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2018 Jaguar F-Type Convertible: Joy for Two

By Arv Voss, May 5th, 2018

The Jaguar F-Type is a seriously sexy sports roadster for two people. Not since the legendary XK 120, XK 140, XK 150, and XKE-Type has Jaguar produced a true sports roadster for the avid driving enthusiast.

Manufacturer photo: The 2018 F-Type exhibits a near-perfect proportion and stance, with a long hood, a rearward-positioned cabin, and a short rear deck and overhang
Manufacturer photo: The 2018 F-Type exhibits a near-perfect proportion and stance, with a long hood, a rearward-positioned cabin, and a short rear deck and overhang

Okay, I'll admit Jaguar currently produces a luxurious and highly desirable stable of vehicles, but certainly nothing more alluring and capable than the Jaguar F-Type, offered in coupe and convertible configurations.

I just drove the 2018 Jaguar F-TYPE Convertible base model, although this open-air lineup actually consists of five different models: entry-level F-Type, R-Dynamic, 400 Sport, an R convertible, plus the creme-de-la-creme SVR convertible F-Type.

Three powertrains are available; the base convertible draws its motive force from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that gears energy to the rear wheels, producing 296 horsepower along with 295 lb.-ft. of torque.

Next up is a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 that pumps out 340 horses while boosting the torque level to 332, mated to either a six-speed manual or the eight-speed automatic. A more-powerful supercharged V-6 is also available that delivers an additional 20 horsepower along with an increase in torque of 7 lb.-ft., paired only with an automatic gearbox.

Manufacturer photo: The 2018 F-Type exhibits a near-perfect proportion and stance, with a long hood, a rearward-positioned cabin, and a short rear deck and overhang

The SVR F-Type is powered by a 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 that cranks out 575 horsepower and develops 516 lb.-ft. of torque while delivering power to all four wheels via an automatic transmission. All F-Type models are equipped with an Intelligent Stop/Start system to enhance fuel economy under certain driving conditions.

In terms of its visual appeal, the 2018 F-Type is seductive from every angle, continuing Jaguar's sporting bloodline that reaches back more than 75 years. The F-Type exhibits a near-perfect proportion and stance, with a long hood, a rearward-positioned cabin, and a short rear deck and overhang.

The sculpted, clamshell hood features a central power bulge and functional, slotted vents, blended with powerful fenders that appear to be "shrink-wrapped" over the car's mechanical form. A deployable rear spoiler operates automatically or manually.

The F-Type convertible is equally attractive with the top up or down. The top, incidentally, is a "Z"-fold unit that operates in either direction in 12 seconds at up to 30 mph.

Moving to the inside, the 1+1 cockpit is unashamedly driver-focused in terms of controls and switchgear positioning. The dashboard is low, and provides optimum visibility. A deployable center vent atop the dash disappears from view along with control icons with the ignition off. The purposeful, bronze-accented toggle switches below the three dual-purpose rotary knobs, and paddle shifters along with the substantial three-spoke steering wheel, contribute to the sporty persona of the F-Type that is not unlike the feel of a jet fighter cockpit.

Manufacturer photo: The 2018 F-Type exhibits a near-perfect proportion and stance, with a long hood, a rearward-positioned cabin, and a short rear deck and overhang

In a simple analysis, the 2018 Jaguar F-Type Convertible serves up the same emotional design quality as its more expensive stablemates, but it is affordable in relative terms, coming in at nearly half the cost of the SVR F-Type example. The technology level is more than satisfactory, and seats are supportive and comfortable as well.

Acceleration is considerably more than adequate and braking is equally impressive. Ride quality and stability render the car solid and planted, but without any sensation of harshness. The steering input delivers an on-center feel with instantaneous response. In fact, every response from the steering to transmission shift points, throttle response, braking, and suspension has been finely tuned to deliver the most connected, accurate, and involved driving experience possible for a turbocharged four-banger-powered ragtop.

The driver's environment is emphasized through an asymmetrical cabin layout with all the controls placed naturally to hand and logically grouped, allowing for maximum attention on the driving experience. A grab handle sweeps down the center console on the passenger side, delineating it from the driver's position and wrapping around the center console.

Virtually everything about the Jaguar F-Type stirs one's senses and emotions. It definitely deserves to be categorized as a performance luxury sports roadster. It's obviously not in the same league as the SVR F-Type, but think of what all the money saved can buy. In any case, the F-Type plays a significant role in Jaguar's return to providing the world with a highly desirable and genuine sports car, and now one that is truly affordable.

Specifications

Base price $63,000 (as tested: $67,793)
Curb weight 3,405 lbs.
Displacement 2.0-liter
Engine type 16-valve turbocharged 4-cylinder
Epa mileage rating 23 mpg city, 30 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 18.5 gal.
Horsepower (net) 296 at 5500 rpm
Overall length 176.0 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 295 at 1500 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Vehicle type 2-passenger RWD convertible
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