Jaguar F-Type | ★★★★☆

This Jaguar F-Type is a welcomed departure from grand slam GT cars available. Its styling takes some elements of the old E-type to give it a romance of a time long forgotten. A time when Jaguar’s sports car was the fastest thing on the road and turned heads.

The F-type isn’t all that though. It has a problem, and that problem comes from in-house at Jaguar. I was fortunate to test identical powered coupe and convertible models back to back with one being the clear winner.

Let’s start with the styling. It’s not quite the pin-up poster your father would have had on his bedroom wall back in the day. Forget all about being seduced by this pussycat. It will still fill you with giddy excitement not only because the door handles pop out when you press the remote, but the looks are pure aggression. This femme fatale will scratch your mind and soul with a longing to go out with her again.

It’s amazing what the Jaguar engineers have done to this engine. The four cylinder Ingenium 2 litre turbo has a broad spectrum of uses and can be found in many of the models offered by Jaguar and sister company Land Rover. In the F-type, it has been tweaked and prodded to suit its new sporting clothes. And it’s all quite good. A 155mph two-seater sports car that can achieve around 40mpg.

What’s not to like?

The power outputs sound great on paper. In practice, it is somewhat different. And here is where the F-type either excels or fails. It’s just not that fast. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fast, but for a car dressed to kill in sports car clothing with a 0-60mph dash in 5.4 seconds, it just isn’t fast enough. The problem is those pesky hot hatchbacks. They can be just as quick and for less money. Jaguar does offer more powerful F-types but you will need to pay extra for that, and we are, already up to £50-60k. What the Jaguar has up its sleeve is grand touring luxury.

Inside you are treated to a snug cockpit. Everything falls to hand. And to the hand, you notice items that are there in other Jaguars and Range Rovers. No bad thing in real world terms as this does keep costings down. The one problem I have with the F-Type is the facia in that it is the same as plenty of others in the JLR range. The car is so different in so many ways that it needs to look different. And so too should the heater controls. At this price, they are just a little on the cheap side. This itself goes against the grain of the luxury feel you get from the seat leather and build to how it all moulds together.

And so back to those performance figures. One of the problems with the F-type is in its construction. The all aluminium framed car makes it a heavy vehicle. Added to this the fittings that are well engineered to fit without rattling and more weight is added thus giving the illusion of luxury that is as mentioned, there in abundance.

On the road then and how does it feel? It feels amazing. I’m a sucker for a smooth engine and sweet exhaust note and added to the 8-speed automatic gearbox it feels well suited to everyday use. Here is where it excels. For its few faults and out and out performance, it all adds up to make this a sports car that can be used to pop to the corner shop on a Sunday for a pint of milk and a Sunday paper albeit the long way around. It’s nice and easy to drive, and it looks the business. No one will really know that it’s the slower of the models Jaguar offer.

Pulling out of junctions in wintry wet roads doesn’t end up with the wheels spinning and you looking like an idiot. It pulls away fast and has no trouble putting its power down. It feels quicker than it actually is. On today’s congested roads with mobile cameras popping up all over the place, perhaps feeling faster than it is, isn’t such a bad thing after all.

The sound is quite intoxicating which heightens the sense of urgency. You can switch it off if you like unless you opt for the ‘Dynamic’ setting in which case it is there all the time. Normal mode is pleasant enough. The Coventry cruiser then is a pussycat. Select ‘Dynamic’ and its all noisy roar and claws for what it is. The burble and roar from the exhaust will make you smile.

Handling too will also make you smile. It’s pretty much easy going all the time regardless of the setting you choose. This again adding refinement to a sports car looking package. It’s not bad if I am honest. For everyday use, the F-type is actually rather nice. Unless you are looking for an out and out sports car to do stupid things in, you wouldn’t be too disappointed with the very few shortcomings it has. For what I want in a car like the F-type, it doesn’t fail me, it excels. I want my fast car to be a bit lazy like me and easy going when I want to not think too hard about the road ahead.

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So here comes the problem I mentioned at the beginning. What is it to be? Closed coupe with average boot space or a drop top with even less boot space? That’s easy to answer.

That accolade goes to the convertible. The £10,000 more of your cash is a lot to ask for straight out of the showroom. Keep the car for three years and that extra cash paid out will vanish with the joy the snug fitting, but mostly missing roof will have given you.

With my choice made up, I’ll just have to send to the luggage ahead. Hoy hatch performance or not, they don’t quite have what the F Type has. And you remember me telling you about the sound of the exhaust? With that just over your left shoulder, it is pure evocative mechanical magic and I couldn’t get enough of it. Let the wheels roll, the south of France is calling.

Likes

Driving dynamics
Engine sound
Luxury refinement

Loathes

Interior looks a bit dated
Fascia lacks a sporting identity
Handling not exploited with this power.

The Lowdown
Car – Jaguar F-Type 2.0L RWD
Price – (from) £49,900 Coupe / £59,085 Convertible
MPG – 39.2mpg (combined)
Power – 300 bhp
0-62mph – 5.4 seconds
Top Speed – 155 mph
CO2 – 163 (g/km)