£57,260 - £115,485 Price range
25 - 33 MPG
With gorgeous looks and the power to rein in the best the competition has to offer, the Jaguar F-Type has got to be near the top of the list if you’re in the market for a convertible sports car. Save an average of £8,230 if you buy through our F-Type deals pages.
It’s a spiritual successor to the classic Jaguar E-Type – a car that offered plus-150mph performance when it was launched back in the 1960s. Fast forward to the present day and the top-of-the-range supercharged four-wheel-drive V8 F-Type SVR can crack 200mph and catapult itself from a standstill to 62mph in just 3.2 seconds.
Two-wheel-drive F-Types can feel unruly to drive – especially when compared to models such as the Mercedes AMG GT and the Porsche 911, but you can have the F-Type R and S with four-wheel drive at a premium of £4,850. So fitted, the Jaguar has a new-found turn of speed on track and an added dose of safety off it.
Enthusiasts will also be glad to hear the F-Type S can also be fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox. It’s not as nice to use as the manual found in the Porsche 911, but it’s still slick, gives the driver extra control and means the noise of the wonderful supercharged V6 can be enjoyed to the full.
Other changes for the 2016 model (which oddly went on sale in 2015) included a revised power-steering system – which gives added feel – and torque vectoring for sharper responses in corners.
While the interior might be starting to look dated compared to the latest models, it has been treated to a new touchscreen infotainment system that’s compatible with the apps on your smartphone.
Jaguar isn’t half bad at interiors, and the F-Type has a good looking cabin. It’s as high-quality as you’d hope for from a Jaguar, and more interesting to behold than that of the old XK. Because the dashboard is angled towards the driver, it has a “cocooning, cockpit-like feel”, while standard leather trim means every surface you touch is soft and luxurious. It does lack the modernity of cars such as the Porsche 911 and Mercedes GT, though.
There are only two seats but they’re both comfortable and supportive, even if the passenger will feel a little shut-out with the heavily angled dash. They might have to carry the driver’s luggage too because the boot is tiny, worse still if you opt for a spare wheel – an old E-Type is probably more practical! If you want the same style, but with extra boot space, the F-Type coupe raises luggage capacity from 196 to 315 litres.
The F-Type is brilliant to drive. V8 models feel a little heavier about the nose than the V6s, but all have unusual levels of sideways adjustability (ie sliding about like a hooligan) for a big, muscular sports car, and the more powerful models in particular have the very real option of right-foot-influenced steering – if you have the skills to cope with it.
The steering itself is quick and loaded with feel – a typical Jaguar high-point. Less of a high point is the ride quality – which varies between “firm” and “spine compressing” depending on who you believe. The chassis can cope, and there are different driving options letting you pick firmer or softer setups, so at least you can tailor it to your local roads.
Three engines are available in the F, and each is a highlight in itself. The “entry-level” supercharged V6 could be all the car you need, with 5-second 0-60 performance and a 160 mph top speed; the hairy-chested V6 S adds more power and noise, and the V8 S is a proper British muscle car – with all the cacophonic sounds and smoky tyres that entails.
The latter will reach 62 mph in just 4.2 seconds and go on to 186 mph – limited, of course. It’s the engine to go for, money no object, but even the regular V6 is worth having – testers say it has most of the charm of the more powerful models, and you’re unlikely to miss the “more bombastic top end” of the more potent V6 S. Perhaps most surprising of all, 30 mpg isn’t unrealistic for the V6.
Jaguar F-Type SVR
If the SVR Coupe serves as the epitome of Jaguar F-Type ownership, just think what it’s like with no roof. Happily, there’s no need to just imagine the concept – if you have more than £100,000 burning a hole in your pocket – you can live it!
With no metallic barrier between you and the wondrous sound pumped out by the SVR’s tuned 5.0-litre V8, the convertible offers engagement by the bucket load and a type that can be enjoyed at normal speeds.
But to be content with mere cruising would be to side swerve the point – with 567hp and 516Ib ft torque to play with (25hp and 15Ib ft more than the regular V8) the SVR is fast with a capital F!
A mighty stop speed of 200mph is the big figure (try sampling that with the roof down!), but 0-62mph in just 3.2 seconds should prove to be quite something with the wind ripping through your hair.
Putting all that aside – it isn’t the intimidating machine it may seem, four-wheel drive, plus light fettling of the steering, suspension and driver’s aids mean it is something of a pussy cat, but one that will give you a loving swipe if provoked. Do that and your efforts will be rewarded with easy-to-manage oversteer in slow corners, or face-stretching acceleration out of faster ones.
Firmer than before, the suspension is actually more comfortable than the regular set-up with a ride that reviewers say has an extra sheen of polish that the standard V8 can’t match, and body control that simply gets better as the speed rises.
Having said that, if you plan to use your SVR as a semi-serious performance machine then your needs will still be better served by the hard-top coupe, which has the rigid chassis needed to provide the best handling balance.
Lets face it, though, opportunities to use 567hp on the road will be rare (if they ever come up), which holds the convertible in good stead – its makes you feel at the heart of the action more of the time. Lucky really because, next to the Coupe, Jaguar will charge a close-to £5,000 premium for the privilege.
The 0-62 sprint flashes by in just over 5 seconds and top speed is 161 mph - so you may question whether you really need more. Several testers use words to that effect - saying it's "plenty fast enough" and still as the "charm of the more powerful models". It also sounds great - even more so if you pay for the active exhaust system. The V6 is well worth considering if you're lucky enough to be shopping for an F-Type.
It has other qualities though. The 3.0-litre supercharged V6 sounds incredible - its active exhaust creates "a symphony of noise that builds to a crescendo as the revs rise", and it's very responsive too. The 8-speed automatic gearbox is also a cracker - smooth and very, very fast.
Under the F-Type V8 S's long bonnet sits a V8 (as you might have guessed) of five litres capacity and supercharged for your pleasure. At 542 bhp it's just as potent in the hairy-chested Jaguar XFR, and no less spectacular to drive or listen to. One tester calls its engine note "a little bit evil"...
It isn't short of performance either. 4.0 seconds is all it takes to reach 60 mph (3.9 seconds if you go for the all-wheel-drive option), and top speed is a limited 186 mph. It's just a hugely quick car and a fabulous engine, one which "it thunders towards the horizon at the merest prod of throttle". If you can afford it, do it.
Here, the Jag falls down a little. It’s rather expensive – more so than many were expecting. Even at the foot of the range it’s significantly more than you’d pay for a Porsche Boxster. While the German car is doubtlessly not as classy, it edges the Jag on handling balance. However, the F-Type can realistically be pitched as a rival to the Porsche 911 Cabriolet too, and when looking at it from that perspective, the pricing seems almost reasonable.
Right at the top of the range the V8 S costs almost £80,000, and that’s before you add options – Jaguar has been quite German itself in putting desirable items like heated seats onto the options list, so you’ll have to view each list price as a starting point.
The sweet spot in the range is probably the V6 S – it has a mechanical limited-slip differential (which will help deploy all that power in corners) and the active exhaust as standard, adding to the car’s excitement. The latter costs around £1,600 on the regular V6.
The Jaguar is one of the best British sports cars in many years, one of the best Jaguars, and a hugely fun, fast car in its own right.
Only the hefty pricing grates slightly, though we suspect many buyers will be happy to overlook that detail for the badge on the grille and the noise emanating from the rear end. The F-Type comes highly recommended.
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