Jaguar F-Type convertible
"The Jaguar F-Type is a handsome and desirable two-seater sports car that's simply brilliant to drive"
- Excellent four-wheel-drive versions
- Great fun to drive
- Very desirable
- Extremely small boot
- Fuel economy isn’t that great
- Expensive compared to Porsche Boxster
Almost 40 years after Jaguar ended production of the legendary E-Type, the Jaguar F-Type was launched to some fanfare. When the coupe was released, the F-Type completely replaced the Jaguar XK8 in the company’s sports-car line-up.
The Jaguar F-Type convertible followed shortly after and is a sports car that’s just as good to drive and listen to as it is to look at – no matter which version you choose.
There are four-cylinder, V6 and V8 petrol engines available and all provide sonorous soundtracks to accompany the F-Type’s addictive driving manners. The F-Type is a powerful rival for top-class sports cars like the Porsche 718 Boxster and Porsche 911, as well as sporting soft-tops such as the BMW M4 Convertible.
The Jaguar F-Type range is impressively broad and will serve your needs whether you’re looking for effortless top-down cruising or high-octane racetrack thrills. All models were updated for 2017 with new headlamps, redesigned seats and updated infotainment systems, but the biggest news was the addition of a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine.
Any fears of the smallest engine being a damp squib were shown to be unfounded by its power output of 295bhp – enough for 0-62mph in less than six seconds. The compact engine reduces weight, too, so this is the most agile of all F-Types.
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The 335bhp 3.0-litre V6 isn’t far behind, though, and with 0-62mph possible in 5.5 seconds, has a speed advantage. Even faster 377 and 395bhp versions of the same engine are also available, with either rear or four-wheel drive.
And then there are the V8s. The 535bhp F-Type R is truly muscular, while the astonishing 567bhp SVR adds even more punch. Going from 0-62mph is possible in 3.5 seconds, accompanied by a brutal bellow from the exhaust.
If you’re upset by the noise, the looks of the SVR might not be your thing, either – it takes the sleek, elegant lines of the F-Type and corrupts them with a huge aerodynamic rear wing and heavily recontoured front and rear bumpers. It’s certainly eye-catching, though, and the modifications are there for good reason, adding the aerodynamic downforce required to tame the SVR at its top speed of almost 200mph. The entry-level V6 models are our favourites, though, and cost around half as much.
Although practicality and versatility aren’t often a deal breakers for convertible sports-car buyers, they do merit consideration if you’ll be using the car often. The F-Type is relatively accommodating for two, and – although the boot is fairly small at 200 litres – folding the roof down doesn’t reduce space any further.
The addition of the 2.0-litre in 2017 greatly widened the scope of the F-Type range and introduced sensible running costs to boot. It can nudge 40mpg, despite not giving much away on pace to its more powerful stablemates. When their performance is considered, the V6-engined F-Types aren’t actually too bad in terms of fuel economy, but the same can’t be said of the V8s, particularly the most powerful SVR.
Service costs shouldn’t be a lot more expensive than for the Jaguar XF or Jaguar XJ, either. Meanwhile, the desirable image of the F-Type has resulted in it making a strong showing on the used-car market in terms of how much value it retains after three years.
The 2.0-litre model is a credible alternative to the Porsche 718 Boxster and returns similar performance – and arguably more character. At the other end of the range, the V8 R undercuts the equivalent Porsche 911 by some margin. Ultimately, there's no denying the Jaguar F-Type is a superbly well rounded sports car, and it stands up well to comparison with any rival.