Jaguar F-Type convertible 2014 review

Jaguar F-Type convertible 2014 review

FType rear 3:4

It has been a long time coming but the new Jaguar F-Type Convertible is absolutely the spiritual successor to the iconic E-Type roadster which was first launched in the 1960’s.

It’s about time.

The Jaguar XJ-S which saw the light of day in the 1970s was to big and too heavy to be a proper sports car, it was more a grand tourer, as was the 2+2 XK coupe and convertible, the second generation of which remains in production today.

Finally under the stewardship of the Indian Tata conglomerate, Jaguar has been allowed the funds and investment to build a successor to the E-Type, and it has succeeded, for this car will give the Porsche Boxster, the Mercedes-Benz SLK, and the BMW Z4 some overdue competition.

FType handleAnd just to clarify the F-Type was engineered at Jaguar’s design facility in Whitley, Coventry and built in the Castle Bromwich plant in Birmingham, England.

There seems to be some misinformation amongst the great unwashed that Jaguar cars are built in India, well they are not, and given the companies investment in plant and personnel in Great Britain it seems unlikely.

Digressing for a moment, but a few interesting Jaguar facts. As the UK’s largest automotive employer, Jaguar has team of nearly 24,000 people working in in the Midlands.

FType LeaperThe company created more than 8,000 jobs in the last four years, with another 1,000 in the pipeline. In 2012 it employed more than 300 graduates and doubled the intake of apprentices over the last four years.

More than 80% of Jaguar production is exported which brings in more than 8 billion pounds sterling  to support the UK’s balance of trade.

This amount is marginally more than all of New Zealand’s current monetary tally of meat, dairy, and wool exports.

Digression over, lets head back to the car.

FType rear closeThe F-Types long clamshell bonnet and short rear deck pay homage to the design of the classic E-Type, and in true sports car fashion there is only room for two people in the cabin, and the boot space will only cope with a couple of soft holdalls or two small carry on bags.

You’ll also find an inflator kit discreetly tucked away in a recess in the boot floor, there is absolutely no room for a spare tyre, but you can at least store small items in here if necessary.

Folding the electro-hydraulic roof takes no time at all, and it tucks itself tidily away in a recess between the cabin and the boot. A rear wind deflector is permanently mounted on the bulkhead behind the front seats, and it works very well. Even with the windows lowered there is minimal wind buffeting in the cabin.

FType intThe cabin only has room for two people, and our test car came with creamy coloured upholstery, the twin bucket style sports seats were trimmed in a half leather/half suede cloth mixture which looked expensive yet felt comfortable and durable.

Even though the F-Type has twin cup holders, I was mindful about drinking coffee on the run and spilling it, so made do with a bottle of water instead.

 

But you don’t buy an F-Type for practicality, even though for day to day commuting it’s a perfectly comfortable proposition, you buy it for the glorious noise made by the supercharged V6 engine that ruffles more than just the feathers of the German marques.

Select dynamic mode and snick the stubby little gear lever left across the gate into sport mode and the F-Type morphs from being a docile gentle kitty into a snarling Jaguar with all claws flared for action.

It has the most feral V6 growl as the superchargers come on song, and on overrun the exhaust will crackle and pop as you manually change down through the 8 gears of the automatic transmission.

This transmission is so responsive at times it could be mistaken for a dual clutch unit, but the media brochure assured me that it is a conventional 8 speed automatic transmission with a torque converter.

FType rear lampThere are three flavours of F-Type to choose from, the “standard” car as reviewed here, the more powerful F-Type V6 S and the verging on the ridiculously powerful F-Type V8 S.

Power outputs are 250kW, 280kW, and 364kW respectively.

Frankly, the 250kW of the F-Type was more than enough power for me to enjoy, it makes all the right noises and the car is lithe and agile, responsive and alert.

Tellingly, the handling at lower road speeds between 60 and 80km/h shows the F-Types pedigree. A run through West Coast Road and onto the Piha Road in West Auckland allowed me to enjoy the fine turn in and precise balance that the V6 F-Type offers a driver without having to resort to warp speed.

The ride quality is firm rather than cushioned but not overly harsh, those sticky 19 inch Pirelli tyres have a wide contact patch that allow the F-Type to claw its way out of corners, but you still get that seat of the pants feeling as to just how far you could push the car without engaging the tractional control system.
Jaguar has fitted its high performing brake system with red callipers, and I can assure you the F-Type will pull up swiftly and confidently from low speeds as well as much higher velocity.

Our test car was fitted with the optional 19 inch Propellor silver alloy wheels ($2100) which certainly added to the sporting yet elegant look of the car. The other option fitted, which most drivers will certainly tick is the parking pack ($1000) which adds a reversing camera and front parking sensors – they were a godsend in the parking garage!

Sadly due to work and travel commitments we didn’t have the opportunity to take the F-Type for really long and involving drive (and give the company fuel car a workout) but we enjoyed our brief time with the car, and regardless of the roof being up or down, the F-Type certainly turned heads wherever we went.

Price: As tested $143,200

Pros

Awesome engine sound

Brilliant performance and handling

Stunning design

Cons

Boot space is restricted

No spare tyre

Specifications

Engine: 3.0 Litre V6 Supercharged Petrol, Power 250kW @ 6500, Torque 450Nm @ 3500-5000

Zero to 100kph: 5.3 secs

Combined fuel consumption 8.8L/100km

Weight 1577kg

Powertrain and driving dynamics

• Braking System – Jaguar Performance with Silver Calipers

• Centre Mounted Twin Tail Pipes

• Differential – Open

• Dynamic Stability Control with Trac DSC Mode

• Electronic Park Brake with Drive AwayRelease

• Exhaust – Sports

• Intelligent Stop/Start

• Quickshift 8-speed Automatic Transmission with Sportshift Selector & Steering Wheel Mounted Paddles

• Sports Suspension

• Winter & Dynamic Mode

Exterior features

• Deployable Door Handles
• Deployable Rear Spoiler
• Exterior Mirrors – Electric & Heated • LED Tail Lights
• Rear Parking Aid
• Xenon Headlights, Automatic with Washers & LED Signature Lights

Interior features

• 3-Spoke Leather Heated Steering Wheel with Black Gear Shift Paddles

• Ambient Interior Lights

• Auto-Dimming Interior Rear-View Mirror

• Automatic Climate Control – Single Zone

• Auxiliary Power Sockets

• Cruise Control with Automatic Speed Limiter

• Heated Seats

• Jaguar Smart Key System TM with Keyless Entry & Start

• JaguarsenseTM – LED Overhead Lighting

• Light Hex Aluminium Console Finisher

• Partial Electric Seat Adjustment (6x6Way) – Height & Recline

• Sports Carpet Mats

• Sports Seats with Leather & Suedecloth Facing

• Steering Column with Electric Adjustment– Height & Reach

Multimedia

8” Colour Touch-Screen Display
• BluetoothTM Connectivity – Phone & Audio
• Jaguar Satellite Navigation
• Meridian 380W Sound System with 10 Speakers

Safety and security features

• Drive-away locking & Deadlocking
• Electronic Brake Force Distribution
• Emergency Brake Assist
• Alarm – Battery Backed Sounded with Inclination & Volumetric Sensing
• Engine Immobiliser
• Front & Side Airbags
• Pedestrian Contact Sensing TM – Automatically Deployable Bonnet System

• Roll-Over Protection Bars (Convertible only)

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