- Car Reviews
Jaguar F-Type Convertible review
Old school roadster charms, V8 grunt, handsome lines
Expensive, cramped, outdated, no longer on the pace for driving and tech
What is it?
Jaguar’s not-as-fresh-as-it-used-to-be roadster. And surely with a limited lifespan seeing as the firm has announced it will be an all electric brand from 2025. Hard to see them finding a role for the V8 when that day comes.
Make no mistake, the rapid approach of an all-electric era is why Jaguar has done very little to enhance the F-Type since it first arrived back in 2013. No point investing heavily in a coupe and roadster that sell in relatively small numbers when you’re not going to be selling them at all in a handful of years. Let’s hope that day doesn’t signal the end of a two-seat Jaguar sports car, although we can safely assume the traditional long bonnet layout will be consigned to the history books.
Shame, as the F-Type continues to be a handsome, well executed machine. The 2020 facelift was largely limited to sharp, hooded headlights and streamlining the engine range. Out went the mid-range supercharged V6, replaced, somewhat unbelievably, by a supercharged V8. Upsizing. Not usually fashionable in the car industry. That’s the P450, a V8 in a relatively light, mellow tune. If you prioritise handling over power, you’ll be wanting the entry-level P300, shoved along by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four cylinder. Flip those two around, and there’s the P575 for those who believe traction is overrated. The numbers refer to power figures, the top engine using the same V8 as the 450, just with more puff.
None is cheap. Basically speaking you’re looking at three steps: £60,000, £75,000 and £100,000. At the lower end the F-Type rivals the Porsche 718 Boxster, while higher up it tackles the Porsche 911. Neither Porsche is a pushover, but they’re the cars Jaguar has in its crosshairs. To try to give the range breadth Jaguar did offer a manual gearbox for a while, but now your only choice is an eight-speed automatic. In a bid to keep things pointing in the right direction, the P575 roadster is only available with four-wheel drive, on the P450 it’s a five grand option. 4WD in a car with as much torque as the P575 (516lb ft at 3500rpm) is a very sensible thing. It used to make a noise to rouse the dead, the V8, but emissions laws and regulations have clamped down on it. Still sounds good, but now gargles and burbles less.
The roof is all-electric, but the powertrain doesn’t contain a hint of it. No hybrid solution here. Hard to see one coming, either. The F-Type has barely any space in it as it is, without having to find room for a battery pack and electric motors.
It’s a car that’s been uprated over the years, and now boasts a 12.3-inch driver display plus retuned suspension and gearbox, better equipment inside and so on. But that doesn’t disguise the limitations of this roadster in terms of practicality, quality and dynamics. What was class competitive back in 2013, is now mediocre at best.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
Jaguar is caught in an unusual position at the moment. Its future is electric, with cars such as the I-Pace, but its image is still rooted in cars like this – cars with a more carefree nature and less focus on efficiency and down-sizing. The answer for Jaguar has been to invest relatively little in the F-Type’s development over the years. It’s still essentially a very similar car to the one that first arrived back in 2013. The engine range, like the headlights, has been slimmed down, the infotainment upgraded, but not much else has changed.
Well, the prices have risen – and without much justification. Let’s face it, Jaguar knows the F-Type’s days are numbered, so it doesn’t make financial sense to plough millions into it. So they haven’t. What does this mean for you as the buyer? That you’re getting a car that is not as sophisticated and up to date as the equivalent Porsche. It still has charm, still plays the part of a traditional two-seat roaring roadster better than pretty much anything else out there. But it comes across as outdated and old-fashioned.