It is fair to say that the F-Type hasn’t exactly set the world alight, but it is developing a strong following due to its combination of performance and styling. And, being a convertible, this should be perfect for a long, hot summer.
Our car: Jaguar F-Type R-Dynamic Convertible 380PS List price when new: £71,725 Price as tested: £77,305 Official fuel economy: 32.9mpg (EU Combined)
September 18, 2018
Fuel economy this week: 26.1mpg
Nobody buys a two-seat convertible with their sensible hat on. Despite a list price of over £71,000, even our desirable F-Type R-Dynamic only offers modest boot space and real-world fuel economy of around 26mpg.
Over the last two months I’ve also discovered the 380PS offers spirited if not incredible performance, good but not excellent ride, plus a rather mixed bag of dashboard trim. The cabin generally lacks the quality and detail of the Porsche 911 or cheaper Boxster – two key rivals.
A high-pitched exhaust note loved by many owners has been divisive among my assorted passengers. Floor the accelerator and those twin exhaust pipes screech like a strangled cat. I was honestly expecting a more Jaguar-like purr from the V6. Opt for the more expensive 5.0-litre V8 model if you want that soundtrack.
The good news? Well, drivers probably buy an F-Type with their heart rather than their head. For anybody who had a poster of the iconic Jaguar E-Type stuck to their bedroom wall – me included – the F-Type was unashamedly designed to cash in on the same curves and styling.
So while I question the look of some of the interior, the F-Type really is one of the most beautiful convertibles out there. Many modern convertibles come with a folding metal roof these days but thanks to a well-insulated fabric hood, the F-Type remains stunning with the top up or down.
The snug, draft-free cabin is also a very comfortable place to travel with the roof open – admittedly this last week backed up with a heated steering wheel and seats.
Finally, and probably most importantly with a car like this, there’s the feel-good factor. Over the weekend I took the Jag for one last drive from the Cotswolds to Hereford. As autumn arrives, I stepped out afterwards with a smile on my face.
The F-Type arrived on my driveway just in time for the hottest summer on record. I still look longingly from my office window and try to find a valid excuse to go out for a drive. High praise indeed.
September 12, 2018
Fuel economy this week: 26.2mpg
This is the summer that just keeps on giving. Now the holidays are over and the Cotswolds are emptying of tourists, the roads in the vicinity are a joy in our V6 F-Type convertible.
My craving for the faster, V8-powered SVR model has subsided a little, too – that engine totally dominates the driving experience, while this V6 is more suited to everyday use and still offers tremendous fun.
With a mechanical limited-slip differential and active dampers, our rear-wheel drive model is also one for the purists. If you have a naughty streak behind the wheel, the 380PS (that's 375bhp in old money) power output will seek it out.
If feels much more edgy than a Porsche 911, a total tearaway compared with a Mercedes SL. I still dislike the ridiculous sports exhaust note, although it does at least sound a warning to the kamikaze pheasants stalking the road into my village.
And as the morning dampness covers the Thinsulate folding roof – apparently it acts as sound-deadening barrier, too – I’m especially grateful for the heated steering wheel. Quite possibly the best invention ever.
Heated seats are also standard but I find the whole operation of the ventilation system in the F-Type slightly baffling. Could do better Jaguar. At least it will blow very hot when the autumnal weather demands.
One more week to go and not a single fault after two months of driving the F-Type. The weather has been so good that not even the windscreen washer bottle has needed a top-up.
September 3, 2018
Fuel economy this week: 25.4mpg
There are great moments in our driving career when it all comes together to create a memorable experience behind the wheel.
The perfect road, incredible scenery, good company – all backed up with a suitably inspiring soundtrack. It helps if you happen to be steering an entertaining car, too.
Having watched Lewis Hamilton claim an unlikely victory in the Italian Grand Prix at the weekend, I found myself driving a favourite route across Herefordshire on a clear, dry road.
Zero traffic, I was indulging in a little ‘carpool karaoke’ with Ray Davies of The Kinks – and, admittedly, taking the racing line when conditions allowed.
Top down in the Jaguar and switched to ‘Sport’ mode, there’s great fun to be had using the paddle gearshift. I still rather wish this was the 567bhp SVR V8 - but I’m thankful it’s not the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo, too.
There is such a wide range of engines for the F-Type the choice will inevitably come down to the depth of your pockets. I’d say our V6 is the pick of the pack – it’s not as boisterous as the V8 but you can drive it just as hard and step out grinning.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard on most F-Types but there is the option of a six-speed manual with the V6. Definitely worth considering I’d say, along with The Kinks Greatest Hits (and the annoying ‘Sport’ exhaust note turned off).
August 29, 2018
Fuel economy this week: 24.6mpg
Eighteen months ago I considered buying an F-Type convertible. The sun was shining, I wanted a ‘British’ soft-top and the Jaguar is a very pretty motor – the coupé is even better. It was a done deal – yet a month later I was the proud owner of a 2013 Porsche 911 cabriolet. Having driven both cars back-to-back there was simply no contest in that shoot-out.
However, five weeks of F-Type ownership during the hottest summer for decades have now made me wonder if I should have opted for the Jaguar instead. It’s a struggle to fall completely for the F because of the over the top exhaust note, but the drop-dead gorgeous looks combined with the big cat badge make it so tempting.
The supercharged engine needs to be in Sport mode to get maximum enjoyment from that lovely V6, combined with the paddle-change gearbox for some real thrills. It’s like a Mazda MX-5 for grown-ups with deeper pockets.
We spent the last bank holiday weekend of the year scooting around the Cotswolds. It’s the perfect terrain for this F-Type, rather than the unacceptable noise level inflicted at motorway speeds. I’d also opt for the rear-wheel-drive layout as used on this example – it is more driver-focused than the optional four-wheel drive.
The latest F-Type remains an inspiring but not exceptional car. For that, you really will have to consider paying a few dollars more for the Porsche 911.
August 21, 2018
Fuel economy this week: 25.4mpg
Switchable Active Sports Exhaust – or how to turn your F-Type into a very angry wasp at the press of a button. Acoustic exhaust systems are all the rage but Jaguar’s brutal backfire sound is among the most divisive.
The F-Type has been mischievously mapped to emit a cacophony of bangs, crackles and pops. It’s noisy enough to drive my neighbour nuts when I press the starter button at 7am - and becomes louder still with SASE active.
I’m the first to admit that some cars sound ludicrously good at tickover. Just listen to the latest Bentley Continental GT W12, or an Aston Martin V12, or a Lamborghini Aventador.
Yet there’s something about the painfully high-pitched scream of our F-Type’s V6 engine that leaves me flinching with embarrassment – SASE on, or off. Surely I’m not the only one who wonders why Jaguar decided its superlative sports car needed such a silly soundtrack in the first place?
Frankly, it was fun for the first couple of miles. Then the drone through the soft-top became incredibly tiresome and now, well, is there a retro-fit silencer for the twin exhaust outlets, please?
The slightest brush of the accelerator makes me flinch. Around town, I’m distracted with the effort of keeping the F-Type down on decibels.
On the plus side, the Meridian sound system is more than capable of drowning out the ear-ache. But this remains one sports car that would be better seen and not heard.
August 16, 2018
Fuel economy this week: 25.1mpg
Dear Gardeners’ Question Time, will I be able to fit my power tools in the boot of a Jaguar F-Type convertible?
Quite possibly not. Oddly, I’ve discovered that the luggage space doesn’t marry up to the general proportions of the car. The storage area is also shaped liked an upturned hat, with a deep section in the middle and a narrow space surrounding it above.
Consequently, it’s impossible to slip in one decent-sized suitcase and much of the capacity remains difficult to access, tucked away under the folded roof mechanism. This means soft luggage only for every weekend away - and the flexibility of a ballet dancer to load items.
And there’s nothing useful inside the cabin either, only room for stuffing a jacket behind the passenger seat. For a car this big, where has all the luggage space gone? It’s the reverse Tardis effect.
At 207-litres, our F-Type competes with driver-focussed supercars for lack of luggage space. You learn to travel light in a Lamborghini Aventador, for example, which has only 140 litres of under-bonnet space. A McLaren 540 offers 150 litres.
If you do require more than a toothbrush on your travels, the Porsche 911 Cabriolet provides luggage space under the bonnet and a back seat. There’s no rear legroom, of course, but it’s perfect for baggage and dogs.
August 7, 2018
Fuel economy this week: 22.4mpg
It’s gorgeous. Jaguar’s much-admired two-seater is pretty whatever way you look at it – in coupé form or as a convertible, like our rag-top long-termer.
The F-Type is due a mid-term tweak five years on from launch but I can’t see much that needs to be shaved off or tweaked to improve on Ian Callum’s eye-catching design.
Well, not on the outside at least. However, it’s not quite the same story in the cabin. Some of the hard plastics, especially around the door trim, twin cupholders and console buttons, don’t match that premium appeal.
The pop-up air vents on top of the dashboard are gimmicky but actually work well, while the standard issue Jaguar infotainment system is still one of the best around.
What is less impressive is the dog’s dinner of a set-up around the gear-shifter. It’s where all the buttons and switches they couldn’t find a home for seem to have been scattered like dominoes.
Consequently, newbies like me in the F-Type will try and turn up the sound system using the 12-volt socket; they will confuse the electric roof operation button with the electric parking brake and there’s every chance they will automatically raise the bootlid lip spoiler in error, too.
Aesthetically, siting the passenger handgrip next to the gearchanger doesn’t help either. It’s well-meaning but gives the console a lop-sided look. Finally, the steering wheel is also an unsightly rash of buttons that makes my eyes flinch.
Still, this is a car that looks so good you can forgive it quite a lot…
August 1, 2018
Fuel economy this week: 24.8mpg
How many people do you know who wish they had never sold a car they used to own? Mine is a Jaguar E-Type Series I coupé. I thought I’d made a killing when I sold it for £25,000 in 2005 – £1,000 more than I paid for it. The same car is now worth in excess of £100,000.
Painful, but then hindsight is a terribly annoying thing. What’s doubtful is the sparkling Carpathian Grey F-Type on my driveway will achieve a similar rise in value in 40 years time.
After all, the iconic E-Type blew the motoring world away when it was unveiled at the Geneva motor show in 1961. The F-Type convertible, launched with a fanfare in 2013, hasn’t quite matched the hype.
Firstly, it’s rather expensive and secondly there’s a German soft-top that’s cheaper and more fun to drive. The roomier, better handling Porsche Boxster is still the class leader.
Thankfully, the F-Type convertible has been tweaked to near perfection over the last five years. The Coupé version is prettier, but our 380 Dynamic-R is still a bit of a stunner.
Just as purposeful at the back as the front – very slippery from the side, too – the Jaguar definitely trumps the Boxster in a beauty contest, however.
And its supercharged, 3.0-litre V6 engine makes a sonorous noise that the latest, four-cylinder Boxster can't match.
Most surprising of all, there appears to be a genuine camaraderie among F-Type owners. I’ve only driven 70 miles and two Jag drivers have raised a friendly finger.
This is something I’ve only experienced before in my Series 1 Land Rover – or driving in Ireland, where country folk still see a fellow motorist as a friend they have yet to meet. Either that or I’ve had my headlights on full beam.
The F-Type should be the perfect motor for this long, hot British summer that we will remember for years. The question is, will I still remember the Jaguar F-Type was just as special if I live to 2060?
For all the latest news, advice and reviews from Telegraph Cars, sign up to our weekly newsletter by entering your email here