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2019 Jaguar F-Type 2.0 Convertible Review




About a month ago, we took a look at the entry-level 2.0-litre Jaguar F-Type Coupe, and its a car that managed to justify its place in the range by offering tighter handling than its larger-engined brethren and a reduced cost of entry to owning one of the best looking cars on the market.

Well, we’re back behind the wheel of a 2.0-litre F-Type once again, and one that’s in an almost identical specification, except this time we can peel back the top because, as you can see, this one is the Convertible model.

Starting at $130,778 and coming in at $141,088 with options as tested here – we’ll discuss some of those options later – the drop-top charges a considerable $16,578 premium over the base price of a comparable hard-top, which clearly begs the question of whether it’s worth the extra dough or not.

Well, if you’re the sort of person who likes to make a scene when you arrive anywhere, it’ll be worth every penny, as despite our tester being the cheapest convertible model in the range, and not to mention that it was finished in stealthy and inauspicious Narvik Black paint and wore the standard 18-inch alloy wheels, it drew eyes from all directions 100 per cent of the time.

You can’t really blame anyone for gawking at this thing though, because, I mean, have you seen it? It’s absolutely stunning to behold from every angle you take it in from, with its low, wide stance certainly standing out among the sea of beigemobiles that fill the roads today.

While it certainly has a very pretty face, it’s best angle in my opinion is the from the rear three-quarter with the top down, as it shows off some of its best assets like those wide hips, flat rear deck lid, cat-eye taillights, and the big Lamborghini Murciélago-style central exhaust.

But unlike a lot of soft-top convertibles out there, the F-Type is one that actually looks good with the top up, too. It might not have as sleek a roofline as the coupe’s sexy side profile, but it still looks mighty good all things considered.

The F-Type’s interior is certainly a fitting one for a car such as this, as everything is focused towards the driver. With the central passenger grab handle segmenting the two halves of the cabin, it frames the entire centre console well, with all the controls you’ll be using the most falling perfectly to hand – and if you’re anything like me, those particular controls will be the ones to open up the active exhaust, engage Dynamic mode, and raise the active rear wing.

The introduction of the company’s latest 10.2-inch InControl Touch Pro infotainment system – which finally brings with it Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity – will be a welcome addition for those familiar with the tiny, dated infotainment systems in older F-Type models that were one sore point that always managed to bring down the interior quality just a touch.

It’s an interior that won’t go free of critique from me, however, as this largely unoptioned base-spec cabin is one I do have to penalise for its seats. While they certainly are comfortable and supportive enough, and while I also like the leather and suede-cloth upholstery, having driven F-Types before with the optional performance seats trimmed in higher-quality Windsor leather means I know that you can have it better with seats that are even more comfortable and even more supportive, although that does come at a price, of course.

Also worth pointing out is that there’s a total lack of storage space inside, while the boot only has a pathetic 150 litre capacity – less than half that of the coupe – and gets rather hot as it sits right above the exhaust, making it an unideal place to put your food shopping in. But in fairness to it, if practicality is something of concern, a two-seat convertible sports car will hardly be at the top of your list.

The other catch of it is some of the menial options fitted to it that aren’t standard. While I can understand inexpensive things like the swanky red seatbelts or the flat-bottomed steering wheel being on the options list as they might not be to everyone’s tastes – I, for one, do like the touch of red, but I’d rather a round steering wheel – things as minor as mirrors on the backs of the sun visors or the rear wind deflector, and expensive items that should be standard including a rear-view camera and keyless entry are real head-scratching omissions from the standard equipment list.

Under the bonnet of this, the cheapest drop-top F-Type you can buy, is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder from the Ingenium engine family. This particular version of this engine is the most powerful, and most popular among the wider Jaguar range, with a healthy 221kW and 400Nm on tap. Not bad at all for a base model.

Power is delivered to the rear wheels exclusively in the 2.0-litre models via a ZF-sourced eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission. The availability of all-wheel drive is limited to the V6 and V8 variants, while a manual gearbox can only be had with the V6.

Beyond just the power figures, the numbers all look very good for the four-pot. Its claimed 0-100km/h time of 5.7 seconds and its power-to-weight ratio of 143.1W/kg place this 2.0-litre right along side some of the very best hot hatches on the market.

And while hot hatch performance is an excellent thing to have, this is a $130k sports car, and merely matching humble hatchbacks in a straight line just isn’t enough. Yes, its performance is very good, but is it good enough?

Well, the answer to that question is that, ultimately, it doesn’t really matter one bit unless you’re on a race track. In the real world, the level of performance on offer from the 2.0-litre is just about bang on – you can have plenty of fun with it without losing your license, and that, as I see it, is a very good thing.

Beyond just that, the thing with the F-Type is how it makes you as a driver feel, and this is a car that makes you feel very good indeed. From its balanced weight to its direct, confident steering, it ticks all the right boxes dynamically, and despite having a tad less power than its rowdier V6 and V8 stablemates, there’s still the perfect amount to kick out the back end and have some fun.

Yet while you can easily go sliding the thing about in an exuberant manner, when you want to get down to business, the lighter engine up front means it turns in far more crisply than the larger-engined variants – particularly those will the added weight of all-wheel drive.

Like in all automatic F-Types, the ZF eight-speed is one fittingly good transmission for getting the job done with. It might not be the most cleverly calibrated when you leave it to its own devices, particularly in Dynamic mode, but when you’re using the paddles it shifts about as quickly as a torque converter ever could. When you’re just cruising around, it does a fine job as well, swapping cogs smoothly and fairly inconspicuously.

The ride feels spot on for all circumstances, too. Yes, it’s on the firmer side of things, but it never feels so jiggly and jittery that it’ll shake your organs out of place or anything. For a sports car, it’s definitely comfortable when you’re just cruising along, while there’s still enough rigidity to it in order to maintain its composure through the bends.

And since we’re on the topic of rigidity, it’s worth noting that while you can feel a little more flex in the convertible’s chassis compared to that of the coupe if you’re really paying attention and looking out for it, it does a mighty fine job of masking it – so much so that the average punter certainly won’t notice.

But anyway, when you’ve got the wind rushing through your hair, millions of miles of headroom, and the perfect theatre to listen to the growls and burbles coming out of its exhaust, who cares about a tiny bit of added chassis flex on the limit?

With a car like this, you have to think about everything relatively to justify it. What you’re really paying for here are those bite-the-back-of-your-hand good looks, and a driving experience that is not just a total thrill, but is becoming rarer these days as two-seat convertibles fall further out of favour with the ever-sensible average new car buyer.

Verdict

Design & Comfort

8.5/10

Performance & Handling

8.0/10

Quality

7.5/10

Economy

7.5/10

Equipment & Features

8.0/10

OUR SCORE

4.0/5

Our Score: 4/5

+ Pros

  • One of the most beautiful cars you can buy
  • Balanced and responsive handling
  • Entry-level engine still packs plenty of punch
  • Convertible top adds some extra drama

Cons

  • Almost completely impractical
  • Standard seats aren’t as supportive as the optional sports seats
  • V6 and V8 models do sound better

Overall

The 2.0-litre F-Type continues to prove it has a place in the range even in drop-top form thanks to its tighter and more nimble handling, its lower running costs, and of course the cheaper entry-ticket into owning one of the most beautiful cars around.

But while the Convertible may charge rather a hefty premium over the cheaper Coupe, it really does feel to be worth it for the added drama and excitement. That feeling of the wind blowing through your hair is unbeatable, especially in a car that looks this good and drives as well as it does.

2019 Jaguar F-Type 2.0 Convertible pricing and specifications

Price (excluding on-road costs): From: $130,778

As tested: $141,088

Tested options:

  • LED Headlights with Signature DRL – $2,510
  • Seat Memory Pack – $2,150
  • Keyless Entry – $1,200
  • Rear Camera – $1,060
  • Blind Spot Assist and Rear Traffic Monitor – $900
  • Wind Deflector – $790
  • Front Parking Aid – $710
  • Flat-Bottomed Leather Steering Wheel – $340
  • Switchable Active Exhaust – $270
  • Red Seatbelts – $270
  • Sunvisors with Vanity Mirrors – $110
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
Warranty Customer Assistance: 3 years roadside
Service Intervals: 24 months/26,000km
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged direct injection four-cylinder petrol:

221kW @ 5,500rpm, 400Nm @ 1,500-4,500rpm

Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive
Power-to-Weight Ratio (W/kg): 143.1
0-100km/h (seconds): Claimed: 5.7
Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km): Claimed: 7.2/Tested: 11.2
RON Rating: 95
Fuel Capacity (L): 63
Body: 2-door convertible, 2 seats
Safety: ANCAP not tested, 6 airbags, ABS, EBD, BA, VSC, Emergency Brake Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Driver Condition Monitor, Pedestrian Contact Sensing Active Bonnet, Rear Parking Sensors
Optional: Blind Spot Assist, Rear Traffic Monitor, Front Parking Sensors, Rear View Camera
Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B): 4,482/1,923/1,308/2,622
Boot Space (L): 150
Turning Circle Between Kerbs: 10.7
Ground Clearance: 111
Kerb Weight (kg): 1,545
Towing Capacity (kg): N/a
Entertainment: 10.2-inch colour touchscreen, AM/FM, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, USB, AUX, iPod
380W Meridian audio system with 10 speakers

Competitors: Porsche 718 Boxster, BMW Z4, Mercedes-Benz SLC

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