It seems you can add “cost of entry” to the list of terms like “boot” and “chips” that don’t mean the same thing in England and America.
How else to explain the lack of an elementary feature like voice-recognition on the $102,225 Jaguar F-type V8 S convertible? For Pete’s sake, I drove a $15,085 Chevy Spark with voice recognition for phone calls, navigation and more earlier this year.
The idea of a six-figure luxury car that doesn’t offer voice recognition in 2013 is as bizarre as trying to sell the car without air conditioning. VR systems have become commonplace features that reduce driver distraction and make vehicles safer.
The two-seat F-type V8 S has loads of power and a sporty character, but its price and features put it at a disadvantage versus the Audi R8 V8, BMW Z4 sDrive35is, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51, Mercedes SL 550 and Porsche Carrera S.
Prices start at $69,000 for a 2014 F-type with a 3.0-liter supercharged 340-horsepower V6 engine. The F-type S ratchets that engine’s output up to 380-hp and goes for $81,000. A rip-snorting 495-hp 5.0L supercharged V8 in the F-type S V8 starts at $92,000. All F-types come with a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. A hardtop F-type coupe goes on sale next spring. Jaguar will unveil that model next week at the Los Angeles and Tokyo auto shows.
I tested an F-type S V8 convertible that stickered at $102,225. All prices exclude destination charges.
The V8 produces 460 pound-feet of torque, which beats the R8, Z4 and 911 Carrera S and trails the Stingray Z51 and SL550. An active exhaust system lets the driver select a snarling, dramatic exhaust note or a quieter, unobtrusive sound. The V8 hits 60 m.p.h. in 4.2 seconds and has a top speed of 186 m.p.h.
The F-type is nearly the size of the Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. It’s the sportiest car Jag has made in years, but that racy appeal comes at the cost of some of the plush character and graceful looks that have been Jaguar’s hallmarks.
The car I tested had a black interior with leather trim and a severe look that’s quite different from Jaguar’s usualplush appeal and warm wood.
The controls are easy to read, and deep sport seats hold occupants snug. A touch screen controls audio, navigation and telephone. A bin in the center console and another in the passenger compartment’s rear bulkhead provide storage.
The big, low grille is recognizable as a Jaguar, but the car’s narrow rear end seems divorced from the brand’s visual heritage.
The power soft top opens and closes in just 12 seconds and works at up to 30 m.p.h.
Blind spot alert, front parking sensors, rear parking camera, HD and satellite radio, heated seats and a heated steering wheel are all options, surprising given the V8’s $92,000 base price.
The F-type’s handling and steering are razor sharp. It hugs curves and remains stable in enthusiastic maneuvers. The suspension is tuned more for handling than a plush ride. Multimode stability control can be set to let the car’s rear end slide slightly in heavy acceleration. The V8 S gets 15-inch front and 12.8-inch rear disc brakes for prodigious stopping power.
The F-type S V8 has the power and performance to run with top convertible sports cars, but Jaguar’s plan to match power and performance with features and luxury got lost in translation.
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