Arguably the most important Jaguar of the last 50 years, says one company official.

The 2014 Jaguar F-Type is the British marque's first real sports car since before many of us were born. But is it indeed a nuanced driver's car, or does it just look the part? More important for most, is it comfortable, practical and reliable enough for both daily driving and weekend road trip duties? We spent several weeks in this all-new entry to find out.

Waiting Line
Jaguar's global brand director Adrian Hallmark told Automotive News on May 31st that half of the first year's F-Type production is sold out, and customers who order the car now will be lucky to get one by the end of the year.

First Impression
Our first live-action exposure to the new F-Type came in Spain, at the car's global media launch. Our executive editorial director, Jack R. Nerad, took in a technical presentation and logged several hours behind the wheel. Here's his account.

First Video
We also brought our video cameras to the car's global driving debut, capturing the British roadster in the Spanish countryside and on a Spanish racetrack. Watch the video here.

Next Impression
In our first weekend with the car we shot some photos, picked up some groceries, took some interested little ones for parade laps around the neighborhood, brought it to the local Saturday morning car gathering, enthusiastically looped our local roundabout a few times, and turned heads all the way up the 405, down PCH and through Laguna Canyon. Seasonal Southern California weather prevented us from properly evaluating top-up visibility and cabin noise.

The early takeaway from our time with the car on our home turf is that there's nothing not to like about the F-Type, and that it's exactly the car it needs to be. The engine and transmission are fantastic, the sound is amazing, and we haven't uncovered any pitfalls that would compromise the car as a primary driver. Driving feel isn't Porsche great, but it might be on par with what we'd expect from a similarly oriented BMW. The trunk is disproportionately small and there's not a whole bunch of the cool tech you might expect elsewhere for the price, but the 2014 Jaguar F-Type looks hot, drives well and treats you right.

Best Questions
We asked visitors — and our followers on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ — what questions they had about the F-Type, and then we answered the best ones.

Track Video
As part of the Q&A program mentioned above, we took the F-Type and our video cameras to the track. If you like the sight and sound of 495 horsepower getting sideways, don't miss it. 

2014 Jaguar F-Type
The F-Type starts at $69,895 with a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 good for 340 horsepower and a 0-60 time of 5.1 seconds, according to Jaguar. Check all the option boxes, though, and you can get that window sticker up to very near six figures.

2014 Jaguar F-Type S
The F-Type S adds 40 horsepower via an enhanced version of the same engine, but also includes performance-oriented equipment like a limited-slip differential, adaptive suspension, beefier brakes and 19-inch wheels. The F-Type S starts at $81,895 and ends around $106,000 with a full slate of options. Spotter's guide: Just look for the "S" badge on the rear.

2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 S
This is the version currently in the KBB stables. The key draw of the range-topping F-Type is a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine that cranks out a whopping 495 horsepower for a claimed 0-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds. An active, torque-vectoring rear differential is another performance plus. The F-Type V8 starts at $92,895 and tops $114,000 with all the goodies, and is most easily distinguished by quad exhaust outlets in place of the V6 models' center-mounted dual exhaust.

Other Choices
With prices ranging from $70,000 to more than $114,000 when fully loaded, and horsepower ranging from 340 to 495, the F-Type's two closest competitors are two different Porsches: the Boxster S and the 911 Carrera Cabriolet.

Long-term Forecast?
Resale value is not a historical Jaguar strength. But while we're still waiting for official residual value figures from the Kelley Blue Book number crunchers, we suspect the 2014 Jaguar F-Type will hold its value better than any other Jaguar in the lineup, while remaining at a disadvantage to its Porsche competitors.

Chance Encounter
2014 Jaguar F-Type meets 1966 Jaguar E-Type
As luck would have it, we crossed paths with the F-Type's spiritual and alphabetical predecessor in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. So we chased down and persuaded the proud new owner of this 1966 Jaguar E-Type convertible to pull over for a quick photo.


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