Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The most popular F-Type engine is the least powerful in the range. Badged P300, it’s a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that’s offered only with rear-wheel drive.
It’s powerful enough to make the F-Type feel quick, but it needs working pretty hard to deliver its potential and certain hot hatches can show it a clean pair of heels.
The exhaust note sounds a bit dreary, too, despite the odd pop and crackle when you back off the accelerator pedal. All in all, the P300 has too many excellent rivals in its price range to stand out.
Our favourite F-Type engine is the P450, a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 with 444bhp; this is noticeably quicker and more muscular than the 2.0-litre.
There’s enough acceleration to pin you back in your seat and a snarling exhaust note that turns into a guttural roar as you chase the red line. It’s available with rear or four-wheel drive and markedly more expensive than the P300 but feels significantly more special.
The P575 – exclusive to the F-Type R – is a version of the same V8 engine, but with even more power. With 567bhp, it gives you enough acceleration to match the pace of some supercars.
A sports exhaust gives it one of the most hilariously brutish engine notes you can find on any new car on sale (if you like your neighbours, there’s a setting to quieten the exhaust on start-up). So why isn’t the P575 our favourite F-Type? Well, although it’s eye-wateringly powerful, it’s just too much of a financial leap from the P450 to be recommended.
Every F-Type has an eight-speed automatic gearbox that shifts smoothly but can be hesitant if you ask for a sudden burst of pace. You can use the paddles on the steering wheel to shift manually, and the gearbox reacts more promptly when you do so. Switching to Dynamic mode makes the gearbox more alert and sharpens the accelerator response.
The F-Type is much heavier than rivals such as the Alpine A110 and Porsche 718 Cayman, and you feel its greater weight on the road. It’s less nimble when you attack a corner with gusto and the steering doesn’t have as much feel, although it is precise.
Still, the F-Type is enjoyable to drive, with far better composure than the Toyota Supra. Even the rear-wheel-drive models are stable yet entertaining in the wet, without the spiky, unpredictable tendencies of previous rear-drive F-Types. The four-wheel-drive models are even more impressively sure-footed.
Four-cylinder F-Types have conventional suspension, which gives you a ride that’s sports car firm but not overly bumpy. Progress never becomes uncomfortable, but you’re always aware of undulations in the road as the car's wheels pass over them.
V8-powered models come with adaptive suspension, which improves ride comfort while helping to counteract body pitch and lean in corners. The set-up still leaves the ride a little unsettled on scruffy surfaces, but it’s a bit more supple, especially around town.
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