“It was the best of times, it was the best of times, it was the age of Jaguar’s first manual transmission in two decades, it was the age of the F-Type strengthening its position in the luxury sports car world”
– Jay Kana, inspired by Charles Dickens
Ah, the great debate between manual and automatic transmissions. Purists say “I want to be in full control of the car”. Modernists say “let the car do the work”.
There’s been a steady decline in the DIY method over the years and several models don’t even offer a manual gearbox anymore. Even the astounding Nissan GT-R only comes in a double-clutch automatic version.
Even with a savings of around $1,000 for a manual, consumers are willing to pay for an automatic gear box.
A quick social media survey showed 54% support for the “use all four limbs” method
So when I was given the chance to test out the 2016 Jaguar F-Type in both manual and automatic, I immediately said yes. If I had a secretary, I’d bellow “clear my schedule for the next two weeks! I don’t care if the Taylor Swift and AC/DC do want to co-write an album with me!” Luckily, it was only my two cats that got to see me so giddy with excitement in my office, also known as my kitchen.
I managed to do the two test drives in back to back weeks so I could get a true comparative sense of both vehicles. I’m familiar with the 2015 F-Type so I had an inkling of what Jaguar’s two-door sports car had in store for me during my two weeks of blissful driving that took me from Milton to Peterborough with plenty of spots in between.
The 2016 F-Type is more of a cockpit than a cabin. At least that’s how it feels to me. The 14 way power and leather adjustable seats ensures that the portly or petite will find their ideal driving position with ease. I can vouch personally for the portly side of things.
An impressive full width panoramic roof comes standard and I heartily applaud that as it really opens up the interior…good ol’ natural light! Want something lighter? There’s an available carbon fibre roof available.
The eight-inch colour touch screen is easy to navigate and responds well to whatever you request from it. I know, I know, it leaves fingerprints. If you have money for an F-Type, you should have a few bucks laying around for a microfiber cloth. Or you can borrow mine.
The good folks at Meridian have custom designed a 770-watt, 12-speaker sound system with a sub-woofer specifically for the F-Type. Robert Johnson’s scratchy recordings sounded heavenly. Dave Matthews, Bruce Springsteen, Queen and Ryan Adams sounded symphonic. Even AM radio sounded great.
There’s 330 litres of cargo space, enough for a weekend away or golf clubs. Pack strategically is my advice.
If I’m to ask for something, it’d be for a fully digital dashboard. Yes, the analog dials (speed and RPM’s) offer a historic touch but having that extra bump in a vehicle full of technology would a nice finish.
Not complaining, mind you; only suggesting.
The active air vents (where the collapse into the dashboard when not in use) is a great space saving technique and a damn fine party trick!
The three spoked, flat-bottomed steering wheel is uber comfortable and on automatic models, there are paddle shifters if you think your reflexes are faster than what Jaguar engineers have offered.
Full marks for giving the driver beautiful surroundings as they navigate this luxury sports car through city and urban settings.
With all sorts of attention paid to aerodynamics, the body design of the 2016 F-Type attracts the eyes of car enthusiasts as well as the common driver to non-driver. The deployable rear-spoiler kicks in at 110 km/h (96 km/h for the drop top) and the deployable door handles tuck in nicely for an even smoother look. The J-Blade LED running headlights are stunning along with the adaptive front headlights and complimented by the rear LED lights. Come to think of it, there’s LED’s all through the vehicle for a classy, modern ambiance.
The optional 20” wheels that came with my tester frame the F-Type beautifully.
Jaguar has created a head-turning machine with a masculine stance, sweet and sweeping lines along with an overall body shape that echo’s the brilliance of their design team. The elongated hood, sloping rear window, the solid “thud” of the doors all contribute to its beauty.
The pictures below will carry the rest of this section as there’s only so much gushing I can do about the spectacular, fluid, smooth, elegant, impressive and seductive body style.
Here’s where things get interesting:
Both cars came equipped with a 3.0 Supercharged V6 motor with 380 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque.
Of the four braking systems available, the manual was optioned with the Super Performance Brake Pack ($1,600) and the automatic fitted with the standard High Performance.
Naturally, the F-Type handles like a dream filled with low gas prices, no one cutting you off, everyone using their blinker and truly clean diesel (is it too soon to joke about that in late September 2015?)
Twists, turns, corners, ascents, descents, bends…whatever I threw at the Jag, it responded mockingly as if to say “forgive me for yawning as you attempt to challenge me”.
The automatic transmission in the S AWD model, which is run through an eight-speed QuickShift ZF transmission, reacts impeccably to whatever your right foot demands. And sometimes I can be demanding. More so when I’m driving through rural areas. I spent a weekend at Viamede Resort and the drive to and from was simply magnificent. The roads were open, the gas tank full and my excited hands maneuvering the steering wheel through all sorts of twists and turns.
Jaguar says this version can hit 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds and that felt about right after doing a couple of independent, unofficial tests.
The automatic transmission lets you focus solely on moving the steering wheel (and paddle shifters if you so choose). There’s no clutch to dance with. No gearshift to row through. Just pure, driving enjoyment, Plain Jane and Simple Simon. Traffic on the 401/403/410/QEW/Gardiner/everywhere in the GTA (except for a few minutes between 3:48 am and 3:51am on the 403) will keep you relaxed and only require one limb to shuffle through molasses-like highway traffic.
In the F-Type’s case, the autobox receives full marks from me. The sheer power of the supercharged V6 that makes the supple leather seats feel like they’re an extension of your body is breathtaking. The utter brilliance that shifts gears seamlessly and with pinpoint accuracy can never be reproduced by human reflexes. If you’re adventurous, give the paddle shifters a whirl.
If you want the handsome Jaguar to lead you with precision, power and poise while you sit back and enjoy the ride, the automatic gearbox reigns supreme.
I’ll be blunt: the 2016 Jaguar F-Type S coupe’s rear wheel drive, six-speed manual gearbox has matched the best standard transmission I’ve ever driven. The Porsche Boxster GTS was the sole leader until now.
For strategically waiting a few years since the F-Type was released, to giving driving enthusiasts and purists what they wanted, Jaguars DIY box is thoroughly stunning.
The “shut-up and hold me tight” shaped and engraved shift knob and silky smooth gear changes, the perfectly balanced amount of left foot pressure to the roaring response you get in each gear, Jaguars six-speed arrow hit the bullseye.
Despite the shift in luxury/high end sports cars either moving or considering moving away from a standard transmission, there’s still a small and mighty demand for the left foot/right hand option.
The manual also receives full marks plus a wave of bonus marks. Having full physical control to unleash and facilitate 380 majestic and noble British horses is a remarkable experience. As you march through the gears and feel the 339 lb-ft of torque thrust you forward, you’re truly connecting with the car. You’re having a delicate, heart-felt conversation with every shift. You’re dancing with the most beautiful person in the room. The ascent to 100 km/h is a mere 5.5 seconds, only 0.04 of a second different than the automatic. But what you lose in that spec of time, you gain in driving pleasure.
Sure, sifting between first and second gear in traffic will test even the highest level of patience. And yes, the human body will never be as quick or precise as the automatic experience. Unless you’re on closed racetrack, it’s probably not going to be about that 0.04 of a second.
It’s the experience that’s paramount with a standard transmission. It’s about engaging with that vehicle that’s carefully enveloping you and executing the “H” pattern.
Simply put, I feel a true sports car includes a standard transmission.
The spacing of the pedals lets you quickly heel-toe your way into driving bliss without tripping over your own feet.
If you want to be involved, to be connected, to manually control what this luxury sports car does in all situations and to have it done so effortlessly, no automatic/paddle shifter can replace a manual gearbox.
Both the AWD automatic and RWD manual have proven to be striking vehicles for Jaguar’s 2016 lineup. Fit, finish, design, performance, handling and luxury elements are presented beautifully. There’s enough driver-controlled settings to adjust the performance and responsiveness and this car was built for those who want a captivating driving experience every time they activate the push-button start.
The moving divide between manual and automatic will be a constantly shifting one over the foreseeable future with strong arguments for each.
Both the manual and automatic versions of Jaguar’s V6, 380 hp offering perform extraordinarily and offer truly different driver experiences.
But for this fellow, who loves doing things himself, who loves to be in control (don’t look too far into that, every smart man knows that women have full control of things, they only lend us smidge of their control) and who is a driving purist at heart, the manual transmission provides an unmatched driving experience.
2016 Jaguar F-Type S Manual Transmission: $88,500
As tested with the options below: $108,475
$600 Metallic Ammonite Grey paint
$4,900 Premium Vision Package
$1,600 Super Performance Brake Package
$500 Black Pack Interior
$4,000 Red Leather Package
$700 Black Pack Exterior
$1,650 Performance Seats
$3,800 20″ Blade Wheel
$350 Heated Windshield
$400 Red Seatbelts
$1,375 Destination & Delivery
$100 Green Tax
2016 Jaguar F-Type S AWD Automatic Transmission: $96,500
As tested with the options below: $107,325
$4,900 Premium Vision Package
$800 Exterior Sport Design & Black Package
$350 Heated Front Windscreen
$500 Red Brake Calipers
$2,800 Tornado Black Wheel
$1,375 Destination & Delivery
$100 Green Tax
Yay: The design, the power, the precision of the automatic gearbox, the freedom and exhilaration of the manual gearbox
Nay: I have to put something here. And that something is a fully digital dashboard.