Legacy is a term that’s discussed at great lengths. Whether at the birth of a new family member or reminiscing at a funeral, one’s legacy is a common point of discourse. Every so often, automakers wade into the topic, using legacy as a way to market vehicles.
That legacy is sometimes defined through a name for a new product, using nostalgia or mental imagery of a bygone era to sell a new ride. Other times, legacy arrives via a trim level or equipment package, boasting limited availability to spur interest.
To the jaded automotive enthusiast, the use of legacy in the industry can feel forced. But for some automakers, it’s a necessary point that must be made. The 2024 Jaguar F-Type 75 and R 75 models play at both ends of the legacy spectrum.
One Special Edition for 75 Years Worth of Sports Cars
The 75 in its name is a throwback to Jaguar’s history of sports cars, a heritage that starts with the iconic 1948 XK120. Jaguar is making it clear that the F-Type is at the end of its life. The 75-branded models will be the last of their kind, the final gas-powered sport cars for the brand and a bookend on an era of British luxury and performance. What comes next is a vague mystery that revolves around electrically charged elements and ultra-high-end clientele.
For now, this is the ideal way to celebrate the end of a brand’s internal combustion era. The F-Type is among the prettiest two doors on the market. In both droptop and coupe form, it turns heads with ease. The 75 models get a few subtle tweaks here and there: blacked-out badges, extra etching on the exhaust tips, and unique 20-inch wheels. Those wheels fit neatly under the car’s exaggerated fenders and flared haunches, a nod to the old XK120 and even the E-Type.
You might call these notes superficial, but the Jaguar Land Rover group has hung its hat on its design throughout its history and even more heavily in recent years. The company has earned many design awards for the Land Rover Defender, Jaguar I-Pace, F-Pace, and indeed the F-Type, which is easily the most expressive of the automaker’s portfolio.
Power and Grip
The 75 models also get impressive tweaks beneath their gorgeous sheet metal. The suspension has been enhanced with lighter, stiffer aluminum components, larger wheel bearings, and revised ball joints. This is put to good use by the electronic active differential, while R 75 models get sticky, ZR-rated Pirelli P-Zero tires.
Under the hood, you’ll find the most important part of the F-Type. The 75 and R 75 use a supercharged V8 engine, putting out 444 hp to the rear wheels in the standard model, while the R features 575 hp and all-wheel drive. The regular F-Type 75 can also be upgraded with all-wheel drive for extra traction and faster launches off the line. Both models feature an eight-speed automatic and emit a wildly intoxicating exhaust note that has become one of the signature elements of this sports car.
Let’s Go Again and Again
The experience of piloting these ultimate editions along the coast of Monaco will stay with me for a long time. The drive is responsive, with each twist of the steering wheel returning instant action. It may not be as precise and clinical as a Porsche 911 or 718, but there’s a joy to the way the F-Type dances on the limit of grip.
In a straight line, the car is eye-wateringly quick. It pins you nicely in your seat, allowing you to breathe only between gear shifts. The acceleration is paired with one of the greatest-sounding V8s ever. It crackles and pops with enthusiasm, it burbles at low revs, and screams to a melodic pitch at higher revs.
What makes the F-Type 75 models so brilliant is how they can appeal in so many ways. They’re seductive in both coupe and convertible form, turning heads when sitting at a standstill or in motion. Not only are they pretty, but they’re fast and engage the senses. These are the traits that help a driver want to dive back into the cockpit again and again. It’s an experience that feels worth the $109,300 starting price.
Where It All Began
But how does the F-Type 75 carry on the legacy of the XK120? The 1948 Jaguar XK120 was a world-beater when it arrived. The 120 in its name didn’t denote an age like in the F-Type 75 — it stood for the top speed of the car in miles per hour. It was the fastest car in the world 75 years ago, and the brand kept pursuing these kinds of achievements throughout its history. Race wins followed and the brand’s reputation kept growing.
A lot has changed over the past 75 years, but even more will change in the next few.
Jaguar’s Electric Future
For now, it’s time to say goodbye to the emotionally charged Jaguars we’ve come to appreciate. The head-turning exterior design and seductively powerful, sweet-sounding powertrain has been a staple of the brand to this point.
What comes next is a bit vague. So far, Jaguar hasn’t shared any hints about its next coupe, but in 2025, the brand will introduce a four-door EV with more power than any other Jaguar before (a benchmark held by the limited-production SV Project 8, which boasts 592 hp). Furthermore, much like other EV-oriented brands, Jaguar is eyeing a higher-earning demographic of buyers for its new vehicle, with an expected starting price of approximately $160,000 (£100,000). As Jaguar begins to write the next chapter of its story, its next-generation vehicles must be able to live up to the high benchmarks the brand has created for itself, and that’s very exciting.
It’s a fact that Jaguar has a legacy of world-beating coupes. It also has a legacy of stunning, award-winning designs. Its legacy, however, will soon be rewritten with electrons and batteries. The brand is already heading down that path, thanks to efforts with the all-electric I-Pace and the Jaguar TCS Racing team that’s steadily moving up the podium in Formula E. Time will tell if the road car division will see the same steady progress in the face of change.