Review: Jaguar F-Type Convertible (2013)
Stylish and highly desirable open top two-seater with stunning looks. Better to drive than the XK. Incredible sound. All-wheel drive versions are grippier and no less fun
Very little luggage space especially with optional spare wheel. Tiresome engine drone on the motorway at times. Not quite as sharp to drive as a Porsche. Some build quality questions
Jaguar F-Type Convertible (2013): At A Glance
- New prices start from £57,405, brokers can source from £46,563
- Contract hire deals from £512.47 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 49–50
- On average it achieves 94% of the official MPG figure
If you remember when Gareth Southgate stepped up to take the sixth penalty against the Germans at Euro 96, you’ll know about the pressure of being English and having one shot to beat the Germans. Step in the Jaguar F-Type, a Convertible sports car designed both to encapsulate all that’s great about Jaguar - and more pragmatically - steal sales from Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and BMW two-seaters.
Much of the talk in the build up to the launch of the F-Type, which came as a Convertible first with the Coupé following a year later, was of it being the first true successor to the now legendary E-Type – hence the pressure. And while it’s true that the F-Type can trace its lineage back to the E-Type, it’s in fact a direct replacement for the rather less legendary (though still very good) XK.
The first clue is in the proportions – the F-Type is shorter, lower and wider than the XK – while even the basic 340PS V6 version serves up a hard-edged soundtrack that out-screams virtually everything else on the road. And of course, with the top down the whole sensation is amplified.
Yet the F-Type Convertible still makes a convincing, largely comfortable touring car while providing eight-tenths of the plug-in, sheer driving brilliance of a Porsche Boxster or 911 – models that are both F-Type alternatives because of the sheer breadth of the Jaguar’s model range.
The expansive Convertible range starts at around the £60,000 mark with a 340PS 3.0-litre V6 supercharged, equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive. It tops out with the SVR model – a four-wheel drive 575PS supercar lite with a 5.0-litre supercharged V8, a 195mph top speed and 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds. Tuned by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations team, it costs £115,000.
Just below that in the range is the F-Type R, with 550PS, and the range is completed with the 380PS supercharged V6 models, badged S and the best balance of price, performance and specification that the range offers. Unlike the base model V6, the S is available with four-wheel drive.
What does a Jaguar F-Type Convertible (2013) cost?
Jaguar F-Type Convertible (2013): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 196 litres
The F-Type Convertible is by no means a practical car. Despite the fairly simple electric folding roof disappearing in quick, neat and compact fashion, resting uncovered just behind the rear bulkhead, it does eat into the boot space. From 310 litres in the Coupe to 207 litres here, what little space you have is largely obliterated if you specify a spare wheel.
Still, the cabin is spacious, with enough seat adjustment to accommodate the longest-legged and only a small headroom deficit compared to the Coupe. This really is one of the great driving positions, with a small steering wheel and seats set virtually below the door sill - the F-Type is a car you truly sink into.
For that reason the gear stick (or joystick-style selector in an automatic, as opposed to the rotary dial that Jaguar saloons have) feels high set and very close the wheel. The standard seats are, too, a lesson in ergonomic comfort, while the sports seats of S models and above grip driver and passenger more tightly without ever being uncomfortable – even the dramatic racing buckets of the SVR, which are finished in quilted leather.
All-in-all the cabin has the feeling of racing car architecture, but because it's smothered in soft-touch leather and highlighted by gloss black and metallic trims, the result is a nice blend of sportiness and luxury that's bang on...mostly.
While the dials and switches feel solid, including the metal paddles for manual gear shifting in an automatic, some of the lower level stuff feels flimsy. There is a sense that the F-Type, somehow, isn’t built with the same mathematical level of panel gap and material solidity obsession that the best German stuff is.
Whether that’s sub-standard or characterful is your call, but we say it’s the latter – and certainly, once you press the golden, pulsing engine start button and the engine fires up, the nuances of haptics are quickly forgotten.
On the road the fabric hood dampens noise effectively, and electrically folds quickly – just 12 seconds - into a compact, uncovered section that not only negates the need for a movable metal cover, but looks great. The F-Type was launched as a Convertible first, and genuinely looks like it was designed that way, rather than simply being a chop-top coupe. That feeling translates on the road too, because the F-Type never seems to suffer from any particular chassis twist or shake with the roof down.
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What's the Jaguar F-Type Convertible (2013) like to drive?
- Engines range from 2.0i 300 Automatic to 5.0 V8 575 SVR AWD
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 22–31 mpg
The key question as to whether the Jaguar F-Type can dethrone the dynamic benchmark for two-seat, open top sportscars that is the Porsche Boxster is easy to answer: no.
The F-Type gets very close indeed though - and vitally - it offers its thrills in a far warmer and more visceral way. The F-Type Convertible has character. It sounds incredible, roof up or down, its steering has feel and accuracy without being over-weighted and it very effectively communicates what’s happening on the ground beneath without winding the suspension up tighter than a student film budget.
There’s depth to the F-Type driving experience, with strong grip and natural rear-wheel drive agility making for a very balanced, nuanced feel through the steering wheel. Yet because the ride is relatively supple, the F-Type is perfectly suited to being driven passively, be it at street or motorway speeds.
In fact, much of the car’s pleasure comes from simply hitting the rev limiter because, whether a V6 or V8 version, the F-Type’s tailpipes make some of the great noises in modern motoring. Loud at idle and progressing to an off-the-chart bellow as the revs rise, the F-Type pops, bangs, crackles and wails like a bowl of punk rock Rice Krispies.
The only downside to this, and particularly in the Convertible (rather than the more insulated Coupe) is that the slightly boomy tone can become tiresome on the motorway. The F-Type comes with a loud button for the exhaust, which it’s best to de-friend during long 70mph stretches.
Every F-Type comes with a Dynamic Mode button as well, which weights up the steering, sharpens the throttle and, if yours is an automatic, holds onto gears longer. We’d certainly recommend the automatic too, because despite being the less ‘pure’ proposition than the six-speed manual, the eight-speeder is very quick to shift and adds to the F-Type’s sense of comfort and luxury, without diminishing its dynamic panache.
To bolster that view, note that the 340PS entry-level model takes 5.7 seconds to hit 62mph with a manual, or 5.3 seconds with the auto, while average economy is set at 28.8mpg and 33.6mpg respectively – the auto is both quicker and more efficient, then. It commands an £1800 premium, though its desirability means improved residuals too.
It’s the 380PS S model that stands out as the most astute purchase, using the same 3.0-litre V6 as the standard car but dropping the 0-62mph time to 4.9 seconds (with an auto, or 5.5 with a manual), while adding adaptive damping to exaggerate either dynamic characteristics or comfort, depending on choice.
The 5.0-litre supercharged V8 models get that too and are automatic only, with the 550PS R model available rear- or all-wheel drive, while the SVR is AWD-only. These versions dial up the bass and the volume from the exhaust pipe, while their enormous torque advantage (700Nm in the SVR versus 460Nm in the V6 S) makes them feel even more rapid from takeoff than their diminished 0-62mph times alone suggest.
The only question that remains is rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive? Objectively, in lower powered versions the extra weight of the system makes AWD versions slightly slower to the 63mph benchmark (R model excluded, with the extra grip taking it from a 4.2-second sprint to 4.1 seconds), which could be a negative.
However, Jaguar has tuned the AWD system to be rear biased, so those versions largely feel the same as their rear-wheel drive counterparts, but with the additional security of four-wheel traction. For that reason, the AWD versions can be enjoyed more, and more of the time, by drivers of all abilities.
|2.0i 300 Automatic||36 mpg||5.7 s||163–179 g/km|
|3.0 340||27–29 mpg||5.5–5.7 s||234 g/km|
|3.0 340 Automatic||27–34 mpg||5.1–5.7 s||199–234 g/km|
|3.0 380||29 mpg||5.3 s||234 g/km|
|3.0 380 Automatic||27–33 mpg||4.8–5.5 s||203–234 g/km|
|3.0 380 Automatic AWD||28–32 mpg||4.9–5.1 s||211–233 g/km|
|3.0 400 Automatic||33 mpg||4.9 s||203 g/km|
|3.0 400 Automatic AWD||32 mpg||5.1 s||211 g/km|
|5.0 V8 495||26 mpg||4.3 s||259 g/km|
|5.0 V8 550||26 mpg||4.0 s||269 g/km|
|5.0 V8 550 AWD||25–26 mpg||3.9–4.1 s||269 g/km|
|5.0 V8 575 SVR AWD||26 mpg||3.7 s||269 g/km|
|5.0 V8 Project 7||26 mpg||3.8 s||275 g/km|
|5.0 V8 SVR AWD||25 mpg||3.5 s||269 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Jaguar F-Type Convertible (2013)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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