Jaguar F-Type Convertible – Goodbye Summer

The iconic E-Type was a sensation when 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 Coupe 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, the Jaguar definitely trumps the Boxster in a beauty contest.

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?

The convertible is due a mid-term tweak five years on from launch but I can’t see much that needs shaving off or tweaking 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 buttons don’t have that premium feel.

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 have been scattered like dominoes.

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 a rash of buttons that makes my eyes flinch.

It’s hard not to like the F-Type but I can’t help feeling it could have been so much better…

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The Jaguar F-Type has a massive sweet spot – if you can find an empty road

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Today was the first inspiring drive I’ve enjoyed in the F-Type. I took the coupe across the Cotswolds and down to the McLaren headquarters in Woking.

True, the 3.0-litre V6 was a little dwarfed by supercar exotica in the car park – plus a few helicopters – but it was a route uncluttered by traffic. The Jaguar shone, turning in a handling masterclass.

It’s not the quickest two-seater of course. 0-60mph in 5.3 seconds is barely enough to set the pulses racing. But in Dynamic mode, the F-Type has a massive sweet spot.

However, I do seem to have put more fuel in this car that any others over the last few months. A 29mpg (combined) figure seems a bit average compared to some of the competition.

Money well spent…

Gok Wan Wants An Aston DB9 – And He’s Not Keen On The F-Type Either…

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Just back from interviewing Gok Wan. The king of style has a gorgeous little house in Hampstead and a cool little French Bulldog, called Dolly.

What’s on his driveway? – a Porsche Panamera. I didn’t expect His Gokness to like a sports car with four seats and room for luggage. No, I truly expected a Fiat 500, maybe a Mercedes ML, or a top spec Audi.

Gok wasn’t too keen on the Jaguar F-Type, mainly because the rear end was ‘too angular’. I can understand that. It might explain why he is longing to buy an Aston Martin DB9 too.

Today was the last day with the Jag. Land Rover is delivering a Defender tomorrow – perfect timing for the snow that is apparently due tonight.

I enjoyed the F-Type, although it does lack soul and character. I truly don’t believe it will ever be a classic like the E-Type but the Coupe is a genuine rival for the Porsche 911 and is much prettier on the eye too.

The Jaguar F-Type S Is A Pain Over Uneven Surfaces And The Seats Squeak!

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Whenever I thing Jaguar, two things come to mind. One is my gorgeous, much-lamented E-Type – the other is some businessman in a big coat smoking a fat cigar.

I’m from that generation, you see. Somehow or other, the F-Type doesn’t really fit into either bracket. The E-Type was a nightmare to drive in anything but a straight line, and the fat-cat Jags were armchairs on wheels, with the bonus of an ash-tray.

The F-Type is beautiful but it isn’t iconic like the E-Type, or as comfortable as the old XJ. In fact, the S model I’m driving is seriously bumpy at low speed on uneven surfaces – it will make you wince in pain at times!

And then there are the two seats. They’re very hard and despite multiple electronic adjustments of every nature, you will get a numb arse after a while.

Oh and recline either to a certain distance and they squeak on the bulkhead too.

Beautiful to look at, even the F-Type would benefit from some comfortable refinement then..

The F-Type Has Such A Competent Gearbox You Will Want To Use The Flappy Paddles!

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Four days in to driving the Jaguar F-Type and I’ve finally had a chance to cut loose on a decent, winding road.

It’s no ordinary bit of tarmac either – a stretch of road I used to commute when I first became a motoring writer 28 years ago.

The A40 between Gloucester and Ross-on-Wye is littered with speed cameras but there are some sections, near May Hill, where it’s like driving through an Alpine pass.

And it was here – not on the M40 or at a standing start from the traffic lights – that the eight-speed automatic gearbox won me over.

Using the steering column paddles, I flicked up and down the cogs smoothly like a man possessed. It was the single most exhilarating piece of driving I’ve enjoyed in years!

You can leave the Jaguar in standard auto and it’s still a great tool. But believe me, even if you aren’t used to paddle shift, the F-Type will win you over…

The Day I Downgraded To A Jaguar F-Type

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I don’t suppose that many people get the chance to downgrade to a Jaguar! Well, having spent the first half of the week driving a Bentley Continental around Sweden, I’ve done just that.

Now, I have to say, I have always considered myself more of a F-Type fella than a Bentley bloke. I was nearly seduced by the power and comfort of the Continental but the Jag is a much rawer and inspiring experience.

I love the rasp from the twin tailpipes that you can enhance with the acoustic button on the transmission tunnel – I love the low slung design and the styling cues that remind me of the E-Type.

So as much as I covet my neighbour’s Bentley, I know that I’m a long way from changing my allegiance too.

Jaguar XFR – Available Soon With Grass On The Roof

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I thought the XFR looked pretty upmarket until I drove through Knightsbridge on Saturday night. The taxi driver said most of the Ferraris and Bentleys on show belonged to Arabs, who were his ‘best customers’.

The streets were packed with every kind of exotica bearing Middle eastern plates – the last time I saw anything like it was in Dubai, where even the police drive Porsche and Lamborghini patrol cars.

The favourite cars I spotted in the capital were a gold-wrapped Ferrari and a Rolls-Royce covered in velvet. How the hell does the owner keep that clean?

So, although the XFR was a poor relation to what was on show, the Jaguar didn’t look that out of place. Maybe if it had grass growing on the roof it would have turned just as many heads…