Jaguar's first all-new model since 2009, and its first pure sports car in decades, is no touring car; the 2014 F-Type roadster is more a tour de force of eager power, engaging dynamics and head-turning looks. I drove V-6 and V-8 versions, both in S trim, on both a track and the roads around Seattle.
Not to take anything away from the longtime Cars.com favorite XK, but that model — despite its excellent athleticism — is still more of a touring vehicle, and one with four seats. The F-Type is a rear-wheel-drive soft-top roadster, at least until a coupe comes along in the undetermined future. Why the name F-Type? Well, it's the spiritual successor to the classic E-Type.
The F-Type's styling isn't in the E-Type's ballpark ... or county, yet it catches the eye among the humdrum modern vehicles, and even within Jaguar's own lineup. To me it merely resembles a Jaguar, partly because of its more vertically oriented headlights and thin-slit taillights. These elements might be reserved for sporty Jaguars, but you can expect all future Jags to adopt some of the other design cues. Point of interest: A Jaguar designer says the headlight cluster was inspired by Darth Vader's tie fighter. (I'm not sure I see it, but if you think about it, the Empire's higher ranks were thick with British accents.)