ROAD TEST: 2023 Jaguar F-Type Convertible review
Friday 7th April, 2023 - 10:07am
What is it?
Soon, it will be history, but for now it’s a highly-evocative sports convertible that will appeal to anyone who loves an old-fashioned sports car. I mean ‘old-fashioned’ in the best way possible, with the F-Type sticking to a formula that has been beloved for generations – small car, big engine.
Unfortunately for petrolheads, Jaguar has decided that its future is all-electric, so the F-Type will soon be discontinued and there’s no clear word of a direct sports car replacement yet. The good news is, Jaguar has decided to send off the F-Type with a bang, ditching the (albeit excellent) supercharged V6 engine and four-cylinder turbo and making it a V8-only line-up for its final years.
There are two options, the R-Dynamic P450 coupe and convertible and the F-Type R Coupe, and we’re testing the former.
Does it have any racing pedigree?
Jaguar decided years ago to focus on its electric future so its racing programs have been centred around Formula E competition. The British brand has been successful, with its drivers Mitch Evans and Sam Bird, regular front-runners.
What’s under the bonnet?’
While the two variants – R-Dynamic and R – share the same supercharged 5.0-litre V8 but in different states of tune. The flagship R spec gets a very impressive 423kW of power and 700Nm of torque, but the R-Dynamic 450 is hardly underdone, punching out a potent 331kW and 580Nm.
Unlike the all-wheel drive R Coupe, the P450 sends all its power to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
It feels every one of those kilowatts and Newton-metres, with ferocious performance whenever you put your foot down. Which isn’t surprising as the F-Type is a genuinely compact car by modern standards, without any excess to the design.
As you’d expect from a supercharged V8 this engine sounds phenomenal too, with that combination of supercharger whine and V8 growl making for a mechanical symphony.
How does it handle?
In its class the F-Type is up against the likes of the Porsche 911, which is the benchmark for any sports car. As a front-engine roadster the F-Type isn’t quite as razor-sharp as its German rival but it’s still a very enjoyable car to drive.
Especially in convertible form the F-Type is a fun car that feels deeply rooted in Jaguar’s heritage with the iconic E-Type; which inspired this modern take.
In some respects the F-Type feels like a grown-up version of the Mazda MX-5 – fun and playful but powerful too.
Where would you most like to drive it?
This is the ideal car for a weekend drive on a sunny day. If you can’t drop the roof, feel the wind in your hair and soak up the sound of the V8 and feel driving nirvana, then you’re not a true petrolhead.
What’s the interior like?
The interior is nice, if starting to feel a little dated. There’s enough technology and luxury, but it does feel like it’s falling behind some of its rivals. But it’s hardly a deal-breaker, with a driver focused layout and plenty of creature comforts.
What might be a deal-breaker for some is the luggage space – or lack thereof. And when I say there’s no luggage space I mean that in the literal sense that the boot of the F-Type is so small you cannot fit any luggage in it. The addition of a spare tyre is great, but it means you can’t even fit a backpack or shopping bag inside. Which means if you want to take a weekend away in your F-Type, you’ll need to choose between the spare and your overnight bag (or just squeeze a change of socks and undies around the spare).
How much does the Jaguar F-Type cost?
The F-Type R-Dynamic starts at $171,148 (plus-on road costs), which is nearly $90k less than the entry-level Porsche 911 Carrera.
If you prefer the hard-top, the P450 Coupe starts at $183,200, while the R Coupe pushes into really premium territory at $284,550.
Would I buy one?
I’d be more-than-happy to park the F-Type R-Dynamic P450 in my driveway. It’s a genuinely loveable car because it unashamedly embraces the past in all the best ways. Maybe that just means I’m getting old, but I love the V8 engine and the elegant lines.
The only stipulation to owning the F-Type is it must be your second car, purely for driving enjoyment because, unlike the likes of the 911, it can’t really double as your daily – unless you never really need to carry anything.
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