Jaguar F-Type Convertible (2014-2020) review
The Jaguar F-Type Convertible is a convertible sports car that’s sure to turn heads with both its looks and thunderous exhaust note, but it’s behind alternatives on interior quality and practicality.
What's not so good
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If the time has come to buy that open-top sports car you’ve been promising yourself, the Jaguar F-Type Convertible is likely to seduce you with its looks. It also has such a spread of engine options that it’s an alternative to both the Porsche 718 Boxster and Porsche 911 Cabriolet.
The F-Type Convertible can more than match the Porsches on looks, but it’s a bit behind them for interior build quality. Go for the most affordable F-Type Cabriolet and it doesn’t feel as special as a 718 Boxster – you get a lot of dark and uninspiring plastic in the Jag.
The good news is that you can pay extra and get a leather-wrapped dashboard that improves things, but you can’t help feeling that should have been standard.
All cars get a touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity so you can easily stream your music. Similarly to alternatives, the touchscreen in the F-Type Convertible is tricky to use on the move, but the menu structure and where its icons are positioned on the screen is also less logical than in a Porsche.
Unlike the 911 Cabriolet, the F-Type Convertible has only two seats. The space behind them is used by the roof when folded or you can fit a small soft bag in there when the roof is up. You won’t fit much more than a 500ml water bottle in the door cards and the boot is only big enough for a couple of soft bags. Practicality is far from the F-Type’s strongest points.
The cool looks, rewarding drive and exhilarating exhaust note are more than enough to make you forget the F-Type’s practicality shortcomings.
Where the F-Type Convertible wins many points is the broad engine selection. You can have it with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol but its uninteresting exhaust note can’t quite match the character of the car – it’s a bit like a lion with the meow of a house cat. A much better bet is going for one of the V6 offerings, the best of which is the 400hp Sport model which not only gives the F-Type Convertible the sort of roar it deserves, completed with pops and bangs when slowing down, but also makes it fast – 0-60mph takes only 4.9 seconds.
If you want to go even quicker, there’s the 5.0-litre V8 R model that, thanks to standard-fit four-wheel drive, is devastatingly quick even in fairly greasy conditions. Or, you can go completely bonkers and have the 575hp SVR F-Type Convertible, although at that point prices are worryingly close to the posher Audi R8 Spyder.
The F-Type Convertible feels best to drive with a V6 engine – it’s lighter than the V8s in the R and SVR, so it feels keener to change direction and the accurate steering gives you confidence exploring the car’s limits. You can get adaptive dampers that can make the car quite stiff should you need to attack a racetrack, but also decently relaxed for the motorway trip home. It’s worth pointing out that even the standard suspension does a good job of ironing out bumps in the road.
The F-Type Convertible’s standard equipment isn’t generous but you do get rear parking sensors, climate control plus auto headlights and wipers. However, some kit, such as leather seats or dual-zone climate control are an option on all models which should have been standard while some options are almost a necessity such as the front parking sensors.
So the Jaguar F-Type Convertible does everything you want a sports car to do well – it’s good to look at, enjoyable to drive and the addictive engine note in V6 and V8 models will make you quickly forget it’s shortcomings.