Jaguar F-Type convertible review: A sports car with comfort

Owning a sports car is a tempting idea – and once upon a time it was one available to the young, limber and care-free.

The modern era of £3,000-plus insurance quotes for 21-year-olds driving bog standard hatchbacks means those days are long gone.

Nowadays, those fulfilling the sports car dream are more likely to fit into the ‘middle-aged and made it’ bracket. They’d like to treat themselves, but when it comes to actually owning a car they don’t quite want the classic small, raw and lightweight experience.

Small means feeling vulnerable on the motorway, raw spells bad news for your back, and adding lightness involves removing creature comforts.

Jaguar's F-Type blends sports car and grand tourer to deliver a car that feels and looks special but could be used everyday Cat on the prowl: The F-Type's design is one of the best looking on the road and looks no less striking five years in Simon Lambert attempted to drift a rally-spec F-Type round the gravel bends of the Grand Tour track The track previously used for celebrities by Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond's Amazon Prime show mixes tarmac and gravel What happens next? More than once Simon Lambert ended up spinning the car onto the grass next to the tricky track Jaguar's new Madagascar Orange ultra metallic paint colour suits the F-Type perfectly and really stands out, but it does cost a hefty £3,500 The alternative option for a Jaguar F-Type is the coupe version, which is slightly cheaper A gearstick for manning the eight speed automatic gearbox sits centrally in the F-Type's relatively roomy and comfortable cabin The F-Type's sports seats extend the feel of the car wrapping around you A simple selection of dials and switches make the F-Type's controls refreshingly intuitive The F-Type's boot doesn't look that big, but it will easily swallow a selection of smaller bags that could pack enough for a week away - and believe it or not you can get a golf bag in here Being a modern car, the F-Type is wider than vehicles of old but it didn't feel too cumbersome on winding Cotswolds roads R-Dynamic cars add a switchable active sports exhaust, if you fancy enjoying the F-Type¿s roar on demand The V6 engine in the P380 F-Type is a sweeter choice than the four-cylinder option, but the latter is the big seller for Jaguar The V6 engine in the P380 F-Type is a sweeter choice than the four-cylinder option, but the latter is the big seller for Jaguar

The V6 engine in the P380 F-Type is a sweeter choice than the four-cylinder option, but the latter is the big seller for Jaguar

The Cars & Motoring verdict

The F-Type is comfortable and smooth enough to use as a daily driver, but has the looks and handling of a special car. It’s a car that you could easily take to the shops, but one that you’d also grab the keys to go drive just for the fun of it.

Given the choice, I’d take a coupe version of the F-Type, as I think it edges the convertible on looks.

However, I could easily see why someone buying themselves a treat would buy the drop top – there is something special about open air motoring. And they’d be rewarded for the choice; roof down it’s a lot of fun and roof up it easily meets the standards of quietness and comfort that a modern-day luxury convertible buyer expects when they decided to shut the sky out.

Jaguar already had a very good car in the F-Type and the updates for this refreshed version make it an even better one.

The problem for potential F-Type buyers isn’t the car itself though, it’s its rivals.

The chief rival is Porsche. The broad price band of the F-Type, from the £50,000-odd four-cylinder cars, through the £72,000 V6 P380, and on to the £99,000 V8 R and £119,000 SVR, pits buying one against a Porsche Cayman and Boxster at the lower end and a Porsche 911 at the upper end.

BMW, Audi and Mercedes will also happily sell you a powerful convertible or coupe with the comfort factor, with the Z4, TT and SL on offer. Meanwhile, if you buy the most powerful F-Types and get a bit handy with the options list you could even find yourself straying into Mercedes AMG-GT or Audi R8 territory.

For those who want a rawer, more driver-focussed sports car, the Alpine A110 can also be thrown into the mix.

That’s a pretty broad spectrum of cars and rather than the F-Type naturally falling into a spot on it, prospective buyers need to decide their price point and which one they want and then compare it to a rival.

What they’ll get from the F-Type though is a Jaguar that looks fantastic and blends sports car and grand tourer to deliver a car that could be used every day but also has a sense of theatre and fun. 

And, of course, it comes with a British badge on the front. 

Jaguar F-Type convertibles on test 

 Jaguar F-Type convertible 2.0 litre 300PS

Price:  From £57,405 on the road

Engine: 2.0 litre, petrol, turbocharged

Power: 300PS

Transmission: Eight speed automatic, rear wheel drive

Acceleration: 0 to 60mph in 5.4 seconds

Top speed:  155mph

Fuel efficiency: 31.1mpg combined WLTP

C02: 179 g/km

Weight: 1,545kg

Dimensions:  Length, 4,482mm; height 1,308mm; width inc mirrors 2,042

Boot capacity: 207 litres 

 Jaguar F-Type convertible R-Dynamic 3.0 litre 380PS

Price: From £72,435

Engine: 3.0 litre, petrol, supercharged

Power: 380PS

Transmission: Eight speed automatic, rear wheel drive

Acceleration: 0 to 60mph in 4.8 seconds

Top speed:  171 mph

Fuel efficiency: 26.2mpg combined WLTP

C02: 223 g/km

Weight: 1,614kg

Dimensions:  Length, 4,482mm; height 1,308mm; width inc mirrors 2,042

Boot capacity: 207 litres 

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