When the Jaguar F-Type V8 S first came out, I wasn’t quite sure it was up to the monumental task of it’s name:  following in the steps of the legendary Jaguar E-Type, which Enzo Ferrari once called “The most beautiful car ever made.”  It also had quite a sporting pedigree, and the sonorous and powerful inline six and V12 engines were nothing short of amazing for their time.  Could any modern car possibly be worthy of succeeding that storied automobile?

In a word: yes.  From the striking looks, to the quite-long hood, to the haunches over the wheels, this car has all of the hallmarks of its predecessor.  The interior is appointed with aluminum, suede, contrasting stitching, and although a bit on the snug side, is always perfectly comfortable, even at 6’1″ tall.  The top opens quickly and at speeds of up to 30mph, and is well insulated when up.  It is fully electric and there are no latches to fiddle with.  The gauges are easy to read and well laid out, with a small digital display in between them.  The infotainment system is merely adequate and a bit slow, but luckily it’s not needed.  The sound of the car is enough in itself.

2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 S interior

After the first impressions of build quality and looks, it’s time to start the car.  A red light in the start button pulses like a heartbeat.  It makes sense after I hit the button.  “THIS IS A JAGUAR?”  A baritone symphony piped up just behind me.  The sound of this car is menacing, sonorous, amazing.  Any number of adjectives can attempt to explain how good this jaguar sounds, but they all do it no justice.  The 495hp (yes, just shy of five hundred horsepower) supercharged five liter V8 springs to life.  It sounds even better under load and when going through the gears.  I’ve not experience anything quite like this.  The pops, burbles, and growls this car makes is absolutely amazing.  It roars on acceleration with a fury unlike anything I’d ever expected.

This car is absurdly fast.  I can’t really explain just how quick it feels.  The supercharged engine in the Jaguar F-Type V8 S has torque literally everywhere, and the 8 speed automatic is perfectly matched to it.  It shifts very firmly in manual mode, and is smooth and predictable in automatic.  The car will do an 8-3 downshift if you hit the kickdown on the highway.  It’s really an extension of the driver.  The traction control is also great as it lets you get a little silly before tapering off power just enough to get you back into line, nothing more.  Really and truly, they got it right.

The driving dynamics are fantastic.  The steering is very nicely weighted and has a good amount of feedback.  The suspension is one of the best sorted in the business, firm enough to keep the car planted at all times, yet still supple over large road imperfections that would leave other sports car drivers going to their chiropractors.  Cornering is great and effortless, and the chassis is a marvel as well, due in no small part to the cast strut towers and extensive bracing throughout the car.  There is no cowl shake at all, and the car just feels great.

2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 S rear three quarter

This is one of those cars that just makes you feel like a kid again.  It has this ‘giggle factor’ that makes it so much fun all the time.  The handling, the road feel, the sound of the car, everything makes this one of the most well balanced and fun luxury cars I’ve ever driven.  The as tested price of this car was $96,400.  Steep?  Sure.  Worth it?  I think so.  There is no car anywhere near this level of fun-factor at this price range.  They might be more precise, have more room, but the F-type is an absolute joy to drive.  The only problem is the lack of cargo space.  This is a car that you’d want to take on a long cross country trip, and I’m not sure you could fit more than a weekend’s worth of luggage in it.  Luckily Fedex offers a solution.

This car celebrates the joy of driving.  I couldn’t think of a more fitting successor to the E-type.  Enjoy!

Vehicle provided by Jaguar Land Rover North America.