The launch of the 2014 Jaguar F-Type heralded the marque’s return to a classic, two seat convertible sports car. It’s something that has been missing from the iconic British manufacturer’s model lineup since the legendary XK-E, known globally as the E-Type. The F-Type represented the rebirth of a seriously sexy sports roadster for two, with performance to spare. While the recently-departed XK was also a convertible model, it didn’t quite have the same sporting flavor of Jaguar’s past roadsters. Not since the legendary XK120, 140, 150 and E-type had Jaguar produced a true sports roadster for the avid driving enthusiast. If you want to keep your driving truly focused, Jaguar offers the F-Type as a coupe, as well as a convertible.
I had the opportunity to test the 2018 Jaguar F-Type Convertible base model, but there are five trim levels choose from. Jaguar kicks off with the entry-level base F-Type. Farther up the range are the R-Dynamic, the 400 Sport, and the R convertible. If you want the absolute last word in performance from your F-Type, there’s the SVR model.
The Jaguar F-Type is seductive from every angle, in either coupe or convertible form. The car continues Jaguar’s sporting bloodline that reaches back more than 75 years, to the days of the old XK120. According to Ian Callum, Jaguar’s Design Director, the F-Type is as exciting to the senses as the iconic C-Types, D-Types and XK-Types were. The new F-Type displays sophisticated glamour and beauty that will make it a sought after, collectible sports car. It exhibits near-perfect proportions and stance, with a long hood, a rearward-positioned cabin, a short rear deck and short overhangs.
Up front, the sculpted, clamshell hood features a central power bulge and functional, slotted vents. Those are blended with powerful fenders that appear to be “shrink-wrapped” over the car’s mechanical form. The projector-beam headlamps appear appropriately as cat’s eyes, just above the large main grille. That grille sports a piano black, horizontal bar ahead of its mesh inset. It’s flanked by twin air inlets that sit above a lower grille and front splitter.
The car’s rear view emphasizes its width. It features narrow, distinctive LED taillamps and a broad diffuser that houses the exhaust outlets. The F-Type convertible is equally attractive with the top up or down. The top, incidentally, is a “Z”-fold unit that operates in either direction in 12 seconds at up to 30 mph. The exterior door handles pop out, activated by touch or fob and retract to a flush position when the car is in motion.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
The cockpit is unashamedly driver-focused in terms of controls and switchgear. Jaguar positioned the dashboard nice and low for excellent visibility. The center air vent atop the dash disappears from view along with control icons with the ignition off, a Jaguar party piece. The bronze-accented toggle switches below the three rotary knobs, and substantial three-spoke steering wheel with paddle shifters contribute to the F-Type’s sport persona. It feels like you could be sitting in an actual jet fighter.
This Jaguar F-Type Convertible’s exterior was finished in Indus Silver, while the interior was executed in Ebony. Jaguar’s barrier to entry into the F-Type world stands at $63,000. However, extras such as the Climate Package, metallic paint, Keyless Entry, Blind Spot Monitoring move the mark a bit. On top of those options, Reverse Traffic Detection, Homelink, Auto High Beam Assist, Auto-dimming door mirrors, a wheel lock pack, a “Car Care Kit” and Destination charges rack up to a final total of $67,793.
In a simple analysis, the 2018 Jaguar F-Type Convertible serves up the same emotional design quality as its more expensive stable mates. Despite the obvious lack of speed, it is affordable, coming in at nearly half the cost of the SVR. The technology level is more than satisfactory. The seats are supportive and comfortable as well. Jaguar equipped all F-Type models with an Intelligent Stop/Start system to enhance fuel economy. The F-Type’s lightweight body also improves fuel economy and agility, thanks to extensive use of highly formable AC170 aluminum.
Jaguar offers three powertrains for the F-Type. The base F-Type convertible I tested houses a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. It sends 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. Next up is a 3.0-liter, supercharged V6. That one pumps out 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. More importantly, you can get it with either the eight-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. A more powerful supercharged V6 S is also available that delivers an additional 40 horsepower and 7 more lb-ft of torque. However, that one mates only to the eight-speed automatic. The 400 Sport, as the name implies, cranks out 400 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque from a 3.0-liter, supercharged V6.
The SVR F-Type is powered by a 5.0-liter supercharged V8, which cranks out 575 horsepower and develops 516 lb-ft of torque. By contrast to other models in the range, the SVR F-Type is all-wheel drive to better handle the immense power bump. All F-Type engines are longitudinally-mounted, befitting a sports car with such a long hood.
Acceleration in the base model is better than you’d expect, and braking is equally impressive. The ride quality and stability renders the car solid and planted, without any sensation of harshness. The steering input delivers an on-center feel and was incredibly responsive. In fact, Jaguar finely tuned every response, from the steering to transmission shift points, throttle, brakes and suspension. Everything came together to deliver the most connected, accurate and involved driving experience possible in a four-cylinder convertible.
They also emphasized the driver’s environment through an asymmetrical cabin layout. Jaguar placed all the controls in a natural, logically grouped fashion, allowing for the driver to concentrate on the experience. A grab handle sweeps down the center console on the passenger side, delineating it from the driver’s position and wrapping around the center console.
Virtually everything about the Jaguar F-Type Convertible stirs ones senses and emotions. It more than satisfies Jaguar founder, Sir William Lyons’ edict that “All Jaguars have to look fast, even when they are standing still”. The F-Type definitely deserves a reputation as a luxury sports roadster. It’s obviously not in the same league as the SVR F-Type, but think of what all the money saved can buy. In any case, the F-Type plays a significant role in Jaguar’s return to providing the world with a desirable and affordable sports car.
While Jaguar honed the base F-Type to be a great entry-level sports roadster, check out the video below if you want to see what it can do with a massive V8. Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow on YouTube for videos featuring all your favorite new models!
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Jaguar F-Type Convertible
|Price as Tested:||$67,793|
|Engine:||2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4|
|Drivetrain (Layout):||Longitudinally-mounted front engine, rear-wheel drive|
|Horsepower:||296 hp @ 5,500 rpm|
|Torque:||295 lb-ft @ 1,500-4,500 rpm|
|0-60 Acceleration:||5.4 seconds|
|Top Speed:||155 MPH|
|Suspension:||Front: Aluminum double-wishbone w/ adaptive damping and stabilizer barRear: Aluminum double-wishbone w/ adaptive damping and stabilizer bar|
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel discs w/ ABS, EBD, and Emergency Brake Assist|
|Tires:||Front: Continental ContactSport P245/45 R19 W-rated
Rear: Continental ContactSport P275/40 R18 W-rated
|Fuel capacity:||18.5 gallons|
|Fuel economy (EPA):||23 City/30 Highway/26 Combined MPG|
|Width:||80.0 inches (including mirrors)|
|Turning Circle:||35.1 feet|
|Curb Weight:||3,405 pounds|