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Car review: Jaguar F-TYPE Convertible

The F-TYPE convertible marks a return to Jaguar's heartland, focusing on performance and driver involvement, writes reviewer Tim Barnes-Clay.

Jaguar F-TYPE exterior

The jaguar - the flesh and blood big cat - has a compact body, a broad head and powerful jaws.

This describes perfectly the attributes of the new Jaguar F-TYPE. Indeed, in the automotive world, the latest Jaguar is leading the pack.

The two-seater convertible embodies a return to the company's heartland, focusing on athleticism, dexterity and behind-the-wheel involvement.

Jaguar's 75-year 'sporting lineage'

What's more the F-TYPE is a continuance of a sporting lineage stretching back over 75 years.

The engineering philosophy fortifying the F-TYPE is focused on Jaguar's expertise when it comes to aluminium.

The metal is lightweight, so its use in the car's architecture helps provide a perfectly balanced weight distribution that permits the Jag's rear-wheel-drive dynamics to be fully exploited.

Three types of the Jaguar model are available: the F-TYPE, F-TYPE S and F-TYPE V8 S.

Each is distinguished by the power output of its supercharged petrol engine, with all of them featuring stop/start technology to increase efficiency.

My press car was the F-TYPE S, powered by a new 3.0-litre V6 lump.

Jaguar F-TYPE 'heart-racing acceleration'

Producing 375bhp and 338lb/ft of torque or pulling power, the car has more than enough horses and grunt to get you moving rapidly.

The free-revving, willing nature of the engine encourages you to be, shall we say, enthusiastic – and I certainly tried to sample the full extent of the car's abilities.

The 0-62mph sprint comes in just 4.9 seconds and the top speed is 171mph.

The feeling you get when you accelerate is similar to that of an aeroplane hurtling down the runway before take-off.

You're literally pressed into your seatback, and the smile it induces could only ever be outdone by a small child on Christmas morning.

And just when you think the Jaguar F-TYPE couldn't possibly release any more endorphins into your bloodstream you come across the sports car's active exhaust system.

Jaguar F-TYPE's aeronautical inspiration

With just a touch of a button you can change an already throaty-sounding exhaust note into one that builds to a thrilling crescendo at the red line.

Driving the F-TYPE isn't rocket science though. It has a set of eight closely-spaced gear ratios in its Quickshift auto transmission, giving you superior control.

The V6-powered S model also includes a Dynamic Launch feature, which optimises acceleration from rest.

Taking cues from cockpits of fighter aeroplanes, the switches are grouped by function.

Further aeronautical inspiration can be found in the joystick-shaped SportShift selector controlling the gearbox.

Additionally, the air vents on top of the dashboard will only deploy when you instruct them, or by complex control algorithms, staying tucked discreetly out of sight in other circumstances.

Asymmetric cabin

Jaguar F-Type interior cabin

The concentration on driver passion and performance in the Jaguar F-TYPE is highlighted by the "one plus one" layout of the asymmetric cabin.

This is confirmed by the grab handle which races down the centre console on the passenger side, delineating it from the driver's side.

The F-TYPE is, without doubt, a car that delivers precisely the key sporting characteristics that Jaguar intended. It's definitely a big toy for big boys and girls.

It's available from only £58,500 for the entry level, rising to £67,520 for the F-TYPE S, with a price tag of £79,950 for the F-TYPE V8 S.

Jaguar F-TYPE: Pros & cons

  • Fast √
  • Powerful √
  • Looks √
  • Driver involvement √
  • A strict two-seater X

Jaguar F-TYPE: Fast facts

  • Max speed: 171 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 4.9 secs
  • Combined mpg: 31.0
  • Engine: 2,995cc V6 Supercharged Petrol
  • Max. power (bhp): 375 at 6,500 rpm
  • Max. torque (lb/ft): 338 at 3,500-5000 rpm
  • CO2: 213 g/km
  • Price: £67,520

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Tim Barnes-Clay

Leon Poultney

Tim is an experienced motoring writer with a background in radio and TV journalism. He puts his pedal to the metal each week with his must-read car reviews.

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