Jaguar F-Type

Convertible

Jaguar F-Type Convertible, rear
Jaguar F-Type Convertible, side
Jaguar F-Type Convertible, action
Jaguar F-Type Convertible, front
Jaguar F-Type R Coupe, interior

HALF a century ago, Jaguar captivated the motoring world with its stunning E-Type, immediately securing the supercar a place of honour in the Motoring Hall of Fame.

A little over a year ago, a modern-day equivalent, the F-Type, went on sale registering a similar high-octane reaction with its gorgeous, exciting profile.

In convertible form, the 21st century Jag on test instantly transported me back some 25 years to a time when a car collector friend generously gave me use of his prized E-Type for a couple of days. The excitement and thrills experienced then - of driving something quite special - became etched in my memory and were rekindled driving the latest Jaguar supercar.

There are few resemblances to the great classic save for faint hints, particularly the rear of the aluminium chassis and skin, but the main point is that the new Jaguar seems to enshrine much of the spirit of the E-Type.

The 2014 F-Type Convertible certainly has the same wow factor which greeted the arrival of the E-Type in the early Sixties and which impacted upon me so much in the Eighties when I slid behind the wheel of an ageing but still beautiful E-Type, with its pale primrose livery and contrasting Jet black fabric roof.

This was the 'entry' level F-Type, powered by a 3.0-litre V6 engine which delivers 335bhp and records the 0-60mph sprint in just over five seconds. Top speed is limited to 161mph with average fuel consumption given as 32.1mpg and CO2 emissions recorded at 205g/km.

Entry level, maybe, but these performance figures were highly encouraging though for those wanting to turn up the tempo there is a 3.0-litre petrol unit with 375bhp output boasting a 0-60mph dash in 4.9 seconds. Increasing the tempo further is the F-Type V8 'S', driven by a 5.0-litre engine producing in the region of 490bhp and achieving 0-60mph in a clean four seconds.

But the entry-level V6 model here will be fast enough for most. The supercharged 335bhp car positively leaps forward with the lightest dab of the accelerator pedal. A firm approach and the two-seater explodes into life. Response is very quick.

This is open-top motoring at a seriously rapid pace which is perfectly complemented by a smooth and lightning-fast eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Travel through the auto box is barely perceptible whether in auto mode, deployed manually with the flick of the gear level - or operated via the steering wheel-mounted paddles.

The soundtrack is terrific. Here, with the optional Switchable Active Sports Exhaust (an extra £1,630) you have a considerable orchestral range at your disposal from high speed full-blooded vocals to blips, cracks, pops, growls and deep bass burbling during downshifting.

Steering is wonderfully precise and wholesomely weighted. You feel totally connected to this car because of its quickfire reactions. Turn the compact steering wheel a fraction and the line is spot-on in this fast, intelligent Jag.

This connectivity is heightened with impeccably good handling in the rear-wheel drive convertible. It remains wonderfully composed even at speed through corners, devouring spaghetti routes and lumpy B-roads with ease - and very little bodyroll.

No matter how hard you drive it, even on pitted surfaces, the F-Type provides a firmish but comfortable ride with the wrap-around sport seats supporting you snugly.

The controls are cowled and driver-focused with an aeronautical theme and the Deployable Rear Spoiler flips up as the car reaches 60mph. If you want to turn up the posing factor, you can simply deploy this manually at the flick of a button - for the benefit of those on the pavement.

Another 007-like touch is applied to the flush-fitting door handles which flick out when the car is unlocked and then click back as the car pulls away, while the electrically-operated roof can be raised or lowered under 12 seconds - at speeds up to 30mph.

Boot space is  skimpy. Just makes sure you have flat-pack overnight bags. The other worry is the price: £58,535 for the 'entry' model, plus further options of the exhaust tuner, special paintwork, parking pack (£500) and variable heated front seats (£350) to take the price tag up to £62,265.

That does seem high, until you analyse equipment levels and add in the charisma and agility of this supercharged, supercar. Then it doesn't seem quite so outlandish.

The standard list for the convertible includes ABS, emergency brake assist, stability control as well as roll-over hoops to protect the head in the event of a rollover accident.

In addition, there's the depoyable rear spoiler, Bond-like electric door handles, Stop/Start, keyless ignition, air vents that pop out of the dashboard, an eight-inch colour touchscreen connected to sat-nav, DAB radio and CD/DVD player as well as USB/Aux and iPod connections.

FAST FACTS

Jaguar F-Type Convertible

Price: £58,535

Mechanical: 336bhp, 2,995cc, 6cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox  

Max Speed: 161mph 

0-62mph: 5.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 32.1

Insurance Group: 50

C02 emissions: 209g/km

Bik rating: 34%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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