OPINION | Jaguar just ruined the F-Type for me
Styling may be a controversial subject, but Thomas Falkiner isn't keeping quiet about what Jaguar has done to its new 2020 F-Type
I've long had a soft spot for the Jaguar F-Type. Launched with much fanfare in 2013, it's one of those sports cars I have always looked forward to driving — and I have driven them lots. The V6. The V6 S (my personal favourite). The V8 S and R and SVR. Heck, I've even spent time in the “entry-level” 2.0-litre (probably my second favourite). While power outputs differ hugely (from 221 to 423kW), all F-Type models are fun and engaging sportsters that still, nearly seven years after the fact, manage to reward the world's driving enthusiasts.
But now we have a problem. You see the bigwigs at Jaguar decided that the F-Type needed an update, a facelift. And in some areas it did. The infotainment system, for example, has long been criticised for being somewhat old-school and clunky. As such, it's now been given an upgrade and features full Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Nice. As is de rigueur in the car industry these days, the instrument cluster has also been made fully digital. I can live with that. Ditto the new software tweaks on the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission (for snappier shifts). What I can't, though, is the car's new visage.
I loved the face of the “old” F-Type. It looked mean and hungry, and eager to scamper on down that road unexplored. But now Jaguar has affixed this new nose that's an uninspired mash-up of an I-Pace and an XE. In the press pictures it just looks weird and out of place, and in my opinion robs a significant amount of that visual magic the F-Type once had.
And for what? To fall in line with a new set of corporate design guidelines stipulating that all cars in the Jaguar portfolio must carry the same “DNA”? To subliminally remind the world that the I-Pace is, in fact, the stylistic (and technological) benchmark the rest of the pack must honour? I don't know about you, but I liked that in 2019 the F-Type didn't really mirror all the other models in the marque's line-up. It was individualistic and recognisable. Now it looks like an adaptation of an electric SUV. And this makes me sad.