster.

Still, what sets the F-Type apart atop the Jaguar performance line is its power and handling. The 2021 F-Type R models (the performance-tuned edition) enjoys a more powerful, supercharged V8 engine. In an era when such engines are fading from view, driving fans everywhere should applaud a V8 providing 575 horsepower and a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds.

2021 Jaguar F-Type R (6)

That powerplant puts out an unmistakable, growling and barking exhaust note that proves unabashedly aggressive. There’s a switch to turn that engine noise down, but I can’t imagine a red-blooded human who’d want to do that.

The chassis and suspension gets upgraded with new springs, dampers, anti-roll bars and rear knuckles. With these additions, the F-Type keeps its signature handling as the suspension of this car has always been outstanding. Traditionally, there are sports cars that feel rough, but let you feel the road — and luxury cars that remove that touch of the pavement in favor of comfort. The engineering within the F-Type dances deftly on the sensual razor’s edge — providing driving comfort without numbing the steering wheel.

2021 Jaguar F-Type R (5)

The 2021 Jaguar F-Type provides all of this style and speed without pushing into the six figure range. The trim set starts around $60,000. Add enough bangs and whistles (with the V8) and driving pleasure will run you north of $85,000. That’s not outrageous for a car offering near supercar levels of performance.